It’s no longer just a means of communication. You can create stronger friendships with people from anywhere in the world, than through emails and social media.
I think it’s one of the best slow activities because it makes you sit comfortably for a long time in a set place, indulging in reading or writing your letter.
And it’s also exciting. When you take an envelope out of your mailbox you can’t know what’s written inside. You can’t tell if there’s a little gift for you that will make you even happier.
Introverts, in particular, feel the power of snail mail. There’s unlimited time to process your thoughts before you put them on paper. There’s no stress in speaking the words eye-to-eye. The sheet of paper is your only audience, and it will wait patiently for you.
Everything is slow about snail mail. The process of taking your time to read, write a mental reply, then write a physical reply process is repeated on the other side and you wait excitedly for a reply to come.
Some popular questions people tend to ask when starting to write letters.
What to write to your penpal?
You can get as personal as you want in your letters because only when you open up you can expect another person to do that too.
Don’t pour your heart out from the start, and tell all about yourself in the first letter.
Start correspondence with basic information about you, how old are you, where do you come from, when it is your birthday. You can talk about your current occupation and your hobbies. Hobbies and interests are the main factors when choosing your penpals.
You will most likely choose to write to someone who shares at least a few of your interests. If you’re both avid readers, share your favourite and inspiring books, and ask the other person about theirs.
Common interests open the conversation, and from there everything goes naturally.
You can describe some things you did lately, but don’t turn your letter into a diary. The other person might feel unable to respond if your letter is just a recounting of your last week.
As much as you enjoy talking about yourself, it’s important to show interest in the other person.
Ask your penpal questions! That’s the best way to get to know another person. Answers to these questions might turn into further conversations if you choose to react. Don’t make your letter an interview. 3-5 questions are a decent number per letter.
If you can’t think of any interesting questions to ask, search online, or download my compiled list of questions you can ask your penpal.
You can also…
…tell them a story. Something that has happened in your life, or on a trip.
…share your thoughts on various topics and ask for their opinion about it. It’s a good way to start a deep conversation.
Should you include anything in your letter?
It’s up to you! It can be a teabag, a pressed flower, a brochure or map or postcard of the place where you live. Share a recipe or a list of things that were adding value to you lately, things that inspired you. Share a recommendation of something you think they will like.
Do you have to create mail art?
I started penpaling by writing on a sheet pulled out of my school notebook. Not everyone has access to pretty stationery or need to craft their own decorated paper. And you absolutely don’t have to create mail art if you don’t want to.
What’s written in your letter is the most important thing.
Starting penpaling is not as hard as it seems and if you want to be part of the snail mail community, you can start right away.