Why do you penpal?
"I pen pal for a few reasons. As a small child, my great grandparents wrote to me often and I'd draw pictures and write back to them. I loved getting my own mail as a child. After high school it was a way to keep in touch with friends, but after the social media sites appeared, many of us stopped writing. Sadly its how we've mostly lost touch, even if they're on my friends list, we don't talk much now. I still enjoy receiving mail that isn't a bill, or local store ad. That's how I discovered pen pal websites and eventually that all led me here to LEP. :) I also love getting to know people from far away that I probably wouldn't have met any other way. Now I have a stationery addiction and my husband says that I stalk the mailman, but that's part of the fun, right?? :)"
-Natasha, AKA Super Weasel (USA)
"I penpal for the same reason everyone does, don't they? It's an excuse to collect cute paper, stamps and stickers! Seriously though, it's interesting to be asked that, as I'm just starting out in penpalling again after an absence of over 20 years. When I was a kid, I loved receiving something that had been in the hands of another kid from the other side of the world - someone I may have had a lot in common with, or someone who was living a life very different to mine. I loved reading about these real people whose lives weren't in books or on TV. After years of interacting with people on the Internet, I've found myself becoming dissatisfied with how shallow and one-sided friendships can be now. These days making friends with people from all over the world is easy and commonplace. Sure, I can email someone and it arrives instantly, or I can read their Facebook to see what they've been up to, but the magic is gone. The ease and instant gratification seem to have lessened the meaning behind it. That's why I decided to take up penpalling again. I want to have friendships where I respect the person enough, to take the time to choose paper and pen, write out my letter by hand and physically take it to a post box. And it makes me feel honoured to think that someone else has done the same for me."
- Katie, AKA Apartment Cat (Australia)
"I penpal for a few reasons:
a) to keep in touch with old friends who have moved elsewhere
b) to keep in touch with new friends that I've only met through penpalling
c) because I have an addiction to cute stationery
d) I get work delivered to home, so it's nice to get things that aren't work related.
e) to be friends with people with similar interests and viewpoints"
- Rebecca, AKA SullenHearts (UK)
"I pen pal because I enjoy the friendships formed through snail mail. Sometimes it's easier to write down my thoughts and feelings on paper rather than speak of them verbally. I enjoy sharing a little piece of myself with someone else and I enjoy the thrill of getting a return letter and I enjoy sitting down with a cup of tea and reading of my friend's life and share with them their triumphs and struggles. I feel because I put forth the effort to write to someone, it makes me a better friend to those whom I see all the time."
- Tracey, AKA Unicorn Girl (USA)
"Why do I penpal? I find I can organize my thoughts best when I write. I can take my time to formulate sentences and find the right words. I like the slow depth of writing, the unhurried pace of contemplation. Also, I like building friendships with people I wouldn't otherwise meet -- people all over the world! And of course the heart-jumping excitement of finding a special letter just for me in the mailbox. Lord Byron really did say it best: "Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company." Yes, it's pretty special."
- Bonnie, AKA Bonstar (Canada)
"Why do I penpal? This is an interesting question. The truth is I have always loved receiving letters and postcards, when I was child I had some friends who only came to my village on holidays, the rest of the year we wrote each other long letters. I still remember how excited I was when the postman gave me my letters, it was a magical moment. On the other hand, I love stationery things, I become crazy when I visit other countries and I see the beautiful things that they have in their stationery shops (in Spain there isn’t many). For both reasons, and because I live now far from my family and boyfriend (I feel very alone sometimes), when I knew about Postcrossing first and then about LEP, I have decided to return to writing letters and meeting new people from over the world. See you soon!!"
- Verónica, AKA Sailor Ver (Spain)
"I like pen palling as I like to know about people. I am naturally nosey and I like to hear about what you have been up to and the stories you have to tell. I like to know that people do the same things as me, see things like I do and if not also get a whole different perspective on someone else's life. Writing is also very therapeutic. You can get completely lost reading and replying to a letter and being able to share things with people you know will appreciate it and that you will get the same back is very special."
- Emma, AKA Data Girl (UK)
"This is such a good question! And really, there are so many answers. When I was younger, I had a couple penpals here and there, and I loved getting letters in the mail! Then, as I got older, the travel bug hit me, and I am fascinated with new places in the world. I have "met" so many interesting new friends because of penpalling, and I consider these ladies to be friends just the same as the ones I can call on the phone. In fact, there is something more special about getting a letter in the mailbox than picking up the phone to make a call or send a text. I have met only one of my penpals, but I hope in the future that changes. Penpalling is important to me, and I hope to continue for many years to come!"
- Georgette, AKA The Valiant Android (USA)
"I started penpalling when I was 7yo. I grew up on a farm so didn't have much interraction with other kids my age, plus I was super shy and not very good at making friends. My nanna thought writing letters might be a good way for me to establish friendships with other kids around my age. My first penpal was the same age and also lived on a farm. Her name is Karyn, and we are still friends. What I discovered pretty quickly is that writing is my preferred method of communication. It gives me time to think out and clarify what it is I want to say. It also makes me feel as though I'm being listened to, that someone is interested in what I have to say everytime they reply. I'm not being interrupted and I don't have to worry about saying something stupid. I can write about shared interests with people and establish long-lasting friends with those who understand and appreciate how I think, why I like what I like, and how I see the world. Actually, that's my favourite thing about penpalling: Finding kindred spirits. In "real life" they are hard to come by, but in the world of penpalling I've found many. Some of my longest, bestest friends EVER started out as penpals. As someone who is introverted and shy, I'd probably feel incredibly lonely if I didn't have all my wonderful pals."
- Sarah, AKA Mesmer (Australia)
"I started to pen pal when I was fifteen years old. Originally, I started so I could talk to others who were anime/manga fans. Since I lived in a small town that didn't have many anime fans and I wanted to be associated with others who shared my interests. As I got older I fell in love with receiving mail so I expanded outside anime pen pals. Which is good since like much of my original pals, I have mostly outgrown anime. I still pen pal because it's my preferred method of social interaction. I'm not a social butterfly, opting to spend time in small groups or at home rather than going out. So talking to others in letters makes me feel more social than I really am (lame right?) also it's nice to be able to occasionally vent in a letter without judgement."
- Reannon, AKA Sweet Trap (Canada)
"Ever since I can remember I’ve had a thing for stationery, postcards, paper, pens, stickers etc. Doesn’t every little girl? My daughters did but they outgrew it. I never did. I’ve also always loved the thought of getting mail. The anticipation of waiting for the mailman, hearing the mail truck on the next street over and the excitement of finding something delivered to me. Something fun that someone else somewhere around the world took the time to send me. But it’s not just about the goodies and finding things other than junk in the mailbox. I’ve always been a little awkward socially. I have a hard time making friends and just talking to people sometimes. I’m your typical wallflower. The girl sitting in the corner at the party talking to the person she came with and observing all that’s going on around her wishing she had the nerve to participate. Pen paling gives me the chance to participate. Even if “hiding” behind pen and paper. It gives me a way to connect with people in a way I don’t always feel comfortable with in real life. It gives me the chance to meet people I would probably never have come in contact with otherwise... or talked to if I did! It still may take a letter or two for me to “come out of my shell” so hopefully people I’ve written to so far haven’t found me too boring to start out and will give me a chance. So glad I found LEP and hope I can make some lasting friendships along the way!"
- Lynn, AKA Eagle Eyes (USA)
"I enjoy sending and receiving letters because I love to connect and get to know different people and places! There is nothing like coming home and finding a letter from a penpal on the door mat, opening it up (carefully obviously!) and getting a snapshot of people's lives and what they are sharing!"
- Kelly, AKA Miss Dotty (UK)
"I really enjoy getting to know people on a one-to-one basis, and you learn so much pretty quickly about what another person thinks and feels when you communicate through writing. Unlike with verbal communication, I can read and re-read my letters, and I can take my time to think through what I want to say before writing my responses, eliminating some of the awkwardness of the immediacy of conversation. I'm also a little shy and reserved when first meeting people in person, and meeting someone through writing actually eliminates most of the shyness. I do still find those intro letters pretty difficult to write -- kind of like creating a dating profile, only for pen friendship instead of romance. The connection with my penpals definitely makes my life better. Plus, there's such a rush of happiness when you find a letter from a treasured penpal in your mailbox!"
- Maria AKA Mail Wonder Woman (USA)
And you... Why do YOU penpal?!