Jump to content

FED UP. Wrote a form letter to my family

Guest Zoe Grace

Recommended Posts

Guest Zoe Grace

Explanation: I've been married for 3 1/2 years. I chose to keep my maiden name. Everyone accepts this except my family who keep sending me mail addressed to "april wilson" who doesn't exist. The following is the form letter I plan to send to each person that sends me the wrong mail.




Dear _______________________,


This is a form letter, it will be sent out to the individual who sent me mail addressed to April Wilson. You might think this is silly and unimportant, that I'm being "rebellious" but I'm a grown woman now and I can assure you I have nothing to "rebel" against. This is a relatively new policy of mine and is not meant to single you out.


It is possible that you were not aware of the lack of name change or you forgot. In that case, my sincerest apologies, but this IS a form letter, and so can't be perfectly tailored. To clear up any confusion my name is April ___________(left out here for privacy reasons). I, as an adult and of my own freewill made the choice to keep my maiden name.


The following list is proof of my name:


My social security card,

Driver's license,

Bank accounts,

Car title,

School records,


Paycheck/employment records,

Tax Records.


All are filed under "april _______" All legal documents are signed "April _________" Everybody seems to have no problem with this and accepts it as a simple decision that it was. Employers, teachers, acquaintances, friends, all accept my lack of name change. My husband also accepts my lack of name change. I've been married now for over three years and have no intention of taking my husband's name, even if we have children.


The only people who seem unable to respect this decision is my family. I've announced it on more than one ocassiona and if you missed the memo, you are getting it now. It may seem like a silly and small thing to you, that I am being petty. But if it is, then you should have no problem addressing all future correspondence to "April _______"


If it's so insignificant and inconsequential you should have no problem respecting my decision. If there is any confusion when addressing something to both Tom and myself, it can be addressed to April _________ and Tom Wilson or vice versa. It doesn't matter to me what order you put our names in.


I don't wish to bring up a sensitive and hurtful topic, but when Papaw Mack passed away, my name was mentioned in the Obit. as April Wilson. This hurt me a lot because "_________" is my name and was the name of the grandfather I lost. To so casually disrespect that decision during a time of grief hurt me very much.


It may seem stupid and petty to you, but names are important marks of identity to people. If you chose to change your name at marriage but no one addressed you by that name, you would feel as if your marriage wasn't even being acknowledged. I feel as if I'm being brushed aside and ignored and my decision seen as something no one is obligated to respect.


I know you probably never intended to hurt me. It likely didn't seem a big deal to you. If I thought you didn't love me, I wouldn't have bothered sending you this letter. If you didn't know how important this is to me, you do now. I don't want to have to rant and rave about my lack of name change. It is only when it is ignored that I feel the need to mention it.


I'm not wearing a tee shirt that says: "I kept my maiden name, ask me how." I'm simply asking you to respect the decision already accepted by the rest of the world.


In the event that "Keeping my maiden name" strikes you as "my husband not being the head of the househole" let me point out two things:


1) How Tom and I run our relationship is no one's concern but ours. Forcing my name to conform to a traditional model doesn't make our relationship BECOME that model.


2) In our relationship, Tom is the BOSS, likely much moreso than many "traditionalists" bothered by my lack of name change.


Please don't feel that every point made here was directed at you personally. There is every likelihood that you simply forgot or didn't know. Some of the more specific points only exist in the letter to cover all possible bases so that I don't have to keep having this discussion. The form letter format is to keep it as neutral as possible.


Personally, I would prefer never to have to mention the name thing again, but when mail is sent to me with the wrong name from my own family, I feel it is my duty to correct the error. I mean, I would be pretty upset if I addressed something to you and got your name wrong and you didn't even let me know.


Please consider this a courtesy letter with no ill will or intentions implied or meant. If anything in this letter upset you, please remember this is the same exact letter sent to everyone who sends me wrongly addressed mail (starting now) and is not meant as an affront to you personally but is merely a tool to convey my feelings on the issue without having to write personal letters everytime this happens.


Thanks for reading and respecting me enough to make this change in your correspondence to me.




April ____________

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Zoe. Have you already had personal discussions with your family, in which you said the things that are in the form letter? Off the top of my head it seems better to me to try to communicate personally, since my first thought would be your family may react to the form and create a second issue alongside the name issue. But maybe you've had dozens of nice conversations and sent personal letters already.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Zoe, you're a character. :grin:


If we walked in the same circles I'm sure we would be friends. I like having characters as friends. Makes life fun.


Before I get a form letter, this comment is posted with the most innocent of intentions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are way too verbose in this letter and you repeat yourself way too much. It sounds like you're asking for their permission to disagree with them. It needs a lot more assertion. And brevity is assertion's best friend.


It doesn't matter what they think. Don't say 'you might think' or 'if you think' at all. By refusing to acknowledge your wishes THEY are being petty. Don't acknowledge theirs.


Cut this letter down to one paragraph.


"I'm not sure if the incorrect use of my name is accidental or intentional, but let me clear it up once and for all. My name is X not Y. If this misuse is intentional, I find it incredibly rude and disrespectful that some of you choose not to acknowledge this. I was personally offended when my name was published incorrectly in grandpa's obituary.


We're all adults here and I've chosen this for personal reasons. It's not your place to try and correct me to conform to what you believe is an important tradition. I'm starting a tradition of my own. If my own husband can accept my decision, then the rest of you can too.


In the future, anyone who refuses to acknowledge my name, replacing it with a fabricated one, will be addressed by a name I fabricate, of my own choosing, and trust me, it will not be flattering. "



Something like that. Also, 'head of the househole' is the best typo I've seen all month.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are way too verbose in this letter and you repeat yourself way too much.  It sounds like you're asking for their permission to disagree with them.  It needs a lot more assertion.  And brevity is assertion's best friend.


It doesn't matter what they think.  Don't say 'you might think' or 'if you think' at all.  By refusing to acknowledge your wishes THEY are being petty.  Don't acknowledge theirs.


Cut this letter down to one paragraph. 


"My name is X not Y.  I find it incredibly rude and disrespectful that some of you choose not to acknowledge this.  I was personally offended when my name was published incorrectly in grandpa's obituary. 


Knock it off, we're all adults here and I've chosen this for personal reasons.  It's not your place to try and correct me to conform to what you believe is an important tradition.  I'm starting a tradition of my own.  If my own husband can accept my decision, then the rest of you can too.


In the future, anyone who refuses to acknowledge my name, replacing it with a fabricated one, will be addressed by a name I fabricate, of my own choosing, and trust me, it will not be flattering. "

Something like that.



I agree that the letter is repetitive and ought to be shortened. If it was my letter, I would also remove the comments regarding the relationship between me and my husband. That's no one else's business.


Otherwise... Way to go!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Who gives a fuck why you elected to do what you do? Why is it their business?

More important why do do care what they think?


If you have to send a leter-bomb off to them, summarize, summarize, shorten, and summarize after all of that.

They require just the most minor amount of information necessary to know what/why you chose what you want to do.


Under no circumstances in this identity thefting era do you EVER send unbidden your important numbers and names. That, just to *make a point* is foolish at the least, stupid at worst.

You don't control where Aunt Sue pitches her trash, all that neat information may not be properly shredded before being tossed.


Agree with Lloyd and Clearview. needs summarized, dropped to a maximum of two-three paragraphs, the taunting and begging for arguments left totally out.

Make it as generic as possible, leave your personal info out.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I think Lloyd might be right. You don't have to start a fight by overwhelm them with the argument. Maybe you should do it really short, and just state, without explanations to why, that your real name is ..... but you're still married. Like just one page 2-3 paragraphs... just a thought.


(April is a beautiful name btw, just as beautiful as Zoe ;) )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Priapus

And what do you expect will [read:want to] come of this? You've made it plain what you wish to be called. This will alienate those who want to play it Ol' Skool. Sure, maybe you don't care, since they don't care enough to address you as you wish to be addressed, but keep in mind: Letters are hard evidence that sit in a drawers to be brooded over and hoarded by the bitter recipient.


Slap and counter-slap. It gains ye nothing. Life's too short for such as this, say I, but do as ye must.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Still too long. All that stuff about your documentation doesn't add credibility to you, it gives the impression that you think your own opinion isn't strong enough to stand on its own.


It doesn't matter what anyone calls you 'officially'. This is about you and your decision and respect for that decision. Saying the drivers license office calls you 'not April Wilson' is the equivalent of getting the teacher to enforce the no running rule.


Fuck the drivers license office. You're not April Wilson, because THAT'S NOT YOUR NAME. No other justification is needed, and again, only makes it seem like you're not so sure yourself. (See? Teacher says I'm not April Wilson!)


My family can take things personally and I'm trying to express myself without "hurting them" back.


They have conditioned you to walk on eggshells and modify your behavior so that you don't offend... This is called manipulation. FUCK THEM. Don't acknowledge their little guilt trips and whiny bitch parties. Don't let them make you edit your words or change your feelings. Say exactly what's on your mind, without being rude, but be forceful and authoritative. The whole point here is to not take their crap, but you're pre-emptively taking their crap in a letter about not taking their crap.


Toughen up babe! If you don't show that you respect yourself they never will either.


Side note: draft 1: 879 words. My suggested edit: 153 words. draft 2: 567 words. Too long. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ROFLMFAO!  Thanks Lloyd...I thought Maybe I should cut it down some...I do tend to get a bit verbose.


The temptation to repeat yourself when dealing with someone who stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the facts is really, really, really, REALLY fucking strong. I do it all the time. But the thing is, though repetition can strengthen your argument when you're talking to someone, I think it can actually weaken your argument in text.

/editor geek

Link to comment
Share on other sites

God Zoe,


My gut reaction to a family like this is: "If you can't call me by my damned name, then I won't call you by your name either, so I'll just call you what you are - Mr./Ms. Ignorant-Insensitive-Raised-By-Wolves-Bastard."


Amazing that you even have to contemplate composing a letter like this...what doofuses. You're totally right on about this being a "wifely submission" crock. Groan.


If it were me, I wouldn't write a letter: I'd tell them off to their faces. Each and every one. And I'd make a HUGE deal out of it. But you are not me. You gotta do what you feel is necessary.


The down side of a letter was mentioned by Pripus (it'll sit in a drawer). Are you really prepared to spend years re-sending this form letter to the offending family member? It sounds kinda tedious.


But your family sounds tedious, too. :ugh:


I doubt they'll ever change. They'll piously call you your husband's family name, you'll get pissed, and on and on. For them, it sounds like a line in the sand, some high minded moral issue about being godly. This is where you might be truly "beating your head against a wall" and getting nowhere, except allowing them to get you in a bad mood.


Hey, maybe your husband can change HIS name to your family name...(just don't tell your family that it's a farce). That'll put a wrench in this drama. :grin:


Family members do change...some even become normal after they've gone through their own problems and realize that going through life being Mr./Ms. Righteous gets old. But it takes years. I've seen it with some in my family. But not all unfortunately.


I realize my post is not advice, 'cause I honestly don't know what I'd do. Good luck, hon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't expect them to like it, I expect them to respect it and acknowledge my decision.  If they do not, they will receive this exact letter every single time.


Honestly, don't waste the 37 cents. You have made your wishes known verbally, and they haven't respected them. If they do not respect your wishes after a clear written communication, they aren't going to no matter how many more cease and desist letters you send. You would do far better at that point to start returning any other letters or packages addressed to the nonexistent April Wilson. Let them waste the postage.


I agree w/ Lloyd that the letter is too long and the list of organizations which acknowledge April NotWilson is not necessary. Your choice and wishes should be enough. If its not, then a permission slip signed by the IRS and the DMV isn't going to be, either. All *that* proves to them is that the government doesn't respect tradition and enforce what's good and right and proper in the world.


I would edit the letter down to the first full paragraph followed by the lines "I've chosen this for personal reasons. If you are curious about those reasons, you are more than welcome to telephone me." Then the signature of your chosen name. Short, simple, and succinct.


Then, get a "return to sender" stamp. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thinking about situation Zoe, I think this is getting high up on the "FOAD factor"


Ya know that picking your fights and battles and the place where they happen is as important as the reason why you are doing so in first place.


If you have to slap family with the epistle missle treament the shorter, more pointed, totally condensed, and right to the point, done in a few dozen words, layed out in a maximum of two paragraphs, period needs to be done.


Consider for a minute, you get a *bad letter*. How much detail after the open salvos do you bother to read? How many times re-reading it?


Problem with your thinking as I see it you have far too many issues to cover, too many things you are trying to cover to too many people.


If you are gonna slap someone upside head, you gotta pick a specific target.


Don't know if there are gonna be any winners in this.

I'd suggest you let it lay and allow blood and brain pressure to relax.


Like any argument that isn't life and death, you need to ask "Is this shit worth it?"



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had told them all that I kept my name.  They ignored it.  They acted like I had never said it or they had never heard it.  I'm sure it wasn't with malicious intent that they did it...but they KNEW.  And if they didn't know, well they'll know now, cause this whole "april wilson" business is stopping or they are getting "return to sender"  It may sound petty, but I now have a list (I have a very big family, it's the only practical way to follow through with my threats here.)


first list is those who have mailed me things with the wrong name...then i'll keep track of who has been sent the first warning, so I'll know who to "return to sender"  This crap happens way to often for my liking and I've been patient with them and told them.  They've acted like I never said anything.  So I'm sending written proof it's been addressed and they can't play "dumb" anymore.

Then I don't see any problem with the last version. It's straight forward and to the point. Without repetition or making it sound too much that you're upset. But don't take my advice only... :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two paragraphs, 200-275 words max. 338 in this one still, far too many paragraphs, too much info, far too many crosscurrents.


You continue to use words like beachballs and float them over the subject gently.


Make your point, use words tactically, end letter.


You put far too much opinion and excess wordage, "weasle room", into your letter.


Think this: Collection Agency Letter


Aint'a nothing someone wants, but it is usually short enough that we cannot avoid reading to the end.

Just the fucking facts and the Agencys desired remedy. Period.


Cut out every three words Zoe, trim this bastard to the toenails and make this more a knife point than a broadswords edge..


You'll only get one slice with *family*.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Weasle words.. Room for them to have any space for ambiguity at all..


"What did she REALLY mean by THAT?"


Give no room, no move not a single cubic anything so the recipient has any way or method of misunderstanding your intent.


Like tossing a hand grenade into a barrel fulla fish, someone or -thing is gonna take an asskicking from what you write.

If you sugar coat it, the frosting will give folks room to squirm around and excape the nuking you are trying to do.


Allow nothing to be less_than_knife_in_the_ribs_buried_to_hilt_clear.


They don't give a fuck about your problems, they could care less about your metnal distress, they don't want to know anything personal that the family gossip mill hasn't already picked up on..


Draw up bat, apply same. usually one application is all that is needed until most stubborn are convinced.


Both 3 and 4 are far more information than I'd be inclined to tell the intended recipient.


Bare minimum works best.

"Hey Dumbfuck, I'm not happy, here is why: "XXXX and XX". This is what I need to fix problem from you, "XXX and XyZ" Thank you, John Q. Wageearner IX, Esp. DDLM, EtC


Remember Zoe, unsaid words are those you don't have to pull back outa yer mouth, or out of your ass after you've sent them off. This letter could inspire them to talk to you, or piss them off so bad, they'll cut you off any inheritance, and never invite you to family gatherings again..


Consolidate, summarize, shorten. Use as a prick, a point, not as a sewing machine trying to patch far too many ideas and issues at once.


200 words is the average Collection Agency notice. That is the most folks are inclined to read when it is *bad news*. After that number, people will stop reading, and the rest of message and its summary are lost due to lack of interest.


Summarization is the Editors Friend..



Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.