Having a pen pal is a great way to meet new people and have fun while writing. (Photo by Camelia Heins)
Fountain Valley High School

Opinion: Penpals are a creative outlet and unique way to make friends

Penpal writing is a great way to meet new people around the world. For many teenagers, it can be used as a creative outlet to express and share their art with others.

How to find a penpal:

One way to find a penpal is through Instagram. If you search under the penpal hashtags, you can find accounts dedicated to posting their penpal letters online. Not only are these accounts great for sources of inspiration, but many of them have posts to help you find a penpal. Leave a comment with a brief introduction of yourself on any “Find a penpal” posts or DM other people who left comments. Get to know your penpal before giving them personal information and penpalling.

Another way to find a penpal is by signing up for penpal websites such as Global Pen Friends, Pen Pal World and Interpals. However, you should be cautious on these online websites. Finding a penpal might take a while, but don’t lose patience.

Penpal writing doesn’t just have to be with someone you don’t know. You can also penpal with friends or family. You could even ask your language teacher if they’re interested in starting a penpal program with countries that speak the language being taught. It’s a great way to meet new people and improve your fluency in another language.

What you need:

You need paper, pens or pencils, envelopes and stamps. Here are some optional materials you can add to your letter:

  • Stickers
  • Washi tape
  • Colored markers
  • Stickers
  • Post-it notes
  • Stationery
  • Postcards
  • Pictures (if you feel comfortable)
Some commonly used penpal supplies are stationary, colorful pens, envelopes and decorative tape. (Photo by Camelia Heins)

There are three types of penpal writing. “Snail mail” is the traditional way of penpal writing through paper from address to address.

The second way of penpal writing is through email and the last way is digitally through apps like Slowly, HelloTalk and PenPals.

In your letter, you can write an introduction about who you are and where you’re from. You can add little tidbits about how your day was going or you can talk about your hobbies. You can also add questions to ask your penpal to get to know them better.


  • Talk to your penpal before exchanging addresses and use common sense. Don’t give your address to someone sketchy or someone you don’t trust. Think wisely and make good decisions.
  • Be creative! Let your creativity run wild when making your letters to your penpal.
  • Follow the format or switch it up. Usually “snail mail” includes a main letter, a card for questions and answers and your current favorite music. Many penpals include extras like washi tape samples, sticky notes and stickers as well. However, this part is completely optional. You don’t have to follow this format at all. You’re free to include anything you want to send to your penpal.

Penpal writing is fun once you get the hang of it. Before you know it, you’ll have multiple penpals from different countries. Just give penpal writing a try; you won’t regret it.