The official definition of a "Dear John" letter revolves around a romantic relationship, but im my head it seems like an appropriate extension of this concept would be to end a friendship as well. If you think about it, frienships are also complex relationships which can end in comparatively horrible circumstances. I think that the more important function of the letter is not who is eligible to receive one, but how can you frame your message to elicit the desired result?
There are several elements that I think are absolutely necessary in creating this work of art/passion to consider.
ELEMENT # 1: TONE [in the 3 broadest-possible, all-encompassing categories ]:
Option A) Harsh - If you're looking for a gut-wrenching, emotion draining, right hook the nearest innocent bystander type of reaction - than this is the option for you. Perhaps your friend/significant other is a douche [can also be read as: dick] or has previously commited crimes against your heart [i.e. adultury, starring in an adult film without your knowledge, misunderstanding the concept of friendship being a two-person participatory activity].
Option B) Feather Bed - this would be your "let-them-down-easy-so-they-feel-like-it-was-their-idea-and-they-are-blissfully-ignorant-of-the-fact-that-they-just-lost-the-best-thing-that-ever-happened-to-them-because-it-was-their-idea" option. By using this type of circular reasoning you can confuse and comfort your reader. The recipient should be someone that you still have warm, fuzzy feelings for [like the way you feel after a few shots of good vodka] and ultimately are not trying to hurt - but the expiration date on this relationship has been reached and these things are best dealt with before they begin to emit odor.
Option C) Indifference - this option is best delivered by text message; because seriously - if you don't give a shit-just phone it in hun.
ELEMENT #2: SOUNDTRACK [while writing an emotional letter it is important to set the mood with a soundtrack for success based on your chosen tone]
If you chose harsh, than chances are you are feeling angry [and chances are that's an understatement]. I would personally choose something with a "fuck the world" type of lyrical entertainment - some hardcore gangster rap would be idealic.
If you chose softly, you may be feeling nostalgic and I would suggest something in the alternative genre circa 1990's
If your indecisive, perhaps just a soundbite..text messages aren't exactly known for being time consuming efforts.
ELEMENT # 3: INTRODUCTORY QUOTE
I feel like anything you can say, someone has already said better. Use this to your advantage..remember you are only as great as your resources.
If you have all of these elements, a wicked talent for the pen, and a few witty prose..the letter will practically write itself.
Stay tuned for my next post, where i'll demonstrate these elements with [drum roll please..dunt da duh] an example ::gasp::