In a world where transactional, cold online chats are the norm, taking it back offline or slowing it down makes communication feel more… human. And one truly unique way to start connecting offline is by becoming a pen pal. So your question is probably: How do I find a pen pal in 2022?

Actually, there are tons of ways to find yourself a free pen pal in the modern day world – often it simply depends on what you’re looking for out of the relationship. Read on to discover the best sites for connecting you, as well as traditional means – whether you’re hoping to connect online or offline.

Why do people become pen pals

People become pen pals for all sorts of reasons. Among them are to:

  • Learn a language
  • Improve literacy (e.g. for school kids)
  • Make friends worldwide
  • Learn about other cultures
  • Slow it down and relieve stress
  • Get creative
  • Have more meaningful conversations
  • Collect postcards
  • Feel joy finding postcards in the mailbox

What kind of pen pals are there?

Slippers and a sweater lie on the carpet next to lots of US Post stamps

All pen pals lead their relationships predominantly or exclusively via the written word. Broadly speaking, there are two different types of pen pal:

  • Snail mail: Pen pals who exchange *real* postcards or letters via the postal service.
  • Digital: Pen pals who keep up with each other via email or some other form of digital communication, like WhatsApp, text or Messenger.

You can find out more about what a pen pal is and where it all started here.

Top 3 sites for finding pen pals

So what are the best sites to find a pen pal? Below are the top 5 depending on what kind of pen pal you’d like to be, and what you’re looking for out of it.

1. PenPal.me

Disclaimer: Yes, that’s us! πŸ‘‹ .

PenPal is the top platform for matching members safely and easily. It combines the idea of a traditional snail mail pen pal with a digital one. On PenPal, you are matched with like-minded members worldwide and send postcards online, which are then printed and sent physically in the post by the service. At the same time, you can chat online with your pen pal to deepen the relationship. We’ll go further into how to find a pen pal on the site later, but for now, here are the main advantages of using PenPal to connect.

  • PenPal keeps your address and name private by encrypting it in the backend. That means other pen pals will send you a *real* postcard online, but you will receive it in the post, all securely and privately.
  • It’s just super easy. You personalize a postcard (with your own pictures) and write your message online. But once you click send, the postcard is printed and sent via snail mail to your pen pal. That saves you a trip to the post office and the wild search for your stationery and stamps.
  • Our mission is to be accessible to all, so the service and your account is completely free – you just pay for the postcard itself which includes worldwide delivery, all for just $2.49.

Who’s it for? This platform is great for anyone concerned about their security, or wanting to find a pen pal the snail mail way – but less time-consuming! It’s also perfect for those who want to make *real* friends all over the world.

2. Conversation Exchange

Conversation Exchange is great for people looking to practice their language skills. The site allows you to connect online or choose snail mail and helps you to narrow down a selection of members by filtering for your preferred language.

Who’s it for? This site is ideal for language learners who want to practice their written skills with someone also learning the language – or by taking it in turns to help with your native language skills.

3. Instagram

You probably didn’t know that on Instagram, you can ‘place an ad’ for a PenPal on lots of accounts (or your own) For example give #penpalswantedandneeded a search and you’re sure to find posts specifically designed for people to comment their name, age, interests and where they live. Next, you can reach out to pen pals who could be a good match by DM and get their addresses to start your offline relationship. Another way of doing this is posting a picture on your own account and using the right hashtags to make sure the people see it who you’re wanting to connect with: #penpalswanted #penpalsneeded #findpenpals – these are all great places to start! Just make sure you’ve written clearly that, ‘I want a pen pal.’

Who’s it for?: This method of finding a pen pal is best for people looking to get creative and willing to put the time in. Penpalling on Instagram is often very aesthetically-focused and pen pals here take pride in creating works of art to send in the post.

How to find a penpal the traditional way

Of course, there are ways to find pen pals in a more traditional way, although it may take more searching! Give these a go:

  • Go local: Search for local clubs, or take a look on your local government council to see what kind of initiatives there are.
  • Try asking your school or college what kind of programs exist. They might well have a scheme with a partner school or university abroad. And if they don’t already, why not help them set one up!
  • Do you have a friend or family member who lives far away? Ask for their address and send a letter! Maybe it’s the beginning of a beautiful pen friendship!

How to find a pen pal on PenPal

It’s so easy it hardly needs explaining, but here goes!

  1. Use PenPal Match to connect with a like-minded friend from somewhere in the world. Use the filter settings to make your search as precise as possible. Alternatively, use the PenPal Search function to directly find a username if you know someone on the platform.
  2. Next, click ‘Send a card’. You can take a look at their PenPal profile to give you some ideas on what to talk about if you like. If you share a language in common, feel free to use it – otherwise, if in doubt, use English. If you prefer, you can also write direct messages via the chat function.
  3. Use one of the designs or upload a personal photo. Then write your message and click send. There’s no need to add the address because this will automatically be added in the backend for security purposes.
  4. Once you click send, your postcard will be printed and sent off in the post within 24 hours on working days. Depending on where your Pal lives, they’ll receive the card soon and register it to let you know it arrived! Check out the FAQs for expected snail mail delivery times.

You’ve managed to find a pen pal… But what should you write?

Your main concern now is probably *just* finding the right words. Especially for people new to the world of penpalling, introductions or finding themes can prove difficult. Here are some ideas:

Ways to start your pen pal relationship

Make sure to check out this in-depth article on how to write a pen pal letter here. But if you just need a couple of ideas to get started, keep reading for examples and tips.

Close up of hands writing a letter to a pen pal the person managed to find
  1. With an introduction! Simply tell your new pen pal something about yourself. Here’s how that could look…

Nice to meet you! I’m (your name) and I’m brand new to this pen pal stuff. So I’ll start off by telling you a bit about myself. I’m from (your home town), but I live in (your current town). I adore doing (your interests e.g. travelling, drawing, reading).

  1. Next, you can draw a link from your introduction to them. If you’re on PenPal, you can simply take a look at their profile to get an idea of common interests. If not, try something like this following your introduction…

How about you? Here’s what I imagine our common interests to be, correct me if I’m wrong! Food – because who doesn’t love fooood. Chocolate – okay, that’s also a food, but we can’t be (pen) friends if it isn’t ;). And (an interest or like you have, plus the reason it’s listed).

  1. Close of your letter or postcard and make sure to ask a question to get the conversation started. If you’re using PenPal, you could talk about your personal photo you used to design your postcard, for example, by asking them if they have visited the city depicted. Alternatively, how about something like this…

Tell me a word that describes how people think of you and the word that you think describes you best! Sending thoughts from (your country),

(Your name)

Staying safe as a pen pal

If you are worried about how to stay safe as a pen pal, your best option is going through a service like PenPal, since your address and name will be kept private. This will keep you anonymous.

Some other things you should be wary of are:

  • Sending money: Never send a person money that you only know online – it’s almost certainly a scam.
  • Make sure you trust your pen pal before you share personal details like your name or address.
  • If you’re on a pen pal site, double-check your privacy settings are set to what makes you comfortable.
  • Always supervise kids who are writing to pen pals.

Still struggling to find a pen pal?

Why not write a little note about yourself in the comments and try to get matched right here! Or…

Author

British girl turned German-wannabe- that's me! πŸ‘‹ 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!

38 Comments

  1. I am looking for 1 or 2 penpals to actually write letters to not send postcard or emails back and forth if you are interested email me and we will exchange info

      • Maud A Reply

        Hi Michael, as I’ve mentioned in the comment thread above, emails aren’t public here in the comment section. My suggestion would be linking your PenPal profile here to connect! (It’s completely free to sign up and make your profile!)

        Good luck! πŸ‘

      • Mujuni sempress Reply

        I love one of my best friend to learn each other and committee person
        Respect first all time

      • Balasubramanian Nair Reply

        Friend,
        I am an Indian citizen and am looking for some good friends to share ideas, views and experiences. Interested please get in touch with me.

    • I would also like to send actual letters back and forth. Can you please email me and we can set something up?

      • Maud A Reply

        Hey Ramale and Andrew, just a note that your emails aren’t public in this comment section, as we can’t disclose your privacy for you. My suggestion would be linking your PenPal profile here to connect! (It’s completely free to sign up and make your profile!)

        Hope you both manage to connect! πŸ‘

        • Hi there ! My name is Preston and I’m looking for a pen pal ?? I’m very new to this but I do see others doing it, with great success , and I’d like to try to possibly brighten someone’s day, week, month up, I have a great knack for listening and recommendations possible solutions so if we could chat maybe both have a great day !!!!

          • Maud A

            Hey Preston,
            You should definitely try PenPal then! You can find out how it works here, or sign up for free right here. It’s a great way to start making someone’s say, and make a friend in the process.
            Have fun connecting!
            Maud

    • I’m ready for that can we meet on WhatsApp (Personal information removed by admin)

      • Maud A Reply

        Hey there!
        A quick note to say that we’ve removed your private phone number from this public comment section, in order to keep it secure.
        Check out PenPal.me to make friends safely! You can use the message box function to exchange numbers with members if you prefer it to traditional snail mail!
        Best wishes,
        Maud

  2. Jalia wanyana Reply

    I am looking for a penpal for my son to whom he can writ and a sociate eith

    • Maud A Reply

      Hey Jalia,

      If your son is 13 or older, he could make himself an account on PenPal and get a match with another international member! Then he can write and receive (real printed) postcards.

      If he’s younger, then you could think about creating a joint account with him with full parental guidance and explain in your profile so other members know they’re writing to both of you. Otherwise, you might find his school has a program. πŸ€”

      Hope this helps!
      Maud

  3. Angela Tau William Reply

    My name is Angela and I am from Papua New Guinea.

    I like to write letters again coz the entire world is relying on computers and emails.

    Thank you and look forward to connecting with penpals.

    Regards.

    • Maud A Reply

      Hey Angela,
      Yes, it’s so nice to step back into slower paced communication! Good luck finding the pen pal for you, and make sure to check out PenPal.me to find instant connections, but communicate via real snail mail.
      Have a lovely Wednesday,
      Maud

  4. Katie white Reply

    I want to find someone who likes to write about what’s going on in their life and likes to talk about it to help them get through the tough times no matter what kind of times it is and what it’s about . And that just needs someone who they can talk to without judgement about what they are doing in life at anytime .

    • Maud A Reply

      Hey Katie,
      This is so important! Sometimes, having being able to write about your life helps you see it clearer yourself too. Liz from Flea Market Love Letters has some really interesting thoughts on this too – check out this interview with her.
      All the best!
      Maud

    • Balasubramanian Nair Reply

      Friend,
      I am interested to write about many things with you. Please get in touch.

      • Hello katie.
        my name is phillip sw wales in th uk. I am looking for a lady friend to have chats with and maybe even talk about family and other friend once we have established trust with each other. I have quite a few hobbies which is mostly to do with animals boats gardening growing my own fruit and veg. and planting lovely flowers in my front and back gardens. I also enjoy DIY and carpentry. especially making things from timber. I am married to my to Sharon and h been for the past 26 years. I have two daughters gamma and kaitlynne. an have a stunning granddaughter called carys. all i,m after is a nice genuine friendship and nothing more. and hopefully become friend of the family. the thing is my wife and myself doesn’t share the same interests in life. so I am hoping that maybe we,’ll have similar interests in life. if you are interested in having a chat ? then please feel free to contact me at anytime. and I can promise you I will be absolutely 100% honest about everything. if you would like my phone number I would be willing to let you have it once I know I can trust you. I am very easy going and I am willing to talk about most things in life. I hope you receive this email and have a think about getting back to me.
        My Kindest Regards
        phil. or phillip.

    • Hi Rosemary, I am looking for a nice person that my mother, Brenda could write to… are you still interested in a snail mail pen pal? Thank you, April

      • Maud A Reply

        Hey April,

        If you’re still looking for a new pen pal connection for your mom, make sure to check out PenPal.me to make new friends! Everything runs via snail mail, but it’s a safer way to not openly share your public address, etc. Read more about it here.

        Best wishes,
        Maud

  5. I’m seeking someone to have a conversation with, via post. Last year has been so chaotic, over my own fresh hell I was dealing with. I hope someone shows interest. It’s soothing to describe yourself in words to someone who’s disconnected from the carnage we face in our lives

    • Maud A Reply

      Hey Jude,

      Definitely get yourself on PenPal then! We’ve got a whole community of people looking to exchange cards and make a friend. Find out more here!

      Best wishes,
      Maud

    • Hi Jude, how are you? Did you find anyone to converse with? April

  6. I need penpals for both I and my siblings.
    I will be so happy to have as many as I can

    • Hi Kimberly,
      it’s amazing that you are looking for a pen pal friendship. I recommend you to check out the website penpal.me where you can filter for pen pals aged 56-63. We are sure you will find a penfriend with the same interests!
      Have fun and happy penpalling!
      Vicky

  7. Hey everyone I’m here in western Australia looking for real people to correspond with from anywhere that just want to really talk or just vent … love getting to know people from all walks of life and by the way I can be funny just to make you laugh when needed

    • Maud A Reply

      Hey Vanessa,

      Check out PenPal! Our platform helps you match with people from all over the world based on your interests and preferences, and encourages you to get a relationship going via snail mail postcards or online chats. Check out more info here on the blog.

      Have fun!
      Maud

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