You are Alexis, female, age 33, and have been best friends with David, male, age 33, for 13 years. In your sophomore year of college, you took a semester abroad study program and met David, who was also a student at your same college. During the semester abroad, you had a passionate eight week romance, which ended in a nasty breakup.
When you returned to the United States, you both ended up in several classes together, and you got back onto speaking terms. You ended up as study partners, and forged a close, non-romantic friendship. The friendship strengthened. Your group of female friends got to know David and his group of male friends. You all became inseparable.
You confided in each other about your dates with others and shared dating and relationship advice, openly, and without sensing any tensions caused by your prior romantic relationship.
Upon graduation, you both moved to the same city and shared an apartment with two other people your age. When your family and friends questioned whether this would lead either to romance or to uncomfortable encounters around the apartment, you both emphatically stated that you were so far beyond the brief romance and so well into the platonic friendship that the living arrangement was ideal. You both enjoyed a purely platonic friendship with each other, without a hint of romantic emotion or physical intimacy.
You lived together for five years, in this purely platonic friendship, until your jobs took you to different parts of the country. You had both become highly paid business writers, well known for your business writing skills and sought after by Fortune 500 clients.
After you moved apart, you texted constantly, and visited when you could, usually with several other friends in tow. The relationship remained purely platonic.
Dave married, at age 29, against your advice, to a manipulative woman who you knew would hurt him. Dave’s wife cut him off from you, mistrusting your relationship. This hurt you deeply, and you threw yourself into your job and withdrew from most of your friends.
Last week, Dave surprised you with a text saying that his job was bringing him to town and that he had something important to tell you. You arranged to meet for dinner. It seemed as if no time had passed since you had been close friends, together constantly. Dave told you that he had divorced and that he should have listened to your advice. His ex had cleaned his clock and broken his heart. She had divided him from all his friends, including you, and now he faced life without a spouse and without his friends.
He had told you that he had something important to tell you, and you assumed that was his announcement of his divorce. But during the dinner discussion, it seemed as if he had something else he wanted to say that he was not able to articulate. He seemed less comfortable talking to you than he had seemed in the old days.
You stayed and talked until the restaurant closed.
You walked him to the taxi stand, wondering whether you should invite him back to your place, to keep the conversation going, with no intentions of crossing the friendship/romance line. You told yourself you had no romantic feelings for him, so why not ask him to drop by your place so you could keep talking. But you could not think of how to convey that to him. A cab pulled up, and just before he got in the cab, he turned and kissed you. The first kiss since your eight-week romance in your student days, in Prague.
The kiss made you wonder whether it was the type that a very long-term friend and long-ago lover could get away with giving to somebody who was now purely a platonic friend, or if there was more than friendship behind it. And as your mind wondered about this, your body gave you the answer to the question, as your heart raced and you became dizzy and had to hold onto Dave tightly to avoid falling off the curb. He pulled away, got into the cab quickly, and disappeared.
You knew he was leaving town in the morning, and you stayed up all night wondering what to do. The kiss had brought a rush of feelings and desire that you had no idea would hit you so hard. You froze, not knowing what to do.
He experienced the same feelings of confusion, and 10 days passed without either of you contacting the other.
You decided to follow your heart. The kiss opened your mind to the feelings in your heart that your mind had suppressed. You needed to be with him for life. You decided to ask him to marry you. You decided to send him a letter, instead of calling and putting him on the spot, or texting, which would seem too impersonal.
What did you write to Dave?
- Write the letter.
- Write a description of your strategy for the letter. Discuss your choice of direct order or indirect order, and why you made the choice.
Insurance company letter
1. The letter has been written using Indirect Approach.
Any letter that comprises of some negative and that which anticipates resistance from the recipient is written in Indirect Order (Mirzaii & Bozorg Aliabadi, 2013).
2. In a letter written in indirect format often ties it is difficult to well organize the message that is to be delivered leaving no space for miscommunication. Thus, strategizing a business letter with the use of words that may have a positively inclined appeal to the recipient despite the message being negative is important (Frear & Chiu, 2015). Replacing the phrase sincerely regret by humbly apologetic would leave a greater positive impact.
3. Dear valued insured,
It has come to my notice that you have recently received a letter on behalf of the company that states the denial of coverage for your loss. We are humbly apologetic that we unfortunately could not aid you in these times. The terms and conditions of the insurance contract that provides coverage, we can only cater to those claims. Kindly appreciate this initiative of the company.
This is a supplement for the original declination letter that did not contain language that may have been in relevance with your situation. Please do note that this letter includes language that is in line with certain specified appeal processes. If at any occasion you are of the opinion that there is dispute in our findings and that our position is inaccurate, you may follow the directions as have been outlined and the matter will be further reviewed by the company in detail.
1. Dear Dave,
Your sudden text after so long was really a pleasant surprise. You have been a good friend to me all these years and I have tried to be the same from my end. I cherish our friendship. I believed that the romantic relationship that we had in the sophomore year of college was long gone and forgotten. But, your surprise visit and the following events have made me think over and over again in these past ten days. Finally, my delusional belief has been shattered pieces and I have no regret in admitting that I still have strong romantic feelings and inclination towards you. I believe that this feeling is mutual and was forcefully denied by both of us.
I have decided that I want to marry you and spend the rest of my life with you. I will be eagerly waiting for your consent.
2. This letter has been strategically framed in a manner that would gradually grab the recipient’s attention with the flow of the letter that is direct (Kamei, 2012). The letter ends with the actual message of marriage proposal to keep the recipient in the lag of the message.
This letter has been written using the direct order since this approach is generally used while conveying a positive message. Here, organizing the message is also simple (Arnold, 2012). Another reason is that in this approach there are lesser possibilities of resistance from the recipient’s end.
Arnold, G. (2012). Media writer's handbook. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Frear, D., & Chiu, Y. (2015). The effect of focused and unfocused indirect written corrective feedback on EFL learners’ accuracy in new pieces of writing. System, 53, 24-34. doi:10.1016/j.system.2015.06.006
Kamei, T. (2012). The Letter. New Writing, 9(3), 302-307. doi:10.1080/14790726.2012.659260
Mirzaii, M., & Bozorg Aliabadi, R. (2013). Direct and indirect written corrective feedback in the context of genre-based instruction on job application letter writing. Journal Of Writing Research,5(2), 191-213. doi:10.17239/jowr-2013.05.02.2