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  1. It just happens - a letter, oftentimes barely bigger than a human hand, gets lost in the immense machinery of international postal traffic. It's a shame, but probably not much of a substantial loss, or else the letter would have been sent my registered mail. For the expectant recipient, though, it opens up the big question: Why did my correspondent not write back? Of course, the truth could be that they actually didn't write back, but this could have many more reasons beyond not wanting to continue the mail exchange - sickness, family issues, job, education, moving, etc. In any case, I think (personally) that sending a letter of inquiry is the best option here - a short letter on A5 paper in an unobtrusive C6 envelope, saying that I think their mail may have been lost because I haven't received any in a substantial while (how long that waiting period should be is a whole 'nother question; I usually take the average time they've taken to reply and roughly multiply it by 2 or 3), maybe adding a few lines about a topic we've talked about in previous letters so that it doesn't feel and sound like I'm just harassing them for a reply. Depending on how sure I am that the person was interested in an ongoing mail connection, I adapt my wording to inquire about personal problems that might prevent them from writing back as regularly as they used to, sometimes I subtly touch on the fact that I certainly won't feel offended if they simply don't want to continue writing, but would like to be told so. Just ceasing all communication on both sides is a scenario I don't consider to be polite. It's so easy, to a degree even acceptable, on social media, but letters are different and special, and I don't think I'm asking for too much when I want to have a complete conversation with a beginning and an end at least in this medium. What are your thoughts on this? In eager anticipation of your thoughts, Dominique





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