I have a German penpal, Carmen, and when asked what advice she’d give a person who is starting out in penpalling, she said: Be open to (a penpal) from any country and be honest! That’s what I am and it’s amazing how many people I’ve “met” through the last 35 years. Many people think that penpalling is a boring, old-fashioned hobby but they probably never will understand the gift that it is.
And indeed it is a gift for someone to let you into their lives, through a correspondence relationship. In many cases, you may never meet the person face to face (although with Facetime, Skype and other apps, you may get to talk with them. I have found my corresponding relationships go as deep – and sometimes deeper – than my face-to-face relationships. There’s just something about sharing words on a page that can bond you to a person.
Certainly not every penpal is going to share intimate details of their lives with you, but for the ones who do trust you to share, it is indeed a gift.
Keep calm and write on!