So here are a few easy tips to do just that
The idea of having a pen pal may seem outdated. But in a world where we are inundated with superficial relationships and nearly all interaction and communication happens online, a pen pal allows you to participate in meaningful cultural exchange, forge new friendships, and improve your communication skills. The only caveat to this is that finding a pen pal isn’t as easy as checking a newspaper or magazine – and once you have found a pen pal, it is even more challenging to keep them engaged.
There was a time when you could browse a newspaper or magazine and find a list of pen pals, an introduction to the person and a description of their interests, but the only way to find pen pals today is online. Ideally, when you’re searching online, you want to find a curated list of pen-pals that have been selected based on their character.
A service like Letter in the Post is perfect. Not only is receiving mail prioritised but given that the focus is on sending and receiving letters instead of emails, you have to be more intentional about your words and subjects. This method of communication allows you to connect with people of all ages and walks of life through a form of expression that makes everything you write more meaningful.
Additionally, using Letter in the Post, you’ll receive a newsletter consisting of a list of pen pals, and you can select the ones you want to write to.
Once you start interacting with a pen pal, waiting for a response is a thrilling experience. The anticipation and suspense make it all the more enjoyable. This is especially true once you start building a friendship. But, much like starting any new friendship, it can be heartbreaking if your friend suddenly stops communicating. For this reason, it’s critical that you also focus on maintaining the relationship once it’s started.
Why should your pen pal respond? If your letter reads more like an article or an essay, your pen pal won’t feel compelled to reply. But, if you write about local issues – that your pen pal wouldn’t be able to find through Google – they’ll be intrigued to follow up. You can write about the adventures of residing in your neighbourhood, your daily habits, and local events through your eyes. Maybe even touch on Global Warming and see how it affect their community. Here are a hundred plus questions to ask on this subject
Another way to keep the conversation going is to find interests you and your pen pal share. This common ground ensures your pen pal responds, and you can be the foundation of a meaningful and lasting friendship. Having common interests also gives you an endless amount of subjects to embrace in future letters.
If you’re writing to someone who doesn’t reside in the same country, developing rapport is important. However, it can be complicated to develop rapport because of the cultural and – in some instances – language barriers. To overcome those challenges, you should consider treating the letters as a cultural exchange, enquiring about what it’s like to live in the country. To make the cultural exchange more meaningful, ask them to share their experience and not just generalisations about the country where they reside. This makes the letters more personal while introducing you to different practices and identities.
One way to guarantee a reply from your pen pal is to ask a question. By asking a question, you relieve the pressure they may feel toward creating interesting topics. Instead, they only have to respond to your questions and perhaps ask a few of their own. Another benefit to asking a question is that it shows you have a genuine interest in their feelings, ideas, and opinions – which will also make them more inclined to respond.
Given that you can’t rectify a letter with only a few clicks or add more details to substantiate, you should be intentional with everything you write. Carefully consider your words. The more you focus on the substance of your letter, the better your ability to stay on-topic and choose topics that advance the conversation, making your letter pleasing to read.
A pen pal has the potential to become a lifelong friend, but only if you nurture the relationship and make writing a priority. Put yourself in their shoes. You’d be more excited to open a letter from a pen pal who has written an engaging piece and takes an interest in you than you would be to open a letter that’s one-sided and difficult to read. If you take the approach of “what I would want to read?” You will find it easier to make and maintain a friendship with a pen pal.