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How to find a penpal

Self-isolation and shelter-in-place orders mean, among other things, that wanderlust is at an all-time high. But travelers are born innovators. Many are refusing to let the pandemic crush their bucket lists, flocking to virtual museum tours and "skipping the line" for Disney rides via YouTube.

But what about those of us who travel for connection? Meeting locals and fellow travelers is one of the most rewarding parts of any trip, and right now, it’s also the experience many travelers miss most. The days of mingling and making friends aren’t over, though. All you need is a new pen pal.

It may be a blast from school days past, but the pen pal world is still around. And now, these pen pal-matching platforms are more relevant than ever. All of the platforms have safety guardrails in place to foster high-quality international friendships — some offer texting or video-chat services, while others encourage handwritten notes.

Here are seven pen pal platforms to maintain cross-cultural connection while practicing social distancing:

Compatipal

Compatipal unites like-minded people for digital conversations about everything from football to food. This platform is a newer entry to the pen pal world; it focuses on shorter and more immediate communication (no hand-written notes) and offers instant messaging through the site. Compatipal users can search for people based on interests and location, and also form groups to build digital community around shared interests — business, arts, travel, language learning. The site is free to use and accepts members from anywhere in the world.

Conversation Exchange

Practicing a new language with a native speaker is one of the best ways to build cross-cultural friendships — and Conversation Exchange makes these connections possible, even during a pandemic. The global language-learning platform allows users to choose from over 100 different languages, from English, Mandarin, and Arabic to constructed languages like Esperanto, and even Ancient Greek and Latin. It matches speakers with students who want to build their fluency through voice, video, or writing, and also offers a collection of language resources. Basic membership is free, with the option to go ad-free for a small fee.

International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club

Founded in 2013, Geek Girl Pen Pals connects self-identified nerds through written and digital communications. Despite the name, this 17,000-member community is open to all gender identities, ages, cultures, and backgrounds. Pen pals are matched by age group and interests; you can request international matches, even down to the specific country. Most pen pals communicate with handwritten letters and small packages, although the founders encourage digital communications during the COVID-19 crisis. Beyond writing, volunteers host digital meetups, like a virtual summer camp — blanket fort and friendship bracelets included. The platform is free, although their Patreon supporters get access to exclusive experiences. The next pen pal application deadline is March 31.

Remember the old days of passing notes to your best buddies in history class? If those memories feel nostalgic, we have great news: finding a modern-day penpal is easier than ever. Sending and receiving snail mail is a simple pleasure unlike anything else, and finding a penpal is a great way to enjoy the long-lost art of letter writing. Communicating with a penpal can even have health benefits. Whether you’re looking to connect with a new friend across the globe or just get more involved in your immediate community, read on to find out how to find a penpal.

How to find a penpal

How to Find a Penpal

Why Have a Penpal?

First, what are the benefits of having a penpal? Interestingly enough, research shows that taking the time to hand-write your thoughts can provide real benefits. Those benefits include improved memory and lower levels of anxiety, both of which are important as you enter your golden years. Finding a penpal is also a fun way to meet new people from another city, state, or country, broadening your horizons and maybe even helping you learn a new language. Finally, there’s nothing quite like a hand-written letter to put a smile on your face. For all of these reasons and more, having a penpal can be a true joy.

Finding a Penpal Online

Tech-savvy seniors can check out a few great resources to find a penpal. First, a service called Compatipal unites like-minded people for digital conversations. While Compatipal is an entirely digital platform – meaning no hand-written notes – it connects users instantly, which can be a great way to communicate with a wide variety of different people. To get started, just hop on the Compatipal website to search for people based on interests and location. Of course, if you’d rather go the old-fashioned route and reap the benefits of hand-written letters, PenPal World is an excellent place to start. Founded in 1998, PenPal World is a website that connects millions of global users through its safe, fast matching portal. If you opt for this service, you’ll find a penpal through the website, then transition your conversations to hand-written letters.

Connect with a Penpal Across the World

Are you active on social media? If so, you may want to explore Worldwide Snail Mail Pen Pals, a Facebook community entirely dedicated to penpals. The group is closed, which means any new members have to read and accept safety and conduct rules before joining. The group has grown to include more than 40,000 members, meaning you’re sure to find a great match.

Find a Penpal in Your Community

Of course, you don’t have to use the internet to find a penpal. You can connect with new friends in your immediate community – you just need to get a little creative. First, check to see if your area has any designated letter-writing clubs. To start, you can check this Directory of Letter Writing Societies. If not, you might consider starting your own. To start your own penpal group, reach out to your community by posting flyers or sharing information on social media. Make sure to let locals know that you’re looking for other penpal enthusiasts, and consider sharing details for an upcoming meeting at a local library or other public destination. You’ll have a penpal in no time.

Finding a penpal is a fun, satisfying way to express yourself and get to know new friends. Whether you connect through a website, social media, or in-person event, writing letters is a wonderful way to connect with others.

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Now that I’m an adult, long gone are the days of childhood family vacations and summer camp, and – I dare say – the times of penpals are seemingly pass é . Nowadays, we are more likely to trade emails, send texts or follow each other on social media to stay in touch. But finding a friend with similar hobbies and interests can be the connectivity we all need during this time of social distancing.

How to find a penpal

When I hear the word “penpal,” my mind immediately runs back to one summer in New England, where I swam the days away in the lake with my new friend, Heidi. or was it Holly? It was so long ago that I don’t quite remember her name or how long we corresponded, but what I do recall is making a connection with another only child who also needed a friend.

Of course, with self-quarantine and shelter-in-place restrictions, the likelihood of having a chance encounter with someone is implausible – and dangerous. Let alone the fact that they will want to send you snail mail now and again. For those looking for a penpal, communicating via the world wide web proves to be helpful in finding someone who gets your stamp of approval.

If you are wondering about safety, anyone can refuse communication from those that seem a bit unpalatable, and there are precautions in place for younger users so that they can restrict adult interactions. Penpal services are also explicit with directives about not using their platform for sales or as a dating service. Think about how in-person relationships work. Friends share interests and talk about their lives, and it’s best to consider a penpal in the same light.

So, before you end up going postal by being cooped up at home, here are a few reasons to fill that PO Box up with something other than bills for change.

How to find a penpal

Find a penpal with similar interests

Sites like PenPal World, Global Penfriends and International Pen Friends allow users to create a profile and select options for their writing buddy, such as age, gender and country of choice. From there, users narrow down preferences so that they can pick a friend with similar interests.

Another way to connect with others around the globe is through a penpal Facebook group, such as Worldwide Snail Mail Pen Pals or Penpals From All Over the World. Members post photos of themselves and state their interests and a few facts about themselves, and then other users can choose to connect. or not.

Discover a new part of the world

Of course, besides making connections, learning about a new part of the world is intriguing. Curious about Romania? There’s a penpal for that! Again, connection sites allow you to request a pen friend from a specific region. If you utilize a Facebook group, be sure to note a country in your request.

How to find a penpal

Practice a foreign language

Need to brush up on your German or are in the process of perfecting Spanish? Sites like InterPals and My Language Exchange are designed for connecting those who want to learn each other’s language. It’s a fabulous way to communicate with a native language speaker to get a grasp of a tongue and all its nuances.

Encourage others

Isolation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. After a few days of binge-watching, reading and working from home, things tend to get a bit mundane. For those that are away from friends and family, a remote circumstance is their life, and handwritten letters can serve as encouragement.

Soldiers’ Angels connects civilians with US service people, Write a Prisoner functions so that inmates can commune with non-incarcerated folks and Reach Out America has its Adopt a Senior penpal program so that lonely senior citizens can receive communication. No matter what type of pen friend you want, sometimes focusing on others is all it takes to get us through.

How to find a penpal

So, you’ve recently decided you quite fancy the idea of writing to a pen pal. Great! But where does one find a pen pal these days? Well, luckily, the internet has actually made finding a snail mail friend much easier than it used to be. As a child, I wrote to other kids I met on holiday. As a tween and early teen, I searched on Teletext. Then as a teenager and young adult, I turned my attentions to the pen pal sections in the music magazines I read. However, all of those letter friendships dropped off one way or another and I stopped letter-writing for many years. I now have several pen pals again though, most of whom I found online, and once I started looking, I found out it was a whole lot easier than I expected.

Below are three large websites I came across during my quest, which I personally found useful and hope you might too:

Interpals has been helping people make new friends around the world since 1998! Sign up for free, create a profile, and search the profiles of others to find someone to write to. Messaging is safe due to their on-site inbox, meaning you don’t need to give out personal information until you are ready. Interpals is also a great option if you are learning a language and looking for a language buddy in that country, as it has a search option specifically for that.

PenPal World has also been active since 1998, and prides itself on running a safe platform for people to meet online and find pen friends. It is similar to Interpals in that you sign up, build a profile and search the profiles of others, then communicate within a PenPal World inbox. Safety features the site is proud of include the fact they manually verify every single profile photo, and they enable minors to block all adults. There is a free and paid membership option. On the free version, you can contact and/or reply to 3 members per day; you can contact 50 members per day on the paid version.

Global Penfriends was established in 1995, and is a safe platform that runs in a very similar way to Interpals and PenPal World. It is completely free, and you set up a profile, search for others, and have a secure inbox. Unique to Global Penfriends is their My Post service, which enables members to send snail mail to each other via the internet! You can use this service to send any written correspondence: letters, postcards, birthday cards, invitations, etc.

Take a look at each, and see which suits your needs best. There are also many more if you search online, including niche ones for certain passions. However, these three have so many members from around the world, you are bound to find someone you click with, even if your interests are very unique.

Please remember that you use these sites at your own risk. Stay safe and remain vigilant, but have some fun. Happy writing!

Please note: The comments have been closed on this post as personal details were being shared by individuals. To find a pen pal, please use one of the methods mentioned in the blog post above. Thanks.

As a long-term stationery lover, I adore working for The Pen Company. My childhood saw me carrying around a little red briefcase covered in stickers and full of pens, paper and other such goodies; my adulthood sees me doing pretty much exactly the same!

How to find a penpal

The changes we have all seen over the last year with the arrival of Covid-19 has brought about a renewed enjoyment of hand-writing letters. A renewed appreciation of time, work-life balance, and friendships have seen a revival of the pen-pal.

When I was at school, I dreaded the idea of pen-pals. Being forced to write monthly to a fellow teenager from France, a person I shared no interests, led to a year of humourless correspondence. The ultimate threat at the end of this forced “friendship” was an exchange where I would go and stay, immersing myself in her language and culture. For me, at the time, this was the worst part of all. Fortunately, Chicken Pox saved me! Now, twenty-five years later, my feelings could not be more different. I love travelling, meeting people from other countries and cultures, immersing myself in the unfamiliar is a pleasure I crave. A joy of which lockdown and travel restrictions have deprived me. I love writing. I love pens and paper. Most of all, I love the relaxed schedule of hand-writing a reply – not hurried by an email sitting in my inbox, waiting for a response.

So decided I wanted to start a friendship with a pen-pal (or two). I did some research, and here is a short guide to my findings on how to (safely) start a correspondence with a pen-pal.

I believe in the authentic pen-pal experience, and as such, for me, it must be hand-written letters. I will admit, a maybe a little biased as a stationer! But I’m a stationer born from my lifelong love of pens and paper.

All the platforms I have researched have exceptional safeguarding built-in allowing you confidence in starting correspondence friendships be them international or with someone in a neighbouring county.

How to find a penpal

International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club

Geek Girl Pen Pals – Where Geeks and Snail Mail Collide. Founded in 2013, Geek Girl Pen Pals connects self-identified “nerds” through written and digital communications. Moving past the name, this 17,000-member community is open to all gender identities, ages, cultures, and backgrounds. Pen-pals are matched by age group and interests; you can request international matches, including specifying a country. Most pen pals communicate with hand-writen letters and small packages. The International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club platform is free.

Click here for Geek Girl Pen Pals: Get a Pen Pal – Geek Girl Pen Pals

PenPal World

PenPal World , founded in 1998, connects millions of global users through its safe, fast matching portal. To maintain security, members send their first messags directly through the site — then transition their conversations to hand-written letters. A free membership lets you reach out to up to three members each day. The PenPal World founders review every profile application and respond swiftly to any flagged issues or questionable content.

For more information click here: Welcome to PenPal World

Global Pen Friends

Lesser know Global Pen Friends is a straightforward and welcoming website with a large selection of pen pals from across the globe. Global Pen Friends is for those interested in new friendships, exchanging culture, learning a language, travel and education. Their snail mail members enjoy exchanging Letters, Postcards, Mail-Art and much more! It’s free to join and find pen pals. Click here for more information: https://www.globalpenfriends.com/

Worldwide Snail Mail Pen Pals

Unlike the websites I have listed; this is a Facebook group. It may not have the safeguards built-in, but it is actively moderated, and you can friend potential pen-pals and look at their Facebook for additional reassurances. With over 19,000 members, Worldwide Snail Mail Pen Pals is an active Facebook group that fosters friendships worldwide. Navigating the group is simple: members post calls for pen pals, and those interested respond in the comments. Moderators oversee the interactions to ensure safe and kind responses. You will need a Facebook account to join the group; new members fill out a quick qualifying survey and, once accepted, can post calls for pen pals or respond to other posters at no cost.

For mire information click here: Worldwide Snail Mail Pen Pals

See my blog posts for my Top Tips for starting a friendship with a pen pal and Pen-Pal safety in the times of Covid-19.

Nothing beats the excitement of sending and receiving letters from a new friend via postal mail, but the entire procedure can be rather lengthy. Luckily, DoNotPay can handle most of the work for you! Continue reading our guide to find out how to find pen pals and mail letters online hassle-free.

Where To Find a Snail Mail Pen Pal?

Communicating with people from all around the world via social media is easier, but it’s not as exciting as sending physical letters. Finding a pen pal today is easy. There are many websites, organizations, and online communities dedicated to connecting people through the art of hand-written correspondence.

Some of the most popular ones are:

  1. Worldwide Snail Mail Pen Pals (a private Facebook group)

General advice is not to disclose your home address but get a separate P.O. box instead. Once you get to know your pen pal better and feel confident enough, you can exchange personal mailing addresses.

How To Compose a Letter to Your Pen Pal

Letters to pen pals are typically informal. If you’re writing to someone a lot older than you, you should use semi-formal language, at least in the beginning. While you don’t have to follow any specific structure when writing informal letters, these are the common letter formatting rules that most people follow:

Description

  • Dear + first name of the recipient
  • Hi
  • Hello
  • Hey there

Don’t forget to follow the salutation with a comma

Conclude by asking a few questions about the recipient and thank him or her for reading your letter.

  • Take care
  • Cheers
  • Adios

Find Out How To Label the Envelope Correctly

To address your letter correctly, you should include the following info on the front side of the envelope:

  • The return address in the top-left corner
  • The mailing address in the center

Both the return and the mailing address need to be formatted like this:

  • Name
  • Address (or the P.O. box)
  • City, state, and ZIP code

Once you write the addresses, affix the stamps in the upper right corner of the envelope.

Is Snail Mail Expensive?

The cost of sending a letter via mail depends on mail class and the envelope’s size, weight, and shape.

When sending a regular one-ounce letter via First Class Mail, you will have to pay only $0.55 for the postage, which is affordable. If your letter is larger or heavier or if you choose a different mail class, the postage price will be higher.

Here’s a short overview of the current postage rates:

Price

$0.20 for every additional ounce

$0.20 for every additional ounce

Note that these prices change occasionally. Make sure to check the newest price list before trying to determine the postage price for your letter.

The Main Issue With Snail Mail

While sending letters via snail mail can be exciting, most people get frustrated by how time-consuming the entire procedure can be. Not only do you need to worry about finding the proper envelope and labeling the letter correctly, but you also have to waste time:

  • Trying to determine how many stamps to affix
  • Purchasing the stamps
  • Waiting in a long line queue of the post office

For that reason, many people avoid sending letters and rely on emails instead. If you’d like to avoid all of the above-mentioned problems and send your mail the easy way, you should sign up for DoNotPay.

Register for DoNotPay and Send Letters Online

Communicating with a pen pal should be an enjoyable experience, but the tedious snail mail process usually spoils the fun. DoNotPay has created a nifty product called Send Mail to help you send your letters without having to lose time buying stamps or going to the post office. With us, you can mail letters to pen pals from the comfort of your home.

How to find a penpal

To send mail stress-free, follow these steps:

  • PNG
  • JPG
  • PDF
  • HTML

When you click on Submit , DoNotPay will address the envelope, affix the stamps, and send the letter to the recipient.

How to find a penpal

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How to find a penpal

We could all use a little more connection — especially given the socially-distant year we just had. Our kids, in particular, need a social outlet. It’s vital for their mental health. And when our options for in-person gatherings are limited, we’ve got to think outside the box. Thankfully, we live in an era where you can video chat with family and friends, so it’s almost like they’re right there in the same room. Technology can be wonderful, right? There’s something to be said for old-fashioned connection, though. Handwritten letters may be considered relics now, but let’s be honest: On the rare occasion they show up in the mail, it’s impossible not to feel special. What if we could introduce our kids to this treasured tradition of long ago? Well, you can. Pen pals for kids are a great way to keep connected… even in 2021.

Pen pals have other benefits, too. If you can pair up with those out of state or even internationally, you gain the unique opportunity to connect with the world around you in a more meaningful way. Another cool thing about pen pals? Encouraging your kiddo to exchange letters is an incognito way to sneak in spelling, vocabulary, and grammar practice.

So, now that you know why your kid needs a pen pal — STAT — let’s talk about how to make that happen. Below, we’ll outline five ways to help your kid find a pen pal.

Classic Ways to Find a Pen Pal for Your Kid

Keep it in the family.

This option works well for those with extended family or friends who live out of state. If your kid has a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousins, or friends that live far away, writing letters is a thoughtful way to stay in touch.

Extend a hand (or a pen) to older adults.

If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that life is short. We need to cherish those we love! Not only are older adults at a much higher health risk than much of the population, but the isolation they’ve experienced has also been devastating for their mental health. Many don’t have family, or if they do, their family members are unable to visit. Reach out to a local nursing home or assisted living facility to see if they can help connect you with a resident who could use a pick-me-up. Bonus — with age comes wisdom, and what a privilege it will be for your child to exchange stories with someone who has experienced so much life!

Try a new way of keeping in touch with local friends.

With many schools closed, kids aren’t getting to see friends in person right now. Though technology allows our kids to keep in touch via text and video chat, it might be time to consider giving analog a try. See if you can connect with your child’s teacher or their classmates’ parents to get a pen pal exchange set up. If you homeschool, you can reach out to other homeschool parents to do this.

Get social on social media.

If you’re in any mom groups on social media, these are a great way to find pen pals for your kid. In fact, there are entire groups on Facebook dedicated solely to this purpose. As always, use caution when communicating with strangers online — be sure to vet anyone in contact with your kid.

International Pen Pals

Your child corresponding with an international pen pal is an excellent opportunity to broaden their horizons and enrich their life perspective. The following are a few reputable organizations aimed at connecting kids on a global level:

Other Safe Pen Pal Programs and Ideas

Have your child write to their favorite author.

Now that we’re all spending more time at home, screen-free activities are something on every mom’s radar. It’s all too easy to look up at 5 o’clock and realize the entire family has been staring at our collective screens the entire day. Between virtual school and remote work and using the internet to connect with friends and family, sometimes it’s nice to unplug. Reading is a great way to do that. Helpful hint: Audiobooks pair very well with quiet activities like Legos, puzzles, and coloring.

If your child has a favorite book series, have them try out the handwritten letter thing by reaching out to the author. Need an author’s contact info? You can find it in a few different ways. No. 1, write to the publisher “in care of” the author — information you can usually find on the inside of the book cover or the publisher’s website. Or No. 2, you can check the author’s website or social media for contact information. Granted, the author may not respond. But if they do, it will be a memorable experience for your kiddo.

Send a letter to an astronaut.

Um, hello, how did we not realize this was a thing before?! Talk about an, ahem, out-of-this-world opportunity for kids. Here’s how NASA’s correspondence program works. First, you and your little one should peruse astronaut biographies on NASA’s website. Once they pick out their astronaut pen pal, your child should write their letter and send it to:

NASA/Johnson Space Center

CB/Astronaut Office Houston, TX 77058

In return, your little aspiring astronaut may receive handwritten letters and even autographed photos from NASA’s “space sailors.”

Strike up a friendship with a scientist.

Calling all tiny STEM fans! This incredible program is for you. The mission of Letters to a Pre-Scientist is “to facilitate one-on-one-connections to humanize STEM professionals, demystify STEM career pathways, and inspire all students to explore a future in STEM.” With that aim, the Letters to a Pre-Scientist pen pal program, or LPS, connects fifth- to tenth-grade students with STEM professionals.

Thank a soldier.

You’ve probably heard of pen pal soldier programs, right? Well, Operation Gratitude is the golden standard. All it takes is a simple visit to their website to get registered, after which they’ll email you a letter-writing guide with printable coloring sheets for kids.

What Should a Pen Pal Letter Say

Sometimes there’s so much you want to say in a letter, you don’t know where to begin. The key to writing is to relax and not overthink it. Just pretend you’re chatting with a buddy. To get started, here are a few things you should mention in your letter.

  • Write about what your day or week is usually like. It will help your pen pal relate to you and understand you better.
  • Avoid mentioning the news or general topics. Everything included should relate to you (or them), what you did, or how you’re feeling. This will help you both learn more about each other.
  • Make sure you’re asking your pen pal questions like you would in an in-person conversation.
  • Once you get into a writing flow, it’s hard to pull the brakes, but try your best not to write too much.

Questions to Ask a Penpal

Getting to know someone can take a lifetime, especially a pen pal. So, here are several questions you can use to get to know your pen pal quicker and better.

How to find a penpal

Are you interested in meeting new people, learning a language and practicing your letter-writing skills? If so, then befriending a pen pal could be a great hobby for you. Finding international friends is easy since there are plenty of pen pal sites for adults that allow you to discover writing buddies for free across the globe. You can search for matches by country, or choose a special interest option such as Christian pen pals, soldier pen pals and more.

International Pen Pal Sites

If you are looking to correspond with friends overseas, try Global Friends. This website bills itself as a safe place to meet new pen pals from all over the world. Simply post your pen pal requirements – for example, location, age and gender – and once you find a match, you can exchange addresses and start writing. Members correspond by old-fashioned snail mail or email. Pen Pals Now and Pen Pal World offer a similar service. Registration is free at every site, and you can hook up with friends in more than 70 countries.

Second Language Pen Pal Sites

My Language Exchange unites people who are learning a second language with a native speaker of that language, so if you want to trade letters with someone who can help you develop your language skills, this is the place to go. All you have to do is input your native language, second language, country and, optionally, your age, and the site will match you up with your perfect study partner. Polyglot is another free website for adults to practice their language skills with native speakers.

Special Interest Pen Pal Sites

APenpals.com is a free pen pals service with a twist – you can choose your pen pal by special interest such as jail pen pals, soldier pen pals, senior pen pals, religious pen pals and more. You’ll find the full list of options in the drop-down menu on the sign-up page. As you may guess, Faith Friend is dedicated to matching people who share their Christian faith. Search for matches using the quick-and-easy search facility; then correspond with your new friend online. Snail mailers are welcome, too.

Digital Options

Pen Pal Roulette is a bit quirky because it matches you with a random person from around the world. “Letters” are exchanged digitally through the website’s inbox system, so you don’t have to supply any personal details or an email address. Reddit has its own pen pal sub-forum, which might throw up a few options. Last but not least, you can find pen pals for adults by joining Facebook groups that focus around the specific interests you share. It’s not a dedicated pen pal service, but if you take the initiative and reach out, who knows what kind of friendships you might make?

How to find a penpal

Exchanging email or postal mail with others can be fun and educational. Some people are naturally curious about others, especially if they live far away or come from an unfamiliar culture. Participants share ideas and experiences, and may forge lasting bonds of friendship. However, you should be realistic when seeking a pen pal. Your school may have a letter exchange program in which the teacher screens potential pen pals. Or, you may use social networking sites to find new friends. There are some important guidelines to staying safe while having pen pals.

Searching for a Pen Pal

Step 1

How to find a penpal

Define the broad parameters of your pen-pal search. Then go online to websites such as Interpals or Global Penfriends, where you can find a pen pal. Some websites, including Japan-Guide and Penpals in China, specialize in connecting people of different nations and languages.

Step 2

When seeking pen pals online, select a screen name that does not reveal your actual name. This anonymity helps prevent others from looking up information about you that you may not wish to make public.

Step 3

Indicate, if possible, whether you are seeking a language exchange partner, or simply a casual pen pal with whom you wish to exchange ideas and share experiences. For example, if you are seeking only a certain type of pen pal, clearly defining your requests may discourage unwanted replies to your search.

Step 4

Enter search criteria such as age range, gender, country of origin, and interests. Well-designed pen pal sites show you only entries that match your search criteria.

Step 5

Read carefully the entire profile of each person you consider. Pay close attention to his or her requests, interests, and self introduction. Before sending a message, you should get a feeling for how closely the person matches your own criteria for a pen pal.

Maintaining Appropriate Boundaries

Step 1

Share only general information about yourself and where you live until you get to know your pen pal reasonably well. This may take some time. Your chances of having a safe pen-pal exchange are greater as the correspondence continues and you begin to trust your writing partner.

Step 2

If you use the website to send and receive private or public messages, be sure you are familiar with the site’s privacy settings. These control to whom and how much of your profile information is visible in your profile.

Step 3

Enter only the personal details you are comfortable revealing about yourself when signing up on any social networking site. Most websites allow you to post highly detailed information about yourself, including address, phone numbers, birth date, and relationship status. It is best to keep this information to a minimum.

Step 4

Consider discontinuing your correspondence when someone persistently asks questions about personal topics including your finances, marital status, and other areas of your life that you did not intend to share with your pen pal.

Step 5

Discontinue correspondence and report to authorities any attempt by an adult to solicit inappropriate information from you, or to engage in sexually explicit discussions with a minor.