Penpal friends generally find one another through a service which can be either online or in a magazine. They list their interests, a brief description of themselves which includes gender and age and they are either matched with someone they will be compatible with or they choose their own pen friend.
Some penpal matching services are based on common goals or beliefs. The people joining want to find a friend they can write to who sees the world the same way they do.
Before the advent of the internet many people worldwide would instant message each other in an entirely different way. They were penpal friends and although they shared much of the same information we do today with online buddies, their method of communication was significantly slower.
Penpals can live thousands of miles apart and begin a dialogue which will include everything from family members to the political systems of their countries.
Decades ago penpal friends were all the rage with teenagers. They would find a friend somewhere else in the world and then spend hours writing handwritten letters and mailing them via the post office to one another. In some cases it took weeks to get a reply but a big part of the experience was awaiting the letters.
Many penpals would include photographs of themselves so that the other person could get a better sense of who they were corresponding with. Gifts would even be exchanged even though the two people had never met one another. Their connection was real though and they enjoyed it very much.
It wasn’t uncommon for people who wrote one another back and forth to continue the practice for years sharing milestones such as birthdays, graduations and even marriages.
Penpals often care deeply for one another they laugh and cry with them. Share in the best moments of life and comfort them through the worst. The procedures may have changed over time, but pen friends still exist and people from one corner of the globe can meet and develop a friendship with someone thousands of miles away all through the use of the written word.
Many penpal friends would talk on the telephone and eventually meet forging lifelong friendships. Today the experience is more high tech and the letters can be sent within seconds via email. It’s easy for someone in Europe to send a note to someone in North America and receive a reply back within moments. The information sharing is quicker and although the letters are typed on a keyboard and read across a screen, the emotions born from that are real.