finding a pen pal


There are a bunch of free pen pal websites out there to connect you with people across the globe. Many of them match you with random online pen pals to exchange letters or postcards. They focus on the process of creating and collecting snail mail or stamps. Some pen pal websites focus on the relationship between you and your pen pal, but the communication happens mostly online – either via email, chat, or e-cards. We want to introduce you to PenPal.me: a free website to connect you with online pen pals in a physical way.

What are traditional pen friends?

Many people still search for legit pen pals to write letters or postcards to – just as in the old ways. The idea is to decorate letters, postcards, or envelopes in a pretty way and write to each other in beautiful script. While some people also look for real connections and the joy of finding letters and postcards in the mail, many people focus on collecting snail mail and getting snail mail inspirations. Some websites organize swaps for people to collect postcards, letters, and stamps from everywhere. These are some of the sites, you might have heard of already:

  • Geek Girl Pen Pal: you can match with pen pals and exchange handwritten letters or postcards.
  • Swap-bot: an online service that organizes group swaps and a community of creative individuals.
  • Postcrossing: The platform connects you with random pen pals to send a postcard to. However, you usually don’t receive letters back from the same person, but mostly are in contact with different people to collect stationery.

Next to these traditional pen pal websites, a community of free, online pen pals has emerged in recent years. The goal? Foster meaningful conversations and intercultural exchange.

Girl sitting in front of her laptop and laughing

Why online pen pals?

Yes, pen pals can be online. Even though the traditional meaning of a pen pal might be via snail mail, there are also free pen pal websites that maintain the concept of a pen pal friendship. People looking for online pen pals mostly search for someone to talk to. In contrast to pure, physical postcard or letter websites, these sites are not about collecting things, but about the relationship behind it. Writing more honestly about your feelings and expressing what is on your mind is a crucial part of it. Whether via email, e-card, or chatting platform, it’s mainly about the communication efforts that often come short.

Some free websites where you can find online pen pals are:

  • Instagram/Facebook: you will find many sites or groups where you can leave information about yourself and get in contact.
  • Interpals: you can find friends to write with and practice a foreign language.
  • PenPal World: you can set up a profile and find email pen pals around the world.

The problem with online pen pal websites

The problem with many free websites for finding online pen pals is that the idea of a pen pal friendship can fall short. Since you don’t receive physical letters, the feeling of appreciation and the joy of finding a letter in your mailbox gets lost. Additionally, it is easier for scammers to enter such platforms and write meaningless messages. Also, one may experience that people are no longer active on the platform or do not take communication as seriously as they do with “real” pen pals.

PenPal: the best of traditional and online pen pals

It might be an awkward advertisement to talk about our own page, but we developed penpal.me with the idea of creating the best pen pal website experience. The concept: maintaining physical, meaningful communication via snail mail, but making it safe and easy to connect online.

PenPal matches you online with other pen pals across the world based on your interests, age, country, or languages you want to learn. If you like each other, you become pen pals and have the possibility to reach out with a postcard. But the cool thing is: you don’t need to go to a post office to send your card. You can easily create your postcard online with your own pictures or designs, and then the postcard is sent physically by us to your pen pal’s home. The customized postcard offers the possibility for honest communication, as you have space for up to 3000 characters. Read more about how PenPal works here.

What’s unique at PenPal: you never have to give out your private address! It is encrypted at all times and will never be shared with the other person unless you want it. Read more about PenPal’s privacy measures here.

Picture of a laptop showing an online pen pals website called "PenPal"

Is PenPal free to use?

PenPal is a free website and doesn’t cost anything for you to register. You can easily create a profile and look for your match. If you want to send a postcard, you pay $2.49 including shipment – to everywhere in the world. In case you don’t want to spend money, you can also chat with your PenPal via messenger. It should be mentioned that the messenger is optional, though. You can enable and disable it according to your preferences.

If you are still unsure about getting a penfriend, have a look at our 10 reasons for a pen pal.

It is as clear as crystal that people like to be surrounded by good friends during their life. But sometimes, it is not as easy as falling off a log. Digitalization lets us lose focus on things that matter, which makes a Facebook or Instagram friend not really meaningful anymore. Plus, we often hang out with toxic friends without noticing that they are not good for our mental health. Therefore, it totally makes sense to find a friend with the same mindset as you – for example, by getting a pen pal. Read along to find out 10 benefits of a pen pal.

Aren’t pen pals only a thing from the past?

Actually, they are not. Pen paling sets you into a state of nostalgia to remember the days in which people needed to write letters to stay in touch. There are still many people who want a penfriend from the other side of the world. All that makes pen paling becoming more popular again.

Why that is? With the development of social media, many people don’t feel connected anymore and the idea of writing is dwindling as only quick messages are sent. Having a pen pal friendship can counteract this trend.

A person is holding a postcard from her pen pal in New York in her hand

Why do people want pen pals?

There are many reasons why you should get a pen pal. Apart from the one mentioned above, we’ve summarized 10 benefits of a pen pal to answer your question.

1. Make real connections

Writing creates connections. You’ll be able to write someone who lives in a far off land, intriguing both of you to connect on a more meaningful basis. Instead of making small talk or sending each other short messages, you can reflect on your life, your week, your problems, and the things that make you happy. And you can talk about these thoughts with your pen pal.

2. Feed your brain

Writing and sending letters on a regular basis is great food for your brain. It can train your reading and writing skills by improving grammar, expression, and vocabulary. You automatically pay more attention to punctuation than you do with normal text messages. Plus, writing and processing the content can even boost your brain’s cognitive skills and function.

3. Make a foreign language your strength

Learning a foreign language is a bit like losing weight: you know how it works, but it needs focus and dedication. While writing and reading are already brain boosters, learning a foreign language and practicing it with your new-found international pen pal is a great way to develop linguistically. You get to see how native speakers use their language, learn new words and apply what you have already learned theoretically in class – just with a higher level of fun.

4. Give your creativity a push

Nowadays, our creative mind is not needed that often anymore. Through industrial and modern processes, thinking outside the box or putting simple thoughts into rainbows is becoming obsolete. But writing to a pen pal can restore creativity. This can be done through the creative writing process itself, but decorating pretty envelopes, letters or postcards can also be a lot of fun. At PenPal, you can get creative by using your own photos and designs for your postcards. So already start thinking about which motive to send next to your pen pal.

5. Become a world traveler without traveling

Is there a country you’ve always wanted to see or learn more about? Then now you have the chance to do so – no matter how far away it is. With a pen pal in foreign lands, you’ll learn about other cultures and traditions, and even get self-photographed postcards to hang on your wall (at least if you do it with PenPal). Sounds adventurous? It is! So explore other countries and make full use of the benefits of having an international pen pal.

Man surfing on the internet to look for a pen pal on the PenPal website

6. Share your most exotic interest with your pen pal

Are you into scutelliphily, yo-yoing, or trainspotting? Great! Cause at PenPal we have over 390 interests that match almost any hobbies you can think of (and if not, we’re happy to add yours too). While it may be difficult to find someone near you, at PenPal there are always like-minded people to interact with. Just add your interest as a tag in your interests section, and off you go to find your perfect soulmate!

7. Become as joyful as a child

Realizing there’s not only bills in your postbox, but also carefully handwritten mail, is a feeling of pure joy. And if you are not familiar with that sensation or don’t know what I am talking about, it’s been far too long. All the more reason to re-experience penpalling. I had it the other day after coming home from vacation that I found a bunch of postcards from my pen pals in the postbox. I got incredibly excited about it, like a child. And who wouldn’t want to witness those carefree moments again sometimes …

8. Understand the real meaning behind snaiiillll mail 🐌🐌​🐌​🐌​

​Writing letters and postcards helps slow down a bit. Communication takes longer, and that’s a good thing. Children and teens growing up in this age are already used to the fast pace of messaging and texting and don’t even know how it was in the first place. Sometimes, it’s good to revive the traditional ways of communication and get back to the basics. Also, taking time to write a letter can be a form of deceleration. While some people like to meditate or color mandalas, others enjoy putting thoughts down on paper. This way of slow living is definitely one of the most striking advantages of having a pen pal.

9. A postcard a day keeps the doctor away

Studies have shown that happiness and feelings of loneliness are closely related to being surrounded by friends. And the feelings of loneliness have steadily increased during the pandemic. Moreover, social media often leaves people alone and depressed, even though many of the things shown there don’t even correspond to real life. And while a pen pal is not always located next to you, it can help you to talk to someone who experiences the same struggles or fears in life, without judgement. Plus, sometimes it is easier to speak to someone far away and more anonymous than someone in your close surrounding.

10. Set new perspectives

Writing letters is not only a way to learn about other cultures and countries, but also to gain a new perspective. Especially when you write with someone who lives in a completely different part of the world, where the political situation or living conditions are different from yours. For example, there are pen pal programs with prisoners or social pen pal programs for the elderly to combat isolation. This pen pal friendship can benefit you in another way: It can remind you of what you have and make you realize what matters.

Are you convinced of the benefits of a pen pal?

In our opinion, the benefits of having a pen pal are undeniable. We hope this article gives you enough reason to realize as well that penpalling is a real hoot. If you have anything that you think is missing at PenPal, just let us know here. And now, get the ball rolling, create your profile, and find the friend of your life.