Penpalling & Letters

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

E-mails... pros and cons

Despite it is possible to use e-mails nowadays to do penpalling I have chosen to continue using the postal mail. I might exchange some e-mails between letters or to tell something important or urgent, but these are the only uses I give to e-mails. While they might have some advantanges (of course, depending on personal opinions) there are some disadvantages involving e-mailing as well.

What do I like the less about e-mails?

They aren’t as personal as letters are. Don’t ask me why, but the feeling of getting a letter from a person and an e-mail from the same person is totally different even if it is the same penpal. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like the e-mail this person sent me, but I really prefer to open an envelope, touch the papers and read the beautiful handwriting instead of receiving a text written on the screen of a computer.

Typing on the screen of a computer is not my thing either. I don’t like it all. Don’t know if it is due to my current work happening to be done on a computer... The truth is that after working on this device for hours I don’t feel like going on typing letters on it, not even for a minute. Enough of computers and I better use my hand to write on paper!

It is impossible to touch an e-mail nor smelling them either... Do you feel the same excited when finding a letter in your letterbox and when receiving an e-mail? I don’t doubt that both people were thinking of me as writing takes time (it doesn’t matter if you use a pen or type), but receiving a handwritten letter feels more special.

When receiving an e-mail you might feel an urgency to reply back as soon as possible. It doesn’t mean that you don’t feel like replying to a letter immediately, but this continous exchange of e-mails might end up feeling like an obligation instead writing for fun. Also, e-mails (always shorter than letters by its own nature) start getting shorter and shorter as time goes by, and even rushed. That never happened to me when writing a letter.

Even if a penpal from other country writes an e-mail to you... Do you really feel like this e-mail comes from a place far away? I don’t. Letters really give me the feeling they come from overseas because they have travelled accross the miles. With letters a real feeling of distance exists. It doesn’t occur the same with e-mails.

A few years ago I had some e-mail penpals but with time the e-mail exchange stopped and most of them are gone now. Most penpals I got in touch with at the same time but who agreeded to write letters instead of e-mails still keep in touch nowadays. There is a difference then: in my experience and opinion penfriendships by letter last longer than those by e-mail. It doesn’t mean that some letter pals might stop writing in the end, but generally, letter pals seem to be more faithful than e-mail pals.

No possibilitly to enclose such stuff as postcards, used stamps, stationery, typical details from your country... in e-mails. I really like to enclose some nice stuff sometimes, especially postcards, this is why I would always choose to exchange letters than e-mails.

E-mails have some advantanges over letters (depending on everyone’s personal opinion, of course) and here there are some of them:

If a pal is interested in a very frequent communication, let’s say, daily, the best option is writing e-mails. Except they are lost in the cyberspace, a letter could never arrive so fast as an e-mail does.

To send postal mail you need to spend some money (you need paper, pens, envelopes, stamps...). When e-mailing you can send messages as long as you have access to a computer with an internet connection (which you have to pay, of course, but you also have to weigh up which option suits you the best).

Some people might find more practical to write e-mails instead of letters on pen and paper. It all depends on your convenience to use one way or another...

What do you like the most: letters or e-mails? Which ones you feel more comfortable with? What are your ideas about each of them? If you would like to mention some feel free to do it or in your own website, but please, leave a link so we all can read about them!

If you are looking for advice on penpalling check: "Tips on letter writing"


  1. Hi, I just found your blog through Interpals. I love pen paling and like you, prefer snail mail to e-mails. I do exchange e-mails and with some of my pen pals quite regularly, but only when something is going on in their or my life that needs more urgent answers. I find e-mails to put more pressure than a letter does. Long live snail mail:)

  2. I prefer snail mail and only get in touch with friends via short message/e-mails to let them know that something is on the way incase it gets lost and they think I won't write.

  3. The truth is that although I prefer letters, my two best pen pals write to me via email and I feel very close to them anyway. We met in person (with one of them three times already) and seeing her emails is always great. But it's true that the best is to see the envelope inside the mailbox :)

  4. I am doing a report on the con side of email pen pals otherwise known as correspondence. I prefer snail mail much more than email. It has a different value. With handwritten letters, the person writing has spent his or her time and effort to write it, meaning that he/she thinks about you. I agree with all the other people who commented by saying that snail mail is better :D