We asked our most active pen pals for advice on getting started as a pen pal – and they delivered! They have all the answers on how to become a pen pal.

Our PenPal community experts tackle the problems you’ve told us about, like…

  • How do I know, just from someone’s profile, if they’ll be a good match for me?
  • Say I have a good feeling, how do I even get the conversation started?
  • I got my first postcard! Is it worth carrying on as real pen pals?

Sound like something you might be struggling with too? Discover our community answers below!

P.S. If you don’t know about our free PenPal platform, learn more about how it all works here or…

Community answers on how to become a pen pal

Q1 – How do you know if a pen pal is a good match for you from their profile alone?

A woman on a laptop with a baby on the knee using PenPal platform

You have a choice of PenPal profiles, with usernames and where the person is from. But how do you choose one? 

Here are the community’s top four responses:

I look for multiple cards sent by a user. If they’ve only sent one card, they may still be figuring out whether they enjoy writing. If they’ve sent several, it seems much more likely that they will respond.

Dan

I mainly look at their preferences. Then I can tell that the person has similar tastes to me and big chances are to become penpals.

Maca

A nice smile on their picture.

Elaine

I look for similar interests. Things that make it easy to write an initial postcard and strike up a conversation which can then morph into different topics of conversation in future cards.

daeshii

Q2 – Do you have any good conversation starters for us?

A laptop where a woman is writing a postcard as she becomes a pen pal

The all important question; how do I break the ice and get the conversation started, if I’m the first person to send a postcard to the other?

Here’s the PenPal community’s advice:

I like to ask what their favorite place is to visit in their country since I am always traveling it adds to my places to visit!

Jonathon

– What positive memory do you have from your childhood?

– What’s your favorite food?

– Do you have a favorite show? Fandom? Book series?

– What about a penpal service appeals to you most?

– Are you an introvert or extrovert?

– What are your favorite color, animal, etc.

daeshii

I start with “hi” and something from the other person’s profile I found interesting as to why I’m specifically writing to them. It could be a similar interest (“what do you like to bake?,” “I have cats too,” “Where do you really want to go on vacation?,” where they live (if I’ve been there, if I want to go there), what books they like to read

adixon115

I love this platform, it gives me a great way to connect with other nations and show how my country looks from inside with an eye of a local. And show others that:

” Saudi Arabia isn’t only Sand and Desert”

Travelercrews

Q3 – Tell us about a postcard from a pen pal that really stood out to you.

A postcard featuring a lake held in the hands

So you’ve sent your postcard, and you’ve received one in return, maybe even multiple from different people. Who you connect with and want to build a friendship with is really up to you.

But here’s how your fellow pen pals make the cut:

I recently got a card with a photo from the Year of the Lion lunar festival in Houston TX. I love when people share about something fun they’ve done recently, and photos are always appreciated!

Danforth

Getting a post card that is just full of energy and excitement makes me want to reply immediately!

Jonathon

I really enjoy any postcard that takes the time to tell me about them, where they live, their culture (and anything we might have in common, since that means they looked at my profile). Oh, and I love original art and photos!

daeshii

I love postcards with personalized photos! One person in Australia sent really cool photos of scenery and wildlife and described the photos. It’s really cool to know the story behind the photos.

adixon115

What do you want advice on?

Tell us what you want to know from the community in the comments, or share your own advice for the questions here!

Author

British girl turned German-wannabe- that's me! 👋 If living in Berlin has taught me anything, it's that learning about other cultures is always fun... And short of actually traveling to a country and meeting locals in person, being a pen pal has proved a great way to virtually discover people and places!

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