Penpalling & Letters

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Reasons to start writing letters...

Why do some people decide to start penpalling? What is the reason? Most people I have met face to face along my life are not into letter writing while most people I have never met in person do write letters... It seems that, basically, I know people who are into letter writing and those who are not into it.

But why some people choose to write letters to other people all over the world and others don’t?

There are penpallers who have started writing at a very early age. They started writing letters to family or friends living in a different city or country. Back then, with no Internet and international calls being expensive, letters seemed to be the best way to keep in touch.

When we first start learning a foreign language the contact with native speakers might help us to improve our language skills. I believe that getting in touch with penpals from other countries helped me to develop my knowledge of foreign languages thoroughly. However, I was always interested in getting to know each individual, the person behind a name, an address, a handwriting, letter-papers, an envelope, a stamp... and for sure those penfriendships helped me much to learn other languages different to my native ones.

Do you think that a penpal can become a true friend despite not being able to meet face to face every day? I do believe that it is possible to build a meaningful, honest, true friendship along the years with someone living far away. We surely tell our pals private and intimate stuff which perhaps we don’t share with people we know in person... Do you think it is easier to write about our deepest feelings on a paper than telling it in a loud voice? Probably it is...

Penpalling also gives the possibility to learn characteristics about other cultures and countries. How many interesting facts have you learnt from your penpals during your correspondence? Have you ever exchanged a recipe about a typical dish? What about getting to know special facts about a famous place, customs, traditions? Do you think you would learn them the same way if you would have noticed about those through a different source? Learning them through a friend feels warmer and more special than any other way.

And what about everyday life in a country far away? Have you discovered how different or how similar our lives are? I always found fascinating “listening to” my pals telling about what they usually do. I always ended up discovering that despite being all different and unique we talk about our ups and downs, ideas, dreams, opinions, hopes... and share them with our everyday life, what we like doing, what happened to us lately... Isn’t it wonderful? We even can ask for advice regarding a specific topic and for sure we can discuss it deeply with our pals. I am sure that it helped many times!

There are many reasons why someone might get interested in penpalling and in getting to know people from other places in the world, but most important of all is the friendship which emerges between those two people if both of them are sincere, true, honest...

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


  1. Letters are such an important, and sadly, fading part of our human experience. I had a pen pal growing up (so great!) and when I was teaching at a high school I fashioned a relationship with a local 3rd grade class and we wrote letters back and forth. Students on both sides loved it.

    For the letter writing junkies out there, I urge you to check out this site, which a co-worker directed me to last week knowing my affinity for letter writing -- The creators insist on letter writing--not text or emails. Penpalling has it great advantages, but so too does just getting something off your chest.


  2. hmm, i know this may sound lame or cheesy, but ive often felt im more close to my penpals than my real friends...i am a person who usually finds it hard to express herself through talking (which is why my friends often assume im hiding stuff from them, which isnt true)...on the paper, i can just write whatever's on my mind (not with all my penpals, but still, it is much easier for me to open up that way)
    And another thing i must bring up is, when you talk to your friends about something, esp. for an important matter, and they seem like they are bored or they just say 'aham' and switch the subject to whatever matters to them, feels really disappointing and hurts...with your penpals, it can never be like that..coz with them, you dont get interrupted from start to end, you talk of whatever you may talk about, ask questions, discuss on issues, but you know that you wont witness yawns and eye-roles and the 'me me me' attitude from the other side....I know this is tough to face and we often hate to admit it, but it is a part of the reality with our real friends....unfortunately...

  3. Like Ana above I feel I am often times closer with my pen pals than I am my real friends. There is something so initmate and personal about the act of writing a letter, you can tap more into things you might not say out loud to people on a regular basis.

    I started pen paling when I was young I had pen pals all over the world, England and Ireland were favorites. Sadly still trying to get a pen pal in Ireland...again heh. As I grew up many stopped writing sadly and when the last one stopped I stopped. Than I found my fountain pens...expanded inks..pens..paper. The love was reborn and the letter writing started all over again.