Remember when we used to have pen pals? We would send a letter and wait patiently or sometimes not so patiently for our pen pal to write us back. People keep telling us here us at Worcester Envelope Company, that snail mail is dead; despite social media, people are still very much interested in sending each other tangible pieces of mail.
Find a Pen Pal
Some famous pen pals include Catherine the Great and Voltaire, and the writers Edith Wharton and Henery James, Marie Antoinette and Charlotte of Mecklensburg-Strelitz. There are a vast amount of pen pal sites available to help you find your next pen pal. International Pen Friends has been around since 1967 and has processed over 2 million pen pal applications. Though it does cost, they will place you with anyone over the world. Other sites include PenpalWorld.com, PenPalsNow.com, Letter Writers Alliance, and others. Requests for pen pals are also posted on Reddit.
Be the Best Pen Pal
Now that you know how to get a pen pal, how do you make a lasting connection? Here are some tips:
- To begin, be upfront about your commitment. In all relationships, there are expectations. Let your pen pal know what your expectations are for your letter exchange and ask your pen pal what they want in return. Also, if you may be busy and so take longer to get back to your pen pal, let him/her know.
- Introduce yourself gradually. You don’t have to tell everything about yourself in the first letter. Leave some information that you can share later. If you don’t know each other well, sharing everything up front can make later letters, at least in the beginning, difficult to write. Start with introducing yourself by telling where you live, a little about your family, what you do or what year you are in school, and maybe a fun fact about yourself.
- Include questions. Everyone loves being asked questions and it’s the best way to continue the conversation. Some great questions to ask are: What’s your favorite fun thing to do when you’re not working? What’s your favorite food? What’s your favorite music?
- Be honest. If your pen pal has hurt your feelings, let them know and work it out.
- Include pictures and other tangible objects. Include pictures of yourself, where you live, vacations. Maybe even send your pen pal a package with some of your favorite things, or a gift. Everyone likes getting a package in the mail; why not surprise your pen pal with something special?
- Put in some effort and have fun with it. Instead of just writing a letter every time. Decorate a page with stickers, patterned paper, pictures, etc.
- Connect with your pen pal online. Though you may want to keep to the good ol’ fashioned method of only snail mail communication, it can be nice to stay connected online since sometimes it can take awhile to respond. Also, it can give you more things to ask and create more conversations!
Life-Long Pen Pals
Even though writing letters can take some time, having a pen pal can be a fun and even be a life-changing experience. Some pen pals have even met in real life, such as Linda Bennett from England and Karen Baksi from Canada, who have been pen pals for over 55 years. What started as a school assignment blossomed into an over 5-decade friendship in which they shared some of their greatest life joys, deepest sorrows, and their dreams.
As you write to your pen pal, make sure to use Worcester Envelopes, the best envelopes on the market! Maybe even get your envelopes custom designed!