As we all know, recieving letters is great. It's such a thrill and joy to reach your hand into the mailbox and pull out things addressed to you. You, yes, you! I know it's the highlight of my day.
Yes, that IS a mailbox shaped like a shark! And no, sadly, that is not my mailbox.
However, what happens when you exchange letters with someone that you don't click with? I'm sure we've all experienced it. It's not just a matter of having nothing in common with your penpal because sometimes it's great to write someone who has completely different interests. For example, I'm sure we've all exchanged letters with people who seemed more concerned with the quantity of their incoming and outgoing mail than the quality of their responses. My favourite penpals and letters are the ones that read like messages from friends. I love letters just full of personality! However, the reality is that just like in real life, we're not going to get along with everyone we exchange letters with.
So what do you do if you just don't click as penpals with someone? Do you "suck it up" and simply continue writing? Do you decide to stop writing? What is the protocol for ending a pen friendship? Do you write a letter explaining your decision or just let the responses peter out? Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable just stopping a penpal relationship without some explanation (it never feels good to be on the waiting end of a letter that will never come...), but how would you approach the subject? What would you say?
Also, what would you do if you hadn't heard from a penpal in a few months? Would you assume that they just decided to stop writing? Or would you send another letter just in case a letter went missing somewhere on the way? Would you fly to their city and wave at them from his/her kitchen window? (Kidding! That is 100% a joke. Just to clear up any potential confusion, let me take a stand here and say: Stalking is bad. So very bad.) How long would you wait before contacting them?
I'm interested to hear about people's experiences and how they would deal/have dealt with the issue. I'm not asking because I'm looking to end my correspondence with my current penpals (YOU: You wrote a letter on paper that has 5 mm line spaces. I only write to people that have 5.8952 mm line spaces. I will stop writing to you immediately), but it's something I'm curious about. Is there some sort of Emily Post guide to penpal etiquette? If not, can I write it?!!! Emily Post Guide to Penpal Etiquette tip number 2,234,234: You MUST write on paper that has 5.8952 mm line spaces. Or else the world gets taken over by coconuts and pineapples. Then life becomes about drinking pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. Beware, this isn't half as fun as it might sound.
I look forward to your comments! I'll just be here, back-filling the first 2,234,233 tips in the Emily Post guide to Penpal Etiquette.... tip #1: always write letters using a writing instrument of some kind. Using a piece of spaghetti or a shoe to write a letter is useless and will get you nowhere....
tip #892: however, under special circumstances, such as a full moon on the 16th of November during a leap year, it is possible to use a car tire to write on a postcard, which then also doubles as a time-travelling device. But only if that tire came from a clown car that drove across Utah in the summer of '69....