Updated: Dec 17, 2020
This post was written by guest author, Jennibelle Stringham, an American living in Lititz, Pennsylvania.
Pen palling a new person is so exciting! I know for me, I can't wait to learn all about my pen pal and where they live. Other countries, states, and even other cities do things so differently and all have different cultures. But sometimes it can be difficult knowing where to start.
When I first started pen palling I noticed I kept running into a problem- what questions can I ask that aren't the generic “what's your favorite color” questions. Although that stuff is cool and important to know too, I love hearing about all the little quirks of the person and their area. So here are my top 5 favorite meaningful questions to ask your pen pal:
what is school like for you? I always figured all schools were like mine: go to school at 8, take 7 classes, eat lunch, take more classes, and be home by 4. I realized in other countries and even just different cities, they do it very differently. They may have a completely different schedule, or be taking completely different classes. This question also opens up for discussion about what clubs your pen pal is in. You may even be in some of the same clubs, or maybe not, and that way you get to learn about something you wouldn't have gotten to learn before. You get to learn about a few of their passions and friends with this question too.
would you consider yourself to be an introvert or extrovert? This question is great because it opens up the topic for a million other things. If they say they're an introvert, you can ask; what their favorite book is, favorite movie, do they like yoga, do they like to do art. If they are an extrovert, it opens up questions like; do you like concerts, what's your favorite thing to do with your friends, what do parties look like where you live. All these questions help you figure out about a person's interests and passions.
what do you want to do when you get older? This question can be asking about what they want as a profession. And that in and of itself is a great conversation. A person's occupation tells you a lot about them, like what they love to do, and what they find most important. But this question can also be asking about other goals and dreams. Where do they want to be living? Do they want a family? Are they going to be rich? This question lets you learn about their dreams and how they plan to get to where they want to be.
what is one of your favorite childhood memories? This one may seem a little cliche, but I promise it can really open them up and make for great conversations. Hearing about a childhood memory is incredibly meaningful because they are sharing something that is very important and special to them. You get to learn about what helped them become who they are today! This question really lets you understand what is important to them!
tell me one interesting thing about each person you live with. Yes, I know this one isn't a question, but remembering people that you've never met can be challenging. Learning a little tidbit about someone can help you remember them and a few of their characteristic.This can really help you connect and learn about your pen pal. This will also make future conversations easier and more meaningful.
There are a million things to find out about your new friend, and all you need to do to learn them is to ask. Sometimes you can get stuck and feel like your letter is boring and doesn't really engage in any meaningful conversation. I really hope this list can help you can your pen pal get to know each other and start a friendship that can last all the way around the world.