“You’ve been paired!” The email that induces chills, whether they’re new to the IGGPPC or veteran members. It can be terrifying to try to make that first connection. What should you say? How long should you wait for a response? What if you and your pen pal don’t seem to click? Here are some tips for making sure you’re doing your part to keep your relationship at its best!
1. When you send off your first email to your pal, send a lengthy introduction about yourself with proper grammar and capitalization. Make sure to ask questions about your pal as well.
Imagine this: You get paired with a stranger from across the globe, and the first thing they write to you is, “wuts ur addy” – Um, what? I need to know you first! Make sure you write them at least 5 sentences talking about yourself first so they know exactly who they have been paired with. You can use this formula:
- Hi, my name is _______ and I am so glad we have been paired!
- I listed these things as my top 5 geek loves! How about you?
- I live in (this country)! How about you?
- Write back and then we can swap addresses!
2. Be respectful of your pen pal’s time.
Sometimes our lives can get hectic, so make sure to give your pal at least 2 weeks to write back. There’s no need to pepper their inbox with emails daily, so that when they finally get around to checking them they have 10 new messages from a total stranger. If they don’t write back within 2 weeks, follow up with them then. Sometimes emails get caught up in pesky spam folders, so your pen pal just might have missed your email. If it’s been a few weeks and you still haven’t heard from them, you can ask us to try to contact your pal, or head to the Pen Pal Limbo chat in our Discord server to see if anyone else in the same situation and might be a good match for you.
3. Determine how committed of a pen pal you want to be, and be up front about it.
If you’re a student or you work long hours, you might not want to send a letter every week – perhaps only once a month, or perhaps only one time. Make sure you’re honest and up front about the level of commitment you want to put into the relationship, and don’t take it personally if your pen pal doesn’t want a very committed relationship of letter writing – perhaps they just wanted some cool candy or coins from another country! If you were really looking for a very committed pen pal, you can always write to this person once, and then sign up again the next month for a new pal, or head to the Pen Pal Limbo chat. You might have better luck!
4. Don’t be afraid to be honest with your pen pal if they hurt your feelings.
If your pen pal has been ignoring you, sending you short quick responses that don’t make sense, or just plain said something rude, speak up! Open and honest communication is vital to a good relationship. Remember that this is an international pen pal club, so sometimes you might misunderstand one another if one or both of you are communicating in a language that isn’t your primary one. Expressions and tone can vary across cultures as well! So if you think there’s a misunderstanding, simply ask for clarification!
Note: If you believe you are a victim of fraud, have concerns that your pen pal is a phoney/catfish, feel threatened, or that your safety/security has been compromised, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with all the details. If you feel you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or your local emergency hotline. Please see our Safety page for more information.
5. Connect with your pen pal online as well as through snail mail.
Sending mail around the globe can take weeks and sometimes even months to arrive at its destination, so try to reach out to your pal in other ways. Email, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are all good examples of how you can make the connection online, or come hang out together in our Discord! You can also chat up other community members by using #IGGPPC on social media and to find folks hanging discussing all the things they geek out about. The possibilities are limitless!