7 Tips on how to be a successful pen pal
Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to live in days gone by?
I don't mean 10 or even 20 years back, I mean long, long ago in a time far away from what we know today. A time before cars, televisions, telephones and way before technology began to blossom and take over our daily lives.
Now we live in an age where our family and friends are a mere phone call or Face Time away, no matter the miles that separate us from them. We no longer need or have time to communicate or connect with others the way our ancestors did.
A letter outlining the details of a loved one's passing or even the cheerful news of a child's birth was written from the heart and sent by Pony Express perhaps and was quite possibly the only way our ascendants were able to communicate with their friends and relatives that weren't nearby.
Weeks later maybe, but probably more accurately, months, would go by before those letters were delivered to their rightful recipients sharing the news of joy or sorrow.
No matter how slowly or quickly that little piece of handwritten mail would reach its destination, the receivers were always excited to open it and hear the news from their loved ones. It was a connection outside of their own existence that they looked forward to.
Imagine a long, hard day plowing the fields or preparing for the hard winter to come; bellies full from mom's warm homemade bread with freshly churned and creamy butter and accompanied by a plate of piping hot stew. Dad and mom sitting in their rickety rockers in front of a crackling fireplace, kids nestled around them on the floor, antsy with anticipation of dad reading the letter aloud and sharing the news that had been delivered to them from a loving family member or dear friend.
Now imagine a world of computers, cell phones, online gaming and families struggling to find the time to share a meal, let alone write or read letters.
Today, if families do manage to come together for "quality time", it is often interrupted by cell phones ringing, Instagram notifications chiming, televisions blaring, or the pure exhaustion from working 40 plus hours a week to ensure the mortgage is paid and there is food to put on the table.
If your feeling disconnected from family and friends and sometimes just feel alone, setting aside just a few minutes each week might be the answer to bring you back to the life you crave. A life full of meaningful communications with family and friends who love, encourage and inspire you. Sharing your thoughts, dreams, fears, successes and joys in life with those you trust and love is a mighty tool to empower you to be your best you.
Below are 7 tips on how to have a meaningful and successful pen pal relationship.
1.Dedicate a minimum of ten minutes each week to composing a letter, note or card to your pen pal
The first step is to take the first step. Jot down a few quick but meaningful details that have weighed on your mind or heart that week. In all honesty, maybe all your mind or time will allow for is "Hello, I'm thinking about you" on a sticky note or a blank card. If so, address an envelope, slap a stamp on it and put it in your outgoing mail. Your pen pal will appreciate the thought.
However, if you find that you have a little extra time and your heart is guiding you to write and share more, follow it. You will know what you can handle at that moment.
Remember that your pen pal is probably struggling with their own time constraints and just hearing from you, even if just a quick "hello", will mean the world to them, just like it would to you.
2.Don't overwhelm yourself by thinking you need to have fancy stationery or pens before you can write to your pen pal.
When we have the anticipation of a new pen pal, we are often so excited, we feel that we need to run out and buy or order things to make our letter stand out, making our letter even more special for our pen pal.
Don't let those thoughts set you back. Absolutely, a handwritten letter on a unique sheet of stationery or a wax seal to add that special touch are beautiful additions to any card or letter. However, don't let not having those things stand in your way and slow down the process. If you're waiting to order a specialized wax seal until you get paid, or your waiting to go to Hallmark for the perfect card or stationery set, DONT! You may never be able to easily squeeze those tasks into your schedule and once enough time has passed, you may just forget about it altogether.
Often times, life gets so busy, we are trying to work, raise families, grocery shop, pay bills, etc…why add one more thing to your list? Having a pen pal is supposed to be fun, bring a smile to those who participate, not add extra stressors. If having a pen pal becomes work or a chore, you most likely will give it up before you get started.
If you have a note pad or a piece of lined notebook paper available, don't be afraid to use it. Your pen pal will appreciate your written letter or note in any form it comes to them.
3.Follow thru and Consistency
If you have committed to having a pen pal, you must follow through. Having a pen pal is not something to take lightly and just like any relationship, it does require work on your part.
Imagine you sign up for a pen pal and you never hear from them. Maybe you were so excited for that journey to begin and that connection to grow. Maybe you are struggling in life and feel slightly depressed. You felt that having a pen pal would be fun and could lift your spirits and improve your emotional state. Now imagine not hearing from them. Over a short period of time, your anticipation and excitement turn into frustration and could even slide you into a depressive state.
Please, please, please take your new pen pal relationship seriously. We never would want to be the cause of disappointment or hurt to another.
Value your pen pal relationship and remember that each piece of mail you send is brightening your friends' day. The reward will be great
Once you've established a relationship with your pen pal, the two of you can determine how often you write one another. However, please make sure to always stay connected with your pen pals. Even if you can't write for a few weeks, let them know that you haven't forgotten them and will be writing soon. And then make sure you do it.
4.Don't let finances get in the way of having a pen pal
We all have experienced financial struggles sometime in our lives. That said, it doesn't take a lot of money to have a pen pal.
With greeting cards at your local grocery store or Hallmark store costing $5.00 and up, that can get spendy, even for those who aren't financially strapped. However, most areas have a Dollar Tree or Dollar General available and I have to tell you, this is a wonderful resource for ladies who have pen pals. You can purchase two greeting cards or even find a cute little pack of note cards for just a dollar. They have notebooks too, so if you want or need a writing tablet, they have you covered.
Myself, I am a thrifter, and I have to be honest, I find some of the most unique and beautiful greeting cards at my local thrift stores ranging from just .25-.75 cents each.
If your crafty, you can even make a cute little card on construction paper or whatever you have.
Also, keep in mind, having a pen pal does not mean you need to be sending gifts. Although some ladies have the financial freedom to go above and beyond, gifts are never necessary or expected to bring a smile to your pen pals face.
Make your pen pal relationship a priority. We all want to feel like what we are doing is making a difference and that we've done something positive for another person.
When you receive a card or letter from your pen pal, ALWAYS ensure that you are making a group post to recognize and thank your pal for her thoughtfulness.
Keep in mind that your pen pal has taken the time out of her busy life to think about you and send you some positive vibes. There is nothing worse than sending to our pals and never hearing a simple thank you in return.
Having a truly successful pen pal relationship will mean you have to be patient.
Everyone leads busy and stressful lives. We don't know what struggles our pen pal may be going through at any particular moment, so being patient and understanding is key. Knowing that they may not have the opportunity to write back to you immediately is essential in offering some grace to your pen pal. Quite honestly, if it's been a bit since you've heard from your pal, that may be the perfect opportunity to send out another note just to say that you are thinking about her and hope everything is okay.
Also, keep in mind that using the postal service rather than an email account or private messaging will not give us instant gratification. It's not meant to. Having a pen pal gives the excitement and anticipation of something to come. Enjoy that anticipation and jump for joy the day you receive mail from your pen pal.
7.Be yourself and have fun
Most importantly, always be real and true to yourself and to your pen pal. Let your personality shine through. If you are experiencing challenges in life, don't be afraid to share that with your pen pal. She could quite possibly be just the right person to get you through difficult times. Share your life's joys and successes, realizing that your stories could go onto inspire and encourage your pen pal.
And have fun ladies. Having a pen pal is not meant to be a chore. It should be something you look forward to; writing, sending and receiving should bring you the joy and comfort that you desire.