25+ Ideas on Writing the First Letter to A New Pen Pal

Writing to someone new and introducing yourself can feel intimidating. I totally understand the awkwardness you may feel when sitting down to finally write that letter. But worry not! I have a checklist that should take the pressure off of writing the first letter to your brand new pen pal. The list will be broken down into the two key components of the pen pal letter, as seen within the Instagram pen pal community. This checklist can be applied to e-pals, snail mail friends, or general online friends (like on Instagram!)


!!DISCLAIMER!! You are free to pick and choose what you decide to include in the letter to your pen pal. DON’T feel the need to include everything simply because that’s what you see others doing it. Create based on your capabilities and have fun doing it! (I’m guilty of feeling the Instagram pressure, too, so this is a reminder for you as much as it is for me.)

1. The Letter

In the first letter you send to your pen pal, you want to introduce yourself. Think of it as meeting a new friend and sharing with them all about who you are! Things to write about can include: 

  1. Age and birthday
  2. Where you live and what it’s like  
  3. Family, siblings, and/or pets
  4. Your significant other
  5. Career or path of study
  6. What you do in your free time
  7. Favorite music artists, movies, shows
  8. Favorite recreational exercise activity
  9. Travel bucket list
  10. What got you into pen palling
  11. Other hobbies aside from pen palling
  12. Questions about them you’d like to know that come to mind

Remember this is just the first of many letters that you will be exchanging with your pen pal. After a few exchanges, you’ll find that your letters will have a natural flow. Sign off your letter with a greeting and you’ll be all set!

[Related: Five Different Suggestions on Where to Find Pen Pals]

2. The Extra Goodies 

This section can include quite literally whatever you choose to include. Most of the time, people write a list of questions on a separate card for their pen pal to answer as a way to get to know them better. If you want some ideas on questions to ask, check out my list here

Other goodies can include: 

  1. Playlist of your favorite tracks 
  2. Stickers 
  3. Washi tape samples
  4. Memo sheets/sticky notes
  5. Patterned paper
  6. Pocket word search (shameless plug..hehe)
  7. Handmade bookmark
  8. Flat origami
  9. Mini paintings
  10. Painted polaroids
  11. Small embroideries
  12. Friendship bracelets
  13. “This or That”
  14. Tic-tac-toe card
  15. Packaged tea bags

The list can honestly go on and on. Anything flat that fits in the envelope can essentially be considered an extra goodie. You can get as creative as you want, matching items to your overall theme or sending your pen pals things they love!

3. Bonus Tip: The Envelope

If you’re feeling up for it and want to try your hand at creating some mail art, you can always decorate the outside of your envelope. There are tons of talented people to draw inspiration from on Pinterest and Instagram. Here are some theme ideas to start off with: 

  1. Summer/beach
  2. Fruits
  3. Space
  4. Animals
  5. Colors
  6. Pop culture (i.e. Disney, Star Wars, Avengers, etc.)
  7. Food 
  8. Vintage

For more snail mail ideas, check out my list of 100 pen pal themes to try. And that’s it! I hope this helped make the first letter a little less intimidating.

x Leslie

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25 ideas on what to write in the first letter to your new pen pal