I srongly dislike being referrd to as somebody’s ‘friend’ when they do not know me, and I do not know them. I think charity fundraisers are going too far – and joining the ranks of the spam e-mailers. But Help the Aged, with its Cows ‘n’ Things brand, has gone one step further – by sending a fundraising pack to “The Occupier” and starting “Dear Friend”.
Before everybody jumps on me, let me mention an exception. If an organisation such as The Friends of St. Paul’s Cathdral is writing to its members, then I think it legitimate to start with Dear Friend. Also, a charity, writing to previous donors, and too lazy to put their name in the salutation, might be jutified in saying Dear Friend of Retired Donkeys (or whatever the name of the charity).
In general, however, let’s try to get rid of the lazy and offputting approach of calling everyone a ‘friend’!