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How to Write Your First Letter to a Pen Pal

by Rosenya Faith

When you're writing to a new pen pal, you don't want to tell him everything there is to know about you all at once -- save some juicy stuff to share in future letters -- but you’ll want to give enough information to suggest whether the two of you are compatible as pen pals and to intrigue him to want to learn more. If you're contacting a pen pal for the first time, make sure you let him know where you found his details and include at least a few questions in your correspondence to encourage reciprocal banter.

All About You

Start by introducing yourself. This is your opportunity to share the most interesting or quirkiest things about you. Tell him about your tap-dancing prowess, your stamp collection that's been 10 years in the making or your mad skills with knitting needles. You can talk about your career or your area of study in school but don’t reveal the particular name of your employer or school. Be chatty and focus on interesting facts rather than formal writing. If you’re concerned about the safety in revealing too much personal information, consider using an alias and a post office box with your pen pal; if he’s worth communicating with, he’ll understand your safety concerns.

Road Map

Paint a picture of your life’s geographical journey, sharing with your new friend where you grew up, how often you moved around and what places you’ve called home along the way. If your pen pal is thousands of miles away, share some information about each place, such as your favorite landmark, what the area is famous for -- like the birthplace of a major film star -- and what infamous teams hail from your area if you're a sports fan. If you’re fond of traveling, share some information about a few of your favorite vacations as well as what getaway spot you can’t wait to visit next.

Family Life

Whether your partner or spouse is the most important relationship in your life or you have a multitude of sisters, brother, cousins and aunts you couldn't live without, give your pen pal a written snapshot of your social life. Talk about the crazy uncle that keeps the family doubled over in laughter every holiday or the kooky cousin who’s always sporting a new hair color -- especially if the latest color she’s sporting is eclectic purple. Introduce your pen pal to your family pets and include a favorite picture of your pup in pigtails or your kitten in Halloween costume.

Moving Forward

Once you have created a sketch of who you are now, you can share some of your hopes and dreams, potential areas of conversation for you and your pen pal to develop over your next several letter exchanges. If you’re currently in school or at the bottom of the career ladder, talk about where you would like to see your career take you some day. If you’re living in a bachelor apartment, talk about the beach house you’d love to own one day or the luxury condo you’re scrounging pennies to afford.

About the Author

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.

Photo Credits

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