Our Pen Pal Registration/Pairing Disclaimer:
Once we have put you in contact with a new pen pal we cannot be held responsible for the outcome of any contact of any kind made between you. For those of you who have been left in pen pal limbo, please either sign up for the next open round or reach out on social media with #IGGPPC to say you are looking for a pen pal. Please note that for safety reasons we do not pair anyone under the age of 17. By confirming you have read this disclaimer you are acknowledging that you have permission to join this service.
We do hope you use common sense and if you decide you feel uncomfortable giving your address out, don’t. We wouldn’t want you to do anything you don’t feel 100% about. Your participation is totally voluntary.
If you are sending gifts with your letter remember to check that there are no international restrictions on posting said item.
PLEASE NOTE: Signing up for a pen pal is a one-time match and does not guarantee a perfect pen pal pairing, though we do try to set you both up for success. To learn more about how to have a good pen pal experience, check out these guides:
- Learn More About Houses
- Tips For Getting A Good Pen Pal
- 5 Tips For Making A Good Connection With Your Pen Pal
Still unsure? Check out our Safety Page!
Pen Pal FAQs
Our current pen pal pairing schedule allows for you to sign up for a pen pal at any time when you come to our site, except in July and December, when we close the pairing rounds for IGGPPCamp prep and Christmas.
This means that you don’t need to remember when to come sign up and that you can refer your friends to come anytime!
We refer to each month’s pen pal sign-ups as a round. Rounds run the length of the month and pairs are sent at the start of the following month. We give each round a theme as a prompt not only for your geek loves but also to spark conversation through the month.
As each round closes we begin pairing pen pals up on the 1st of the following month. Pairing emails usually go out from the 1st to the 12th of the month.
For example, if you sign up on October 1, you will receive your pairing between November 1 – 12. If you sign up on October 31, you will also receive your pairing between November 1 – 12.
It also means that waiting for your match may take a little time, as each month’s pairs are sent out in the first two weeks of the following month. For example, if you sign up on October 1, you will receive your pairing between November 1 – 12. If you sign up on October 31, you will also receive your pairing between November 1 – 12.
We have four age groups, 17-21, 22-29, 30-44, and 45+. We will always pair you with someone in your age group. These age groups are also known as Houses. Find out more about the Houses here.
We attempt to pair people who have similar interests (at least 1 matching interest, but as many as we can find.) If you want to be specifically paired with someone in a specific country, or outside of your country, it’s a good idea to list that as 1 of your geek loves. (Wish to be paired with someone in France, etc.)
Back in 2016 we added in a ‘non-binary’ gender option to our sign up forms having previously only female and male options. We want IGGPPC to be inclusive to everyone and we never want our members to feel alienated, so adding in the non-binary option was as important for us as for the people who have requested it.
By adding non-binary in we had to make a compromise in other areas of the registration form so we were still able to pair people up effectively. We analysed the data from the previous years and the number of people who used each of the original pairing preference options was as follows:
- 40% – “Someone of the same gender” (NB everyone, bar one person, who chose this option was female)
- 53% – “Anyone! I’m not fussy”
- 7% – “Someone of the opposite gender”
As you can see the “match with opposite gender” was the least popular choice so with that in mind we scrapped that option and changed the wording of the remaining two. The current options reflect the most popular choices and are now:
- “I am female and want to be paired with another female”
- “I am OK being paired with anyone”
These options have been working very well since then and make the pairing process easier for us as well as allowing us to include a third choice on gender and keep an option on pairing preferences.
Yup! Your ‘Top 5 Geek Loves’ are how we match you with a pen pal, or how you might find a friend on the site! These are things you “geek out” about the most–so you might be a tea-drinking, knitting, Sherlock-loving sort, or you might nerd out about photography, Harry Potter, and healthy eating! Really, it’s whatever you want to include to find a nerdy pen pal match!
If for any reason your new pal does not respond, you can go off into the wilderness and try to snag a pen pal via our Pen Pals forum. If that doesn’t work, sign up again the next month. It isn’t uncommon to it to take a couple of tries to find that perfect match.
Unfortunately, there is no way for us to control someone’s willingness to follow through when they sign up. Want more info? Read a blog Stewie wrote of “5 tips for making a good connection with your pen pal”
As a rule, we will only pair you with 1 per round but you can sign up for as many rounds as you want. If you sign up multiple times for one round we will delete all but one submission before beginning the process (checking for duplicates takes place each month before we begin pairing)
BUT…on the form we do as if you would be willing to be matched more than once, as sometimes we have an odd number of sign-ups and don’t want to leave iggles hanging! So sometimes you will end getting 2 penpals instead of one!
Right now, we currently pair English speaking penpals – BUT – if you wish to be paired with someone within your country or a country with a specific language you wish to write to your pen pal in, give us a heads up at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see what we can do.
Right now, we have 2 other languages supported via Facebook – French and Spanish. If you wish to get a pen pal in either of these languages, feel free to post on these facebook pages and we will see what they can do!
Sorry kid, pen pal sign-ups are reserved for Iggles age 13 and up.
You can, but most if not all of the people who sign for our club are expecting a pen and paper pen pal, so be warned that your match might be slightly miffed at the prospect of not getting handwritten letters. But we’re sure if you’re nice about it, they will want to write to you just the same.
If you are stuck for ideas of what to write, our community is always willing to help. Tweet #IGGPPC to ask for suggestions. Tell your pal about your job, your house, your pets, your significant other, your favourite band, or your Top 5 Geek Loves.
Better yet, why not add a little Doctor Who decoupage, throw on some Pokemon stickers, or do a little Star Wars doodle?
Or even better than that send some local candy, because candy! The list of things you could do is endless! Have fun with it and create something wondrous! Here are some more ideas.
- A local recipe
- Hello Kitty earrings
- A coaster from your favourite pub
- Pokemon cards
- Some delicious local candy
- Temporary Tattoos
- A business card from your favourite local shop
- Swag from your favourite geek love
- Photos of local historic landmarks
- Lisa Frank Stickers
- A postcard from your hometown
- Sanrio stationery
- Art or drawings of your favourite geek love
- A Harry Potter keychain
- Photos of your cat
- Local currency/coins (something small but neat-o)
Aside from anything you aren’t allowed to mail normally, (like liquids, live animals or hazardous materials) we also ask that you not send religious or political propaganda, business solicitations, and offensive or pornographic material. Really we shouldn’t have to tell you this, but you never know.
Don’t go crazy now! You are not required to send a package, but some people might want to. We think a smart cap would be approximately ₤10 GBP or $15 USD (do whatever fancy kind of money conversion you have to on that!)
SCORE! Remember to take photos of your letter or package and post it to our specially dedicated Mail Call thread or tag us on Instagram or Twitter!