I like you and you're awesome and I am so lucky you talk to me even though I am so weird as to tell you this
February 13, 2011 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Should I send mash notes for Valentine's Day, or will that freak everyone out?

I am single this year for Valentine's Day, and recently, a guy I know died, and as I am in my mid-twenties I haven't had this happen to many people in my age-range. Both of these stars aligned and now I am thinking about taking up a small project- sending out mash notes, essentially, to my nearest and dearest. Basically, note cards, because people like getting mail, in which I praise the recipient for being a good friend and being awesome at whatever they are awesome at. I can't decide if this is weird, or inappropriate.

If I do send these out, should I warn people via facebook or texting, or just let them open their mailboxes and find them? Would you think it was strange to get such a card in the mail? Would you feel like it was pressure to send some sort of reciprocation? Would you think it was meant, given the time of year, as a sign that I was in love with you?
posted by jenlovesponies to Human Relations (42 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I am a single gal in my mid-20s, and just sent out Where the Wild Things Are Valentines Day cards to all my friends with cutesy notes inside, complete with a wax seal on the envelopes. So far a couple people have said it was the best thing they've gotten in the mail in ages.

Our world has too much cynicism and criticism. We don't praise our friends and loved ones enough. Do it.
posted by mostly vowels at 12:36 PM on February 13, 2011 [24 favorites]

I do this, it's nice. I'd only caution that because of the season you be crystal clear whether the notes you're sending to the people in your romantic-gender-preference cohort know that you're sending something because you like and admire them, not because you're coming on to them. I'm cautious when sending stuff like this to people who are married or people who are single-and-looking because I want to make sure I am sending the right message. I don't think this is tough to do, but I see it as the only real downside to a plan like yours.
posted by jessamyn at 12:36 PM on February 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

It would freak me out unless it was jokey enough for it to be clear that it wasn't meant as a protestation of loooooooooooooooooove.

(In other words, no "I Choo-Choo-Choose You!")
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:36 PM on February 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

Here's a handy flowchart: Are you an adult? (YES) Send out cards. (NO) Don't send out cards.
You would certainly be added to my mental "this person is weird, interactions are likely to be awkward" list if I got such a note from you.
posted by halogen at 12:47 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oops, the (YES) and (NO) should be reversed. What I meant is, don't send out cards. If you have to ask, don't do it.
posted by halogen at 12:47 PM on February 13, 2011

Best answer: Yeah, Jessamyn has it.

Be clear in the way you tell people you like them or appreciate them. In this case, extra-clear because the holiday is love-loaded.

As someone who likes to express appreciation, I've made the less-than-clear-mistake a few times in recent history, and it isn't always received well and doesn't always end as you might intend. Or you might just get something back from someone saying "Look at this pic of me and my GF" or whatever, which is just them being clear in your stead.

You can do this and do it well, just use words that describe friendship and appreciation only. The best effect will be without warning (don't warn people via txt, k) but clearly worded.
posted by fake at 12:51 PM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

What? I find it so incomprehensible that anyone thinks this is a bad idea. The poster said she's going to praise the recipients for being good friends and tell them what she likes about them. When did we reach the point where expressing love and appreciation to friends is weird? DO IT!
posted by unannihilated at 12:51 PM on February 13, 2011 [47 favorites]

I did something like this recently, but not connected to Valentine's day at all. There wasn't any confusion about what I meant. If you're concerned about any confusion, maybe you want wait a week or two and make it an explicit "you're a great friend, thanks for xyz" thing?
posted by kate blank at 12:59 PM on February 13, 2011

I think this is great. I got Valentines cards from my best friend and my grandmother this year, and they made me grin. I meant to do something like this (complete with homemade caramel corn!) this year, but work got in the way.
posted by mollymayhem at 1:00 PM on February 13, 2011

Go for it! What a lovely gesture. It would absolutely make my Valentine's Day if a close friend sent me such a note.
posted by arianell at 1:08 PM on February 13, 2011

I would love to get one of these, especially with a lot of exclamation points and hand-madedness. I say go for it as long as the recipient can't possibly think you're flirting with them unintentionally.
posted by amicamentis at 1:10 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think this is a great idea.

If you want it to be clear that the cards don't have a romantic tilt, you could consider prefacing the praise with something along the lines of, "This Valentines day, I decided to spend sometime letting my friends know how much I appreciate them". That might lessen the "special" nature of the cards though.
posted by kylej at 1:11 PM on February 13, 2011 [6 favorites]

Agreeing with unannihilated. This is not weird in the least and I would be really touched to get such a card from a friend.
posted by something something at 1:11 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, do it. This sounds sweet and heart-warming. I would love to get a card like this. Keep it unambiguously platonic, like jessamyn said, but from the way I read your question that's what you were planning to do anyway.
posted by daisyk at 1:11 PM on February 13, 2011

Would you think it was strange to get such a card in the mail?

Strangely AWESOME.
posted by naju at 1:24 PM on February 13, 2011 [7 favorites]

Ditto kylej. Preface the notes with a general statement indicating that this is something you're sending to all your nearest and dearest this year, and that will take the edge off any pressure for them to reciprocate/ feel weird/ whatever. Then you can load on the personalized affection.
posted by dino might at 1:33 PM on February 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

Here's another vote for 'great idea if worded in an unambiguously platonic way'.

Nothing would brighten my day more than finding a note like that in my letterbox (except maybe winning the lottery but that ain't gunna happen.)
posted by malibustacey9999 at 1:59 PM on February 13, 2011

Best answer: Ys - do it, but say in the note that you are sending them to many friends. You can also explain that you lost someone this year and it made you think about how important it is to appreciate each other. You want to be clear that you're not sending a romantic proposal or a goodbye-cruel-world last-reaching-out, then people will be able to just enjoy your letter without worrying about you.

I've gotten the "very long ruminative appreciative letter from a friend out of the blue" and my thoughts were these:
1. how nice
2. uh oh, is she okay? is there something going on?

Then I got to the part of the letter where she says, "I'm sending these letters out widely and just as a positive appreciation, no weird subtext," and I could relax and enjoy it for what it was.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:02 PM on February 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

I've found that the key line in these is usually some variant of "I am happy you are my friend" which is clearly not lovey-dovey but also stresses the importance of the positive bond you share. I try to put this at the end of every birthday greeting I send to people, even on facebook.
posted by jessamyn at 2:16 PM on February 13, 2011

I kind of disagree. I think it depends on what kind of people your friends are and whether they'd appreciate a card like that. I myself would recognize the gesture behind the card as sweet, but I would think the card was weird and it would make me feel a bit uncomfortable if I got one.
posted by vincele at 2:39 PM on February 13, 2011

Man, I would love to get something like this. Do it!
posted by JDHarper at 2:40 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Totally do it. I would think this was awesome.

On the other hand, this thread seems to indicate that some people definitely wouldn't. Can you go through your mental list of friends and try to predict how they'd react? If they're people who (a) like mail and (b) are comfortable with talking affectionately, send away! If they're not, skip over them and move on down your list to the next awesome person you know.
posted by dizziest at 2:45 PM on February 13, 2011

Getting mail is awesome. Period return signoff and end-of-file.
posted by maryr at 2:48 PM on February 13, 2011

I'd be creeped out. Others might not.
posted by Sternmeyer at 3:00 PM on February 13, 2011

Really? I missed sending out Christmas cards this year, so I sent out Valentines instead. It didn't occur to me that people would think I was weird. Doesn't everyone like to receive things in the mail? I sent them to my nieces and nephews (all are < 10), grandma, sister, close friends. They weren't sappy lovey cards - they said things like "Snappy Valentine's Day" with an alligator and stuff like that. They were meant for kids to give to their classmates.

I say go for it!
posted by valeries at 3:24 PM on February 13, 2011

I would like it! In fact, will you send me one?

The ones who would like it will really like it; the ones who won't will live through the experience. The cost-benefit weighs in favor of sending!
posted by yarly at 3:47 PM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

I love getting notes like this from friends, so I say go for it. Naturally, if you've got friends who would be seriously weirded out, you might want to skip them.
posted by angelchrys at 3:53 PM on February 13, 2011

I would love something like this! The more over the top the better, with stickers and glitter and sparkly markers.
posted by cmyk at 3:57 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Terrific idea. The tone is everything, though.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 4:27 PM on February 13, 2011

For me, it would depend greatly on how well I knew the person sending the notes. From one of my best friends, who I've known for years? I'd probably be deeply touched and appreciative. From someone I've known a couple of months, and not really that well? I don't think I would find it creepy, per se, but I would probably think that person is a little weird and lacked understanding of our relationship.
posted by grouse at 5:12 PM on February 13, 2011

If you're going to send Valentines make sure everyone in the class gets one. I think this is charming, and anyone who objects is a pooh-pooh-head.

(Not mash notes, Valentine's Day cards.)
posted by Ideefixe at 6:07 PM on February 13, 2011

yeah, awesome - and charming. what's wrong with the people who think this is weird?

i don't even like people that much (see screenname) and think it's adorable.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 6:32 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

mollymayhem: " (complete with homemade caramel corn!)"

homemade i'm sorry what is this i dont even recipe nao plz
posted by Night_owl at 7:12 PM on February 13, 2011

I think this is an excellent idea. If your friends wouldn't appreciate it or would find it bizarre, it may be an indication you need new friends.
posted by sinical at 7:18 PM on February 13, 2011

The way I see it, you never know when a friend of yours is silently suffering with something (emotionally or otherwise), and a heartfelt expression of appreciation might be incredibly meaningful. Go for it!!
posted by so_gracefully at 9:08 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think you probably know your friends well enough to know whether they will like this. (and I'm sure they will!) If they are close friends I doubt they will misinterpret it.

I received a beautiful handmade valentine in the mail from a friend a few years ago and I thought it was a.) beautiful and b.) I never questioned the intent.

It's pretty easy to make it clear that it's not a romantic valentine.

Do it!!
posted by bearette at 10:58 PM on February 13, 2011

Sounds lovely, and if in doubt, include in the message "I lost a dear friend this year, and it brought home to me just how important it is to tell my friends how special they are to me," to make clear both the context and the fact you're sending them out to lots of people.
posted by penguin pie at 12:13 AM on February 14, 2011

Best answer: Sounds good. Just make sure it's well tuned to your actual relationship with the person - if you go bowling with someone once a month, don't write them a long message about how important they are to your life and how lost you'd be without them ("what? I'm exceptionally special and dear to her and knowing I'll be there helps her get through the day? But... we just go bowling sometimes. Aaaaah too much significance!") - just say how nice it is to go bowling together and how you always look forward to their jokes, or something. A nice thing about Valentine's cards is they can be just a few lines, not pages and pages, and so it's easier to avoid over-doing it IMO.
posted by Lady Li at 12:26 AM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Lady Li has it. I should clarify that even if someone I didn't know well handed me a simple card, I would think it was cute. It would only be weird if it went on and on about how awesome I am and how important our friendship is, which is what it seemed like you were proposing doing for everyone in the initial post.
posted by grouse at 9:40 AM on February 14, 2011

One Valentine's Day at university when I was feeling a little down, I left a carefully-wrapped cookie and a little message saying "I think you're great!" in the pigeonhole of everyone I thought was great. (It occurs to me that pigeonhole might be a British term. I mean those little boxes you put mail in, in offices and so on.) I felt it got the message across nicely without being too gushing, lots of people said it made their day, and to the best of my knowledge, nobody thought I was either a lunatic or trying to get into their pants.

A week or so later, some of my closest friends surprised me with a giant cookie of my own, with the words "We think you're great too!" on it.

So, you know, it may turn out quite nicely. :o)
posted by raspberry-ripple at 10:43 AM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: It is 2:47 in the afternoon here, and I had the day off and I spent several hours writing cards to everyone. And now, fourteen cards-twelve to my friends, one to my grandma, and one to yarly cause she asked- are going in the mailbox. I made clear these cards were not romantic, but a substitute for the Christmas cards I did not send. They are to various degrees of mash-y, depending on the person, but the sappier ones mention the recent death and my desire to forgo ironic detachment in exchange for praise and mash-note-ness.The mashiest is for yarly. None of them are more than three paragraphs, cause they are small. They are not homemade- this was so last minute- but they are covered in stickers and most of them then include a joke about the stickers. I only mentioned them to one person, mostly to assess if I should send him one- the rest of them will be completely surprised.

I will update this when people respond to them and/or stop taking my calls.
posted by jenlovesponies at 12:58 PM on February 14, 2011

Response by poster: And here is the update:

I sent out my cards on V-day. I got five thank you text messages. One thank you call. One facebook promise of a call that has not yet come, but she is planning a wedding so I give her a pass. One Presidents Day card from Yarly, who is awesome. Of the people who didn't say anything, they are the people I did not expect to hear thank yous from specifically- mostly the less sentimental and less mash-y notes, and the people I see less often. I think of the five that didn't specifically get acknowledged I have talked to or saw four of them since then. As far as I know, no one thought the cards were weird, and the people who thanked me seemed especially to love them.

I am, on the whole, glad I did them.
posted by jenlovesponies at 3:41 PM on March 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

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