A pen pal, unlike a friend you meet regularly, does not have the privilege of being up-to-date on the ins and outs of your life. This can make the letters you write to a pen pal more cathartic, descriptive, and in-depth than the everyday conversation. But, when you have so much to write about, deciding on one topic can be a challenge.
Besides, given that the conversation is relatively one-sided, the letters you write should have enough detail to elicit a response from the pen pal.
That said, when it comes to the topic or theme of your letter, who you’re writing to – a new or existing pen pal – should determine the contents of the letter.
What’s the Premise of the Letter?
Before you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, it helps to frame the subject within the letter. Having an overarching topic ensures your letter is more engaging to your pen pal and reduces the risk of rambling.
If you haven’t written to a pen pal before or in a while, you can begin by drafting a letter and then removing points that distract from the primary subject.
Topics To Write To A New Pen Pal
The first letter you write to your pen pal will be the foundation of your friendship and sets the tone for future letters. If you decide to write formally, your pen pal is likely to respond formally. Therefore, it’s vital that you think of writing to a new pen pal the same way you would about making a good first impression at a job interview or when meeting someone for the first time.
Another reason to make the distinction between writing a letter to a new friend and an existing one is that the topics you write about when you’re making an introduction differ from the ones you write as you get to know your pen pal. If you’re the one making the introduction, the topics you write about could also set the tone for the recipient and help you build a lasting friendship.
1. Your Life
Depending on how profound you want the conversation to be, you can write about your life, what you’ve accomplished, where you are in life at the moment, or just a general biography detailing the history of your life from birth to present day.
Hobbies are always the perfect topic to break the ice and find common ground. If you decide to share your hobbies, you may want to include specifics like how often you practice or participate in your hobbies, why you got started, and why you enjoy them.
3. Family Life
If your pen pal also has a family, you should consider discussing your family – including any fur babies – in your first letter. You can decide to make brief introductions for each member of your family or write about your family’s dynamics. Making this family introduction also gives your pen pal a guide to refer to if you ever mention a relative by name in any following letters.
Since your pen pal isn’t part of your inner circle, they are the perfect unbiased party to share your aspirations. You can discuss your goals, the strides you’re taking to reach those goals and even query what their aspirations are. Since the tone of the letter is likely to be optimistic, this is the perfect foundation to start a light-hearted friendship.
5. Words of Encouragement
While this might not be an interesting “topic” it is a fascinating premise and could encourage your pen pal to write back. Considering that everyone needs encouragement or motivation now and again, your words of encouragement could be what sets your letter apart.
Interesting Topics to Write About to Existing Pen Pal
As you cover more topics in each letter, you may find that it becomes more challenging to write to existing pen pals than new ones. That doesn’t have to be the case as these topics can spark endless responses or breathe new life into a dwindling pen pal friendship.
1. An Opinion on World or Local Events
If you’re an opinionated person, your friends and family have likely heard you share your opinions hundreds of times. They are probably bored and tired of hearing you bring up those topics. Someone who is not likely to be bored by these topics and could find them engaging is your pen pal. If you choose to share your opinion on a local event and your pen pal isn’t in the region, provide a description of the event and then share your opinion.
At the end of the letter, you can even ask that they share their opinion.
2. Request Advice
If you trust that your new friend has your best interest at heart, you can discuss an issue you’re facing and request that they offer advice. People often feel appreciated when they feel someone values their opinion, so asking for advice could strengthen your friendship.
If you and your pen pal have built your friendship around encouraging and motivating each other, a great topic to include in your letter is a recent epiphany. You can share when and how you had the epiphany in addition to what you think sparked it. Then you can discuss how the realisation has changed your life or perspective.
4. Lifestyle Changes
Whether it’s losing weight, budgeting, quitting a bad habit or learning a new skill, writing about your lifestyle changes provides endless fodder for conversation. It allows you to inject your personality by adding anecdotes about your life that your pen pal will find fascinating.
Regardless of what you choose to write about, if you keep up exchanging letters with your pen pal, you’ll discover that as time passes you become a better, more engaging writer.