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Admittedly this might just be a problem with the course material I was looking at, but I was reading some letters between two friends (emphasis mine), Анна and Иван, because apparently Иван was sightseeing in the Urals and Анна was stuck back in Nizhny Novgorod.

Anyway, they sign their letters to each others as "твой Иван" and "твоя Анна", after telling each other "скучаю".

Would this level of familiarity/intimacy be considered "proper" or "normal" for two platonic friends in Russian, especially for friends of the opposite gender?

To me this seems like too much emotional disclosure. Unless you are discussing anger, disclosing any negative emotion to someone to whom you are not related, particularly when they are of the opposite gender, seems like it could be misconstrued as a request for romantic intimacy.

Additionally, saying to someone unrelated that "I am yours" seems like an offer of an inappropriate amount of commitment and loyalty, unless that person is a romantic partner.

Only if I was really familiar with someone would I write "your friend", but this doesn't translate well into Russian, especially for a friend of the opposite gender, because then "твой друг" or "твоя подруга" means "your boy/girlfriend", which would really be the wrong message to send.

In other words, translating the letters literally into English, one has the impression that these two friends have boundary issues. Or am I just misinterpreting Russian culture here?

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    "I am yours" is much more intimate than "Твоя, <Имя>" which isn't used that much in these days. – LenaA Aug 17 '16 at 23:16
  • @LenaA Isn't it the equivalent of "your <name>", which isn't much different from "I am yours"? I might be misinterpreting this, it seems to me that the first implies the second. – Chill2Macht Aug 17 '16 at 23:19
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    I understand that these seem equivalent, but they are not. A simple example to illustrate a difference: 1. A man told his woman "I am yours" as an answer to her saying "I love you". 2. A girl signed a letter to her mother "Your loving Anya". And I might be wrong but a neat "Yours, <Name>" is much, much closer equivalent to "Твоя, <Имя>". – LenaA Aug 17 '16 at 23:48
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seems like it could be misconstrued as a request for romantic intimacy.

Perhaps, but it's totally okay among just the close friends. In fact, "Yours + name" is uncommon for lovers.

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Close friends can use твой/твоя +name without any additional (emotional ) feeling nowadays. But in Russian culture we use other patterns : we say *hello,hi" starting the letter (emails ) and often finish them with "bye".Your friend would say Пока.Что у тебя новенького?Пиши.Анна. But everything depends on the relationship. We can suspect a flavour of romance in your examples but hardly anything deeper.

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I would say these 'friends' aren't that platonic if they sign their letters like that. I assume they have some sort of romantic feelings to each other, even if they know they could never be together and all that's left is to write letters.

Nowadays not a lot of people write each other paper letters, but in this situation if we are talking about friends I'd say "Скучаю, пиши!" or "С нетерпением жду ответа :)" would be much more appropriate.

I've written about 10-15 paper letters in my life to a friend (a girl) and I've never signed them with my name - what for? She could see it on the envelope.

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    Это просто культура написания писем 20го века. – Pavel Mayorov Aug 19 '16 at 6:18

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