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Email Pen Pals

In the following piece Stephanie Constantina looks at how to email pen pals correctly. This is etiquette for pen pals and where to find new pen pals to email, so helping you to make new email friends locally or internationally.

Email Pen Pals Correctly!

by Stephanie Constantina

Every form of communication has its standards of good and bad practice and no less is true of pen pals communicating with one another. If you do not pay attention to what is acceptable and unacceptable in the pen pals world, you run the risk of annoying or upsetting your new pen friends.

Before we can begin to consider how you can avoid being a pen pal nuisance, the question must be asked: "Where are you going to find potential pen pals?" This is a good question because going to free pen pals sites is often not the best source of good pen pals. This is because free pen pal sites must have some way to meet the costs of their business, and therefore the word 'free' comes under some doubt.

Perhaps such free pen pal sites generate revenue through advertising, or perhaps they will try to sell their free members products and services once they have signed up. Whatever the case, there is always the possibility that such free pen pal sites cannot exercise the controls over their members that paid subscriptions sites usually can. In short, you may be more likely to encounter individuals who are there for the wrong reasons than in the paid subscription pen pals sites.

But turning back to the question of good practice when e-mailing pen pals, let's begin with how to approach a potential new pen pal for the first time. You should really try to adopt a slightly formal, but friendly, almost-businesslike approach, just as if meeting a new business colleague for the first time.

You certainly do not want to come across as over-familiar or in-your-face. Remember that this is like meeting somebody for the first time in the local coffee bar, for example.

Once the initial emails with your new pen pal have been exchanged, you can adopt the usual e-mail structure when dealing with friends. This is usually to begin with a friendly greeting followed by a supportive response to whatever news or information your penpal has revealed in his or her e-mail. Follow this with your own news and finish with a sentence intended to encourage your new friend to reply.

During the first few e-mails to your new pen pal, keep your emails brief to medium length. Someone is more likely to read a longer e-mail once they get to know you a little better. Especially in the early stages of a new friendship, try not to dwell on your own background or life story. Your pen pal may well not want to read a long description of your past successes and failures.

Also avoid controversial subjects. Religion and politics are the usual problematic areas, likely to annoy or upset unless you happen to have exactly the same views. Once you get to know your new pen pals a little better you will gradually find out what their views in such subject areas are.

Unless it is clear from the format in which you signed up that your new pen pal is single and seeking a partner, do not send a photo of yourself, at least in the early stages of the relationship. To do so may be misinterpreted as a romantic overture, which if unexpected may not be welcome.

Later, when your friendship with your new pen pal is better established, you can exchange photographs of things you are interested in. It is important though to always ask first before sending a file attachment. Your pen pal may not be able to handle large file downloads and if you crash his or her e-mail software you are not going to be the favourite person of the day.

Even when you have checked that your pen pal is willing to accept large downloads (most photos qualify as large downloads) always send a warning e-mail first, at least an hour or two before you send the e-mail with the attachment. Note also that it is easy to process a photo into a smaller file size using image processing software. You may find this already exists on your computer, if not such free software is available online -- just carry out a search for "free image processing software" at your favourite search engine.

Just as when speaking to people face-to-face be friendly and courteous when e-mailing pen pals. Never lose your cool over something someone else writes, as you may have misunderstood or taken what is said out of context. If you are upset by something someone says in an email always wait until the next day to reply because then you will have had time to calm down and get some perspective on the issue.

Having email pen pals is a great way to make new friends at home or further afield. Sometimes lifelong friendships and even romances begin in this way, so go out there and start some new pen pal friendships!

Author's Resources

You can browse individual profiles of people seeking pen pals here: Pen pals. Japanese pen pals can be reached here: Japanese pen pals.

Stephanie Constantina is an author at Single Dating.


Use the search box top right to search the international database for potential pen pal friends to get to know. Alternatively, if you would like to browse the dating ads click here. Find dating advice here: Dating Advice Articles.


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