Beginners guide to safely finding and writing to a pen pal.
The changes we have all seen over the last year with the arrival of Covid-19 has brought about a renewed enjoyment of hand-writing letters. A renewed appreciation of time, work-life balance, and friendships have seen a revival of the pen-pal.
When I was at school, I dreaded the idea of pen-pals. Being forced to write monthly to a fellow teenager from France, a person I shared no interests, led to a year of humourless correspondence. The ultimate threat at the end of this forced "friendship" was an exchange where I would go and stay, immersing myself in her language and culture. For me, at the time, this was the worst part of all. Fortunately, Chicken Pox saved me! Now, twenty-five years later, my feelings could not be more different. I love travelling, meeting people from other countries and cultures, immersing myself in the unfamiliar is a pleasure I crave. A joy of which lockdown and travel restrictions have deprived me. I love writing. I love pens and paper. Most of all, I love the relaxed schedule of hand-writing a reply - not hurried by an email sitting in my inbox, waiting for a response.
So decided I wanted to start a friendship with a pen-pal (or two). I did some research, and here is a short guide to my findings on how to (safely) start a correspondence with a pen-pal.
I believe in the authentic pen-pal experience, and as such, for me, it must be hand-written letters. I will admit, a maybe a little biased as a stationer! But I'm a stationer born from my lifelong love of pens and paper.
All the platforms I have researched have exceptional safeguarding built-in allowing you confidence in starting correspondence friendships be them international or with someone in a neighbouring county.
International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club
Geek Girl Pen Pals – Where Geeks and Snail Mail Collide. Founded in 2013, Geek Girl Pen Pals connects self-identified "nerds" through written and digital communications. Moving past the name, this 17,000-member community is open to all gender identities, ages, cultures, and backgrounds. Pen-pals are matched by age group and interests; you can request international matches, including specifying a country. Most pen pals communicate with hand-writen letters and small packages. The International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club platform is free.
Click here for Geek Girl Pen Pals: Get a Pen Pal – Geek Girl Pen Pals
PenPal World, founded in 1998, connects millions of global users through its safe, fast matching portal. To maintain security, members send their first messags directly through the site — then transition their conversations to hand-written letters. A free membership lets you reach out to up to three members each day. The PenPal World founders review every profile application and respond swiftly to any flagged issues or questionable content.
For more information click here: Welcome to PenPal World
Global Pen Friends
Lesser know Global Pen Friends is a straightforward and welcoming website with a large selection of pen pals from across the globe. Global Pen Friends is for those interested in new friendships, exchanging culture, learning a language, travel and education. Their snail mail members enjoy exchanging Letters, Postcards, Mail-Art and much more! It's free to join and find pen pals. Click here for more information: https://www.globalpenfriends.com/
Worldwide Snail Mail Pen Pals
Unlike the websites I have listed; this is a Facebook group. It may not have the safeguards built-in, but it is actively moderated, and you can friend potential pen-pals and look at their Facebook for additional reassurances. With over 19,000 members, Worldwide Snail Mail Pen Pals is an active Facebook group that fosters friendships worldwide. Navigating the group is simple: members post calls for pen pals, and those interested respond in the comments. Moderators oversee the interactions to ensure safe and kind responses. You will need a Facebook account to join the group; new members fill out a quick qualifying survey and, once accepted, can post calls for pen pals or respond to other posters at no cost.
For mire information click here: Worldwide Snail Mail Pen Pals
See my blog posts for my Top Tips for starting a friendship with a pen pal and Pen-Pal safety in the times of Covid-19.