Penpalling & Letters

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Tips to write a first letter

Do you find difficult writing the first letter to a new penfriend? Some people really enjoy writing first letters, others don't like it at all...
I must confess that I belong to the first group! Why? I really find fascinating telling a future friend about myself and don't find it is that difficult or boring. Also, I never found myself wondering what to write in a first letter (the practice along the years might also help). I think there are plenty of stuff to write about in a first letter, lots of details you can describe and tell and not only about yourself...

The first letter is the key when starting a penfriendship. In this first letter you have the chance to present yourself in a way that your future penpal should think you are a person worth to be known. Don't ruin your only possibility of making a very good impression of yourself by writing an uninteresting, awfully boring text or a letter of a very poor quality.

So, what should be written in a first letter? Here there are some tips which might help you to write a succesful first letter:

- Present yourself. Tell about your name, age, when is your Birthday... but don't be scarce when writing about these as you might lack the core of your presentation. You have to be chatty and develop it in a way it sounds interesting, not a mere formality.

- Tell about the place you come from, where you were born/grew up, were you live now if you moved, or even the places you lived along the years. At this point you can add some facts: relate why the place you were born, the place(s) you live(d) in are famous for... This way your penpal not only gets to know the name of a city somewhere in the world, but why this place is famous or which features are typical of this area.

- Talk about your family. Your husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, children, parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, cousins... Maybe you have a favourite member of the family whom you share most of your adventures and you trust blindly. Perhaps you would like to tell your pal about this special person in your family. Here you also can write about your pets if you have any. After all they are like family members as well.

- Mention about your studies or your work. Maybe you are into the same field and you are interested in discussing with your pal about it in future letters. You can also tell about the places where you studied/worked, talk about anecdotes of those years, how you are living/lived your times as a student or at work.

- Write about what you like doing, your hobbies and your interests. Even if we don't like the same stuff, it is interesting to share this information with your penfriend. Perhaps you discover a new liking you had never heard about before...
I find nice to mention likings in general, but, for instance, if you like music, TV series or movies I recommend you not to write a list of all those singers/bands/TV series/films you like. It is good if you mention about a favourite one and then develop this topic in the next letters. Nevertheless, listings of such stuff are quite boring to read in my opinion.

- Develop some of those likings individually. If you like penpalling, you can write about how you discovered letter writing, how long you have been into it, how you met your first pals, which are your expectations regarding the new penfriendship...
If you are interested in music, mention which kind of music you like the most, where you usually listen to music, at which moment of the day, maybe you even play an instrument and your pal does as well...
If you are into sports do tell if you practice any, which ones are your favourite to practice and the ones you follow, which sportmen/sportwomen you like lots and are a fan of...
If you think a bit you can write every detail about everything you are into. This way your pal will find your letter much more interesting to read, instead getting into listings full of stuff which surely are very boring to go through.

- Name some random stuff you might like, besides your hobbies. Sometimes we discover that another person in the other corner of the world likes rainy days, walking in the woods or your favourite fruit!

- If you feel like it, describe yourself. It is not easy, but probably your future penpal would like to hear about your personality traits and how you think you are.

- Perhaps you would like to advance some of your dreams, ideas, hopes, points of view, opinions or future expectations in your life. Maybe you share some of them and both of you develop these topics in next letter exchanges...

Still there are some other topics you might write about in a first letter to a new penfriend. It is not necessary to write a lot about every little characteristic because you have plenty of letters to develop each of those topics in a more detailed way. However, as I said at the beginning, writing too less is as bad as writing too much! Everything should be done in a reasonable manner and remember that writing a meaningful first letter is in your hand!

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


  1. Thank you for the tips! It came just in time for me as I'll be writing 2 first letters within the next few days. I'll defiantly apply your tips and pass this post around to others I know that are struggling. Thanks again!

  2. Thank you soo much! I belong to the second one and now you give me some idea to write a better first letter!

    Thank you!

  3. Something I find very important when writing a first letter is to also ask questions. This shows your interest in the other person. Just a simple "How about you?" after you've talked about your favourite music or something like that. Questions sometimes make it easier for someone to answer, especially if you've just "met".

  4. thank you very much to the blog
    and learned many things.

  5. I should have read that before... The first introductions letters I wrote were awfully boring... and I didn't get many replys!