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What to Write in Your First Pen Pal Letter

Pen pals offer a unique chance to build meaningful connections and broaden your horizons, all through the magic of snail mail. I can’t even begin to tell you how many new friendships I’ve created and it all began with starting that first pen pal letter.

But staring down that blank page can be daunting. This guide will equip you with the tools to write a captivating introduction that sparks a lifelong pen pal friendship.

*Note: This post contains affiliated links from which I will earn a small kickback. Thank you for your support!*

first pen pal letter

Still not convinced you want to pen pal? Read Pen Paling — Where to Start & Why It’s So Fun.If you need help finding a pen pal, click here.

Introduce Yourself: The Cornerstone of Your Pen Pal Letter

This might seem obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs to be said. This first letter is all about introducing yourself to your new friend! 

Safe Pen Pal Practices: If you find your first pen pal online, it’s usually custom to chat a little before giving out more personal information (i.e. your address). So in most cases, you will already know the name, age, and country of your new pen pal.

If you found them through other means, your introduction should include your name, age, gender, and your country of origin. 

Here are some ways to start your first letter: 

  • Talk about your hometown: give some fun facts, things you love to do that are local, a little about your culture. 
  • How/Why you want to pen pal: I started because I wanted to connect with other people around the world and use my creative skills while doing it. Why do you?
first pen pal letter

Break the Ice: Making Your Pen Pal Letter Engaging

Friendships thrive on genuine connection, so don’t do the same cookie-cutter first letter for every pen pal. This might give a bad first impression. You want to make each letter you write personal and this definitely goes for the first letter as well. 

Here’s types of topics you can include in your first pen pal letter to get the conversation going: 

  • Share some fun fact or an anecdote: Do you go all out and attend the Renaissance Faire every year? Are you learning a new skill like pottery or rock climbing? Did you once save a baby critter from peril? Share a lighthearted story to reveal your personality and interests.
  • Talk about your Hobbies: Are you a passionate photographer who loves capturing nature’s beauty? Maybe you’re a budding chef who’s been experimenting with new cuisines. Talk about something you love to do in your free time to spark conversation.
  • Discuss Something You’re Currently Enjoying: Is there a book that captivated you and left you wanting more? Maybe there’s a movie you can’t stop thinking about or a new song that’s become your current earworm. Sharing your current interests can be a great conversation starter and a way to find common ground with your pen pal.
  • Talk about What Happened This Past Week: Something as simple as talking about the happenings in your daily life can be a way for your pen pal to relate to you. Maybe you had a bad hair day this week or you people watched during your lunch break and saw some interesting characters. 

Pro Tip! — Don’t overdo it. Don’t ramble on or spill out your whole life story. You can always find out what length of letter your new pen pal will be ok with, but it’s best to keep the first letter about a page or two. You need to let your friendship grow naturally and not throw in a million random facts to the first letter. 

first pen pal letter

Learn About Your Pen Pal: Building a Bridge for Conversation

The magic of pen pals lies in the reciprocal exchange, so don’t write all about yourself. Show genuine interest in your pen pal by including:

  • Open-Ended Questions: Questions that go beyond “yes” or “no” encourage detailed responses and spark a deeper conversation. You could ask about their hobbies or interests, or think about questions that naturally fit into the flow of your letter. Here are some examples:

    • What are some of your favorite things to do in your free time? (You mentioned a few interests you currently have)
    • Do you have any pets? (You just talked about your own pet in your letter)
    • Is there a particular sport or activity you’re really passionate about? (You just talked about your love of painting)
  • Mention Details You Know: If you’ve already talked online, chances are you know a few things about them. Mention what you know and ask more. Here’s an example:

    • I remember you said that you love playing basketball. Do you have a favorite team?
    • You mentioned when we DM’ed that you’re into some fandoms. Which ones do you like best? 
  • Talk about What You Have in Common: Having something in common with your new friend will start fostering your connection and help your friendship grow. Talk about a mutual hobby or interest you both have and ask them questions about it. Here are examples:
    • I’ve only really done simple crochet projects, but I would love to learn more and you sound like a master. What projects have you done recently? 
    • I just found this new playlist on Spotify and I thought of you since we both love Hozier. 

Pro Tip! — Some pen palers prefer to type out a draft before they write so as not to make any mistakes. I prefer to write in pencil when I can because then at least if I do, I can erase it. Sometimes I’ll write over it in pen afterwards.

first pen pal letter

Add a Little More to Your First Pen Pal Letter

In addition to the writing, pen paling is also about being creative! You don’t have to go crazy and include as much as I did in the letter above. You can start small and work your way up to the level you feel comfortable with. 

Maybe in your first pen pal letter you include your favorite tea bag, a few photos, pressed flowers, something homemade, or some crafty extras like washi tape or stickers. 

If you need more ideas look here: 50 Things to Send Your Pen Pal

You could also use a pen pal kit, if you want some new materials to start with. I have pen pal kits in my Etsy Shop. You might also want some new printable stationery!

Get Writing!

By following these tips and adding your own unique flair, you can create a warm welcome that sparks a correspondence that lasts a lifetime. Remember, a strong first impression goes a long way. So grab your favorite pen and stationery, and get ready to embark on this awesome adventure of friendship and discovery all through that first pen pal letter. Happy writing!

Here’s more Pen Pal Posts:

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