What are Pen Pals
Pen Pals, also known as Pen Friends or Letter Friends are friends that you have around the world who you write to. They don’t even need to be from around the world, they could even just be a city over. You may never have met them, nor do you ever plan to, there is usually no physical connection to the individual (but that doesn’t mean you can’t agree to meet up and make plans together). You might choose to take part in Snail Mail, where you both write letters to each-other. If you’ve heard of this before, you might have seen that a lot of people will put great pride into their letters, making them look beautiful with a lot of hand crafted work. There is also the eventual possibility of sending parcels which may contain items of cultural significance. For example, I recently sent a parcel to one of my Pen Pals which contained a lot of British confectionery items. I personally have had many Pen Pals, some who I communicate with through emails, some through letters and some simply through social media applications like WhatsApp and Instagram!
When you think of Pen Pals, you might think back to your high school years where finding them was usually set by your teachers. Why? Because it was a great way to learn about other cultures, learn new languages and for making new friends around the world in general. For that reason, you might think it’s a dying or silent hobby, with it mostly being a world full of students sending letters to each-other. But that’s not the case at all. A lot of people will even choose to be Pan Pals with prison inmates, which is a good way to get some insight into their lives. And if you aren’t looking for any of that, it’s a great way to make new friends and have connections with people across the globe who can possibly visit one, getting a tour of their area and insight into their culture.
Having Pen Pals and taking part in Snail Mail is actually bigger than ever. No matter what country you’re from, or age you’re at, there are people all around the world waiting to talk to you. You don’t even have to go through the process of sending letters it that isn’t your thing thanks to email. Taking part in at least emails with Pen Pals is a great start, they’re delivered instantly and you don’t have to pay any postage costs. You also don’t have to give out personal information such as your address which might be a concern of yours at first.
Where can I find Pen Pals
There are many communities online which allow you to find Pen Pals specifically. We have one ourselves on this very site. When you sign up to Remote Friends, one of the questions we ask you to answer is what you are looking for. There are 6 different options to choose from, these are Language Exchange, Pen Pals, Friendships, Travel Partners, Relationships and Gaming Friends. Obviously, you will want to choose the Pen Pals option. You can choose more than one option though. So if you’re looking for both Pen Pals and Travel Partners, tick both of these boxes.
Once you’ve done that, it will show up on your profile that you are looking for Pen Pals. Whilst you will also show up in the Pen Pals directory along with other members looking for Pen Pals. That way, you can take a quick look and see if there are members who you think you will make a good connection with and start messaging them. Whilst other members who are specifically looking for Pen Pals will also find you in the same directory.
Otherwise, you can choose to use the Advanced Search feature. In here, you can choose ‘Pen Pals’ in the looking for option. Then you can choose to fill in any other fields, such country, city, gender, age, hobbies etc. making it possible to find exactly who you are looking to be friends with. For example, if you wanted to find a Male Pen Pal from Germany who was aged 32 and had an interest in Star Wars, that would be completely possible!
It’s obviously important to fill out your own profile as much as possible to have the best results, as well as being able to find other people who are similar to you. You should also make sure to upload an appropriate profile picture, as some members will gloss over profiles without a picture.
What to do After Finding a Pen Pal
So you’ve found someone you want to become Pen Pals with. You can use RemoteFriends built in Message function, so that you can start a conversation. Use the ‘Message’ button in the top right of the profile. For the best results, you shouldn’t start a message with it sounding very basic such as “hello” or “how are you”. Instead, take a look through the persons profile, talk about some of their interests and that you are looking to become Pen Pals. Uninteresting messages will quite often be ignored by other members as they get tired of seeing the same message over and over again with 0 interest.
If your message is ignored, don’t take it to heart. The other member may have thought you might not have been a compatible match, or possibly aren’t interested in making new friends right now. You can start with short conversations about general interests to see if you have much in common not just interest wise, but also personality wise.
The easiest way to conduct conversations would be either through our sites messaging feature, or switching it over to emails where you can receive notifications. Although you shouldn’t be giving out personal information such as your email or home address unless you are certain that you trust the other member. Eventually, you can switch it over to snail mail if that’s what you want to do. If not, you can use social messaging services such as RemoteFriends, Facebook or WhatsApp.
Taking Part in Snail Mail
What is Snail Mail? Snail Mail is the term used to describe the act of sending letters around the world to your Pen Pals. It’s called Snail Mail because letters may be slow to arrive, travelling at the pace of a snail. As mentioned previously, you should only take part in Snail Mail once you are sure that you trust someone with your home address. If you don’t feel ready to give that out, it’s a good idea to invest in a PO Box.
A PO Box, or Post Office box will likely be available at your local Post Office for a fee. This means that they will receive your parcels and letters at the Post Office so that you don’t have to give out your personal address.
Sending letters around the world is often relatively cheap. Here in the UK, it costs around £2 GPB to send a letter to the USA (United States of America) for example. However, if you plan to send parcels which may contain snacks or other unique items, the prices will often go up. For example, sending a shoe-box sized parcel to the USA will cost around £20. You will need to check the customs regulations of each country too, in order to ensure your parcel actually passes all the requirements and makes it to your Pen Pal.
Some of the best parcels to send to Pen Pals would be food that is unique to your country. I sent a parcel to the USA which contained a lot of Cadbury’s chocolate which is British and mostly unavailable in America. However there are a lot of regulations and items you can’t send when it comes to food.
That’s it. Hopefully you now know how you can find many different Pen Pals from all over the world. As you can tell, it’s quite easy to do, especially now that we have internet directories such as this one to narrow everyone down by interests.
What you should remember is that once you send a letter, check in with your Pen Pal. You will never know if the letter made it to them unless you send it either tracked or signed for. Therefor, when you don’t receive a letter back, you’ll be left wondering if your Pen Pal chose not to reply, or whether your letter actually made it to them. I’ve faced this dilemma many times.