Hello again everyone! Did you send out a letter of encouragement last week? I sent out a couple actually. One I sent out was to my Brother-in-law who just graduated from college, while normally everyone sends out congratulations cards, I wanted to send him a note of encouragement as he sets out on this new phase of his life. It can be intimidating to suddenly go from student all your life to now being responsible for a job and adult responsibilities.
Again I want to continue our discussion of the past couple of weeks about how to find people to write and become pen pals with. We have talked about writing to people you already know and have talked about finding pen pal want ads, and today I am going to tell you all about a wonderful thing I recently discovered, Pen Pal Websites.
If you have already exhausted that address book and haven't been able to find any pen pal wanted ads that suit you, these websites are sure to fulfill all your pen pal needs. Each site has their own downfalls and benefits so if you want to join one be sure to find the one (or more) that suit you best. The few sites I am going to give you are ones that I have either tried or am considering trying, there are many more out there that I am sure you can find as well.
Of course you have all heard me discussing Pocket Letters. This is a fun way to get creative with a new pen pal. This website allows you to sign up for free and participate in organized swaps or find a new pal on your own and have a private swap. There are a couple things to keep in mind, they don't verify anyone on there and some people bail on their swaps (this has happened to me twice in the past few months), also these pocket letters are like little gifts they take both time to create and a little money for the supplies and goodies you put into them (not to mention the slightly higher cost of shipping). I have however found a wonderful new pen pal through this site (even though we have not exchanged Pocket Letters, we have exchanged handwritten letters).
This is a site I have been looking at but have yet to join. The membership is only $5 and lasts forever. It looks like they have lots of information and ideas for continuing your pen pal letters and they also offer free downloadable stationary. You do however have to purchase the membership kit and wait for it to arrive in the mail before gaining access to all the wonderful benefits of the full site.
This is a great website if you don't want to have to start out connecting online with a friend and also finding friends internationally. You have to fill out a form with interests and where you would like your pen pal to be from, it also costs $35.00. It then takes quite some time to get a list of 14 names and addresses. The nice part is that they take the time to pair you up with other people in your age group and general interests. Your name and address will also go out to several other people. I have gotten my list and sent a couple letters out so far but haven't received one back yet, but my name has popped up on another person's list and we have already exchanged letters several times. It is nice that generally if you are willing to fill out the form and pay the funds, the people are more likely to be serious about becoming a pen pal.
This is another site I have been looking at joining. This one is a little pricey, a one year membership is $36, but they do offer shorter membership (all the way down to one month) so you have the option to join, quickly find a new pen pal and then not renew your membership. The reason I have been eyeing this site is again if you are willing to pay that price, chances are you are taking this hobby seriously and are more likely to continue your pen pal commitments (because lets face it when you agree to become pen pals, you are making a commitment to that person to exchange letters and be that distant friend). I also like the site because it seems fun and would attract people similar to my own personality.
There are many, many more sites out there that you can become a member of to find a dedicated pen pal (I know one that gets mentioned a lot is Postcrossing - the reason I haven't included this in my list is because it is a post card exchange, more focused on getting postcards from different locations and not so much on the content written on those postcards). I hope that if you really want to find a pen pal and have yet to find the right one through the previous means I mentioned that you can find a site like one of these listed that works for you and can connect you with a special pen pal.
Your Mission for the Week: Write to someone you haven't written to before and have found through one of these methods (either someone you already know, have found through and ad or through one of the online pen pal sites). The hope is to either find a new connection with someone you already know or to find a connection with someone new. Hopefully you can both become bonded pen pals, because there is really a special bond between you , whether you ever meet in person or not.