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Want to Start Penpalling? Here’s How!

During the past few months of quarantine, I spent a lot of time getting to know myself really well, and that includes learning new hobbies and revisiting old ones. I rekindled with my undying love for stationery, and as a result, I started giving a lot of my time to penpalling and writing snail mail! It’s fun to learn about someone that may be from another part of the world, and it’s a great way to express your thoughts and creativity inside an envelope. Here are some of my tips for those who want to start penpalling:

Figure out who you want to start penpalling to.

The first step to start getting involved in penpalling is to find a penpal! For me, this was the most difficult part of the penpalling process because I didn’t know where to start with finding someone to write to. If you’re unsure of where to start like I was, ask friends and family if they know anybody who would be willing to be a penpal! There are also websites such as globalpenfriends.com and penpalworld.com that help you find penpals from all over the world! You can also search for penpals on Instagram using hashtags like #penpalswanted or #lookingforpenpals, and checking out accounts like @penpalfinder121 and @penpalsinspire.

Think about how much time you want to set aside for penpalling.

Though penpalling can be a lot of fun, it can also be time-consuming, especially if you have a busy work or school schedule. Before you start reaching out to people asking to be penpals, assess how much time you want to invest in penpalling. Whether it’s writing letters every few days or every few weeks, figure out where penpalling and sending letters can fit into your schedule. This is something to also talk about to your potential penpal(s); communicate with them about how often you want to send letters, because chances are that they are also trying to fit penpalling into their busy schedules as well.

Introduce yourself in the first letter.

Now that you have figured out who you’re penpalling and how often you’re penpalling, it’s time to get cracking on the first letter! It may be difficult to start a letter, but I like to start off with a proper introduction of myself: my name, pronouns, major, where I go to college, what I love to do, etc. After the first letter, I usually talk about my day or anything interesting that happened since I last wrote. I don’t like to keep my letters super long, just because I don’t want my penpals to feel overwhelmed by how much I write, but the length of your letters is totally up to you!

Ask questions to keep the conversation going.

After the first introductory letters, don’t be afraid to ask questions to learn more about your penpal(s)! Whether they are questions asking about their day, what they like to do, what music they like to listen to, or even their dream superhero power, question-and-answer threads help keep the conversation moving forward and make things less awkward.

Don’t hesitate to add some goodies to your snail mail!

My favorite part of sending snail mail is adding extra goodies to their letter! I am absolutely obsessed with stationery, and part of my creative process with snail mail is adding cute stickers and washi tape to my letters. I also love decorating the outside of my envelopes as well. Aside from decorating my letters, I try to give them cute gifts such as postage stamps, washi tape samples, or stickers. I feel like decorating my letters with cute stationery gives them a good sense of who I am and that I love getting in touch with my creative side, so don’t be afraid to go a little overboard with beautifying your snail mail!

Marieska Luzada is a sophomore at Emerson College at Boston, MA majoring in journalism and minoring in publishing. Besides writing for HerCampus, you can find her drafting an a capella arrangement, drinking an iced matcha latte, reading a young adult contemporary, or listening to Studio Ghibli movie soundtracks.
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