Hello all! How are you? Did you find a new pen pal to send a letter to and did you send that letter? I sent a letter to one of the names given to me by the International Pen Friends website I told you about last week. If you haven't sent out that new letter, hopefully I can help you through any nerves you may have today!
Yup, today I am going to chat at you a little bit about that ever important first letter you send to a new pen pal. If you are anything like me, it is insanely stressful to get to know someone new. There are all kinds of hesitations that can throw road blocks in your path of potentially finding a life long friend and pen pal. So here are a few tips to get you through that first letter.
Most important, introduce yourself and how you got their name and address (it will add a little comfort to them knowing exactly how you came upon this information). In your introduction you might want to tell them a little bit about yourself, like your name, where you live, how old you are (or rough age range), etc. This information will give them a brief over view of you while they continue to read the letter.
Family & Friends
You might also want to introduce significant players in your life (you can always leave out names and ages for security reasons until you have a friendship established). The reason for this is that these are the people you will most likely be talking about in your letters (besides yourself of course) and it would be good for your new pen pal to know at the beginning.
Interests & Hobbies
Talk about some of your favorite hobbies and interests, because this is the meat of what you will build your pen pal relationship and hopefully future friendship on. No need to go completely overboard, keep it between 2 and 4 of your favorites, over time you can learn even more about each other.
The first letter can tend to get a little long as it is you first introduction, but if it gets too long your new potential pen pal may get bored or not have the time to read that long of a letter. Unless you have otherwise agreed to write long letters, try to keep it to 2 or so regular sized pages or 3-4 smaller stationary sized pages. If throughout your pen pal relationship you find that you both enjoy the longer letters than go for it, but for the first one keep it a little under control.
Pen pals are a friendship thing, on paper of course but still an informal, casual friendship. No need to break out the fancy formal wording of an invitation or a business letter. You want your new pen pal to get to know you, so write like you would speak to your friends. This not only goes for your wording but also your stationary and pen choices, if you are a fun, quirky person, you may not want to choose a monogramed ivory paper for your first letter, granted you might not want to go way to the other direction either, but stick to you and much as you can.
If you want to create a relationship with your new pen pal, you need to get to know them too. The only way to do that is to ask questions. Ask them about where they grew up, where they live, or about what they love about where they live. If you are a book reader ask them about any books they recently read. With the current shift in season, ask them about their favorite things about it, or any favorite traditions they have. If you don't ask them questions and pull them into the letter, there is a chance you may not get a response.
~ Make sure your letter is legible, it doesn't need to be perfect but your pen pal needs to be able to read it.
~ Put your address at the end of the letter. Sometimes mail gets beat up and that address can get smudged, scratched or covered, so best to put it inside so your new pen pal knows where to send a response letter.
~ Be patient. Some people are really fast at responding and others sometimes are busy or like to take their time responding. I have had some pen pals take over 2 months to respond.
~ Also be prepared for disappointment. The risk of writing to someone completely new to you is that you may never get a response. You may also get a letter back from the person stating they would rather not become pen pals, this could be for a multitude of reasons (ie: too much in their life, maybe they don't share the same interests, etc.).
I hope these tips help you along in sending that first letter to a potential new pen pal!
Your Mission for the Week: If you haven't sent out that letter from last week, do so now. I hope you have the courage and now the tools to send out your first pen pal letter. Pen pals can become such amazing friends and you never know when you find your new friend!