Hobbies that calm you down: Pen pals

Hobbies that calm you down: Pen pals

In this post I am going to be talking about a hobby almost as old as the postal service itself (well not exactly but close enough), having and writing to a pen pal.  It seems a bit outdated nowadays what with the internet and stuff, but there are three things you need to know:

  1. Not everyone has access to the internet but almost everyone can go to a post office.
  2. As far as I know (and am concerned) the term pen pal doesn’t have to be restricted to people writing on paper, it could also apply to people who correspond with each other via chat, email or any other means that uses the written word.
  3. Some people (young and old) prefer this old style of communication as a way of connecting with new people over long distances.

First off what is a pen pal? Pen pals are basically people who write to each other regularly, that’s it; pretty simple really.

So how do pen pals work? Well, back ye old days before computers and internet were a thing, people who were interested in becoming pen pals would register their names and P.O. box address in an international magazine or pen pal service or a forum. Then other interested parties could choose to correspond with them by writing a letter and mailing it to the P.O. Box. It works the same way nowadays too except it has expanded to include people on the internet as well.  A good example of email pen pals is the movie, “You’ve got mail.”


To find pen pals on the internet is very easy, all you need to do is type in email pen pals in a search engine and you’ll get an unending list of suggestions, you can even find regular mail pen pals that way. If you want to find them the old fashioned way though, you will have to physically walk around and look for a pen pal service. Post offices can usually help you out.

So why do people have pen pals? The short answer is to create a connection; the long answer is that people do it for all kinds of reasons, to learn new languages, to learn about different cultures and of course to make new friends. While some pen pal friendships only last a short while, others can last for nearly a lifetime, some pen pals even arrange to meet up face to face and some even start serious relationships.

Pen pals are a good way to meet new people without actually meeting them, the fact that it is so impersonal can sometimes be good since if you feel like you don’t get along anymore you can probably break it off more easily (most of the time anyway).

Having a pen pal can be very therapeutic and can help people get over stress and anxiety, especially if you find a likeminded person to talk too. So if you are feeling adventurous try out getting a pen pal, you can deal with your stress better, make a new friend and learn more about the world around you. Just be careful about what you give away to a stranger, get to know them first before you tell them your deep dark secrets.

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