Wanted: Friendly postal correspondence with smart, sane, sincere individuals
November 28, 2007 8:22 PM   Subscribe

How do I go about finding a pen pal with whom I have a lot in common, one who will also be loyal in writing letters on a regular basis?

I would simply love to find a few sincere people who would be interested in pursuing friendship through the long-lost art of letter writing. I realize it would be impractical to expect an instant lifelong buddy, but surely there is some way to utilize the great www to locate nice, normal folks who are also inspired to share regular genuine correspondence through the more traditional means of pen and paper.

I've visited several online pen pal sites, and most of them just seem mediocre and somewhat simplistic ("plz write 2 me, i <3 catz, ok thx bai").

So where can an almost-30, happily married, reasonably intelligent female go to find like-minded pen pals who are not:

1) currently (or formerly, for that matter) in prison
2) asking for money
3) looking for romance
4) someone who will write only one or two letters
5) extreme (not too dull, not too dramatic)

Bonus points for creativity and originality, but all suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks so much, everyone!
posted by susiepie to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
if you interested in Japan, or at least in cross culture communication you cn go to Japan-guide.com Link, Iv'e met a couple of nice people there that I have corresponded for over a year.
posted by kanemano at 9:00 PM on November 28, 2007

I've heard good things about the letter exchange but can't vouch for it myself. Also, it's not exactly a penpal thing, but there's always postcardx.
posted by logic vs love at 9:21 PM on November 28, 2007

In the old days, I found several long-term pen-pals via friendship books. I started out with one pen-pal (found from a list at school for a required project), and eventually received one of these FBs in a letter. I signed it, sent it off, and also wrote to someone who'd listed several interestes similar to mine. Time goes on, I receive more FBs, write to an occasional interesting person, etc. I ended up meeting a few of these folks in real life after writing for years, and am still very good friends with two of them some 20 years later. This page seems to have a variety of serious folks in search of pen friends, too.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:22 PM on November 28, 2007

Susie, I can't really answer your question as to where, but I love writing letters (so long as you're talking about honest-to-goodness, pen & paper sort of letters). I've had pen pals that lasted for years, though none for more than a decade, to be honest.

I'm in a happy relationship, financially stable (or at least as stable as a grad student ever is), and enjoy wrestling with questions of philosophy, faith, and politics as well as hearing about interesting day-to-day events (I also can happily avoid ever mentioning either faith or politics). I cook poorly but enjoy it, have exotic pets (starfish and sculpins, oh my!) and a somewhat insane cat and am a teacher and scientist in a wildfire related field.

Totally unsolicited- but if you'd like a correspondent like me, metamail me for my snail mail address. Otherwise, sorry for the prolonged comment and best of luck in your search!
posted by arnicae at 9:32 PM on November 28, 2007

mail me!

Though if you mail me now, you'd probably have to wait until February for a reply because I'm overseas at the moment.

(btw: thanks all mefites that sent me post!! I really really appreciate them. sorry I never really got back to you guys.)
posted by divabat at 9:59 PM on November 28, 2007

I think the only way is to start penpal relationships with a big bunch of people, accepting that many of them will not fit the bill, but hoping that you find some who do relatively quickly.
posted by robcorr at 10:23 PM on November 28, 2007

I am penpal to several people and we write each other on a regular basis. It's really helped me deal with work, and vice-versa I think. Part of the adventure is finding the people. It was hard for me at first, because there are a damn lot of prisoners looking for friends now. Something I did was write to several people who I thought I wanted to hear from, even though they would never (probably) write back. Surprisingly, two did. So I repeated the exercise and got three more. Now, I write about a letter every six or so days and then wait about a month to hear back.
posted by parmanparman at 10:44 PM on November 28, 2007

You might try International Pen Friends at www.ipf.net.au. For a modest fee you'll get fifteen or so addresses and yours will be sent to that many other folks around the world (you can designate desired cuntries) seeking pen friends. Most people you write to or who write to you won't be what you are looking for but then sometimes you hit the jackpot. I have half a dozen bright, articulate pen friends I exchange letters with, some for as long as fifteen years. Good luck and be patient. I believe you'll find what you are looking for through IPF.
posted by thaivagabond at 2:27 AM on November 29, 2007

Oops..that clearly should have been countries. My apologies for the glaring typo.
posted by thaivagabond at 2:28 AM on November 29, 2007

I'd be willing to audition. E-mail me.
posted by JanetLand at 5:33 AM on November 29, 2007

A friend of mine helped start The Modern Letter Project, which will at least open you up to a lot of (hopefully) smart, sane, sincere individuals.
posted by Remy at 7:07 AM on November 29, 2007

Oh such memories I have of International Pen Friends (before my discovery of the internet, constant letter writing from about 1979 to 1994.)

I made the terrible mistake of throwing out my enormous stash of penpal letters a couple of moves ago. I'll unhappily admit to being one of those annoying penpals who just tapered away towards the end, but I had some excellent conversations going for many, many years and one in particular I'd love to find again (Nicky from Mistley Manningtree, are you listening?)

Sorry for the derail, I was just swept back for a minute there.

IPF definitely sounds like a great idea.
posted by h00py at 3:26 AM on November 30, 2007

Email me.

I have an Australian pen pal going on over 20 years. Even if our letters taper off to one or two a year, we still write one another.
posted by cass at 8:21 AM on November 30, 2007

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