Direct swap etiquette?

Since moving to Mongolia, I’ve gotten a LOT of direct swap requests. I don’t mind this, and I like sending postcards to people who will appreciate them! What I don’t like is people messaging me frequently asking me if I’ve received their postcards yet. Let me explain: I get so many requests, and postcards can take anywhere from 30-70 days to get to me (or from me). So tracking all of these direct swaps and letting everybody know when I’ve received their postcards would be a lot of extra work and stress for me, and I’m doing post crossing to send snail mail, not message people on the computer. Of course I register regular postcards when I receive them, but I don’t feel that I should have to track down people’s profiles from direct swaps to message them when I receive their card. I don’t expect it of them. Am I being rude by not telling people when I receive their postcard? It’s just a lot of work to track all the postcards, and I don’t think I would be able to continue doing as many direct swaps if I had to track them.


I do try to remember to message people when I do any tag or direct swap. HOWEVER, I don’t expect it or think it’s expected. It’s extra.


I message if I can find a username but I had the same problem in Cambodia. I didn’t mind sending alot of cards but in Cambodia many cards took forever to get to me. I also never got some so I had to just let some people know it didn’t arrive before I moved.


Lots of people don’t do it - life is busy eh?

I’d just tell them up front & you could even put it in your profile that given the volume of requests you get you won’t be letting them know directly or responding to those kind of messages, so they should just assume their card arrived.

If you say it up front, then people can make a swap with you knowing what you can & can’t manage.


I don’t usually initiate contact… I simply respond with a card as soon as possible after receiving a direct swap card. The only swapper I communicate with via message is the one with whom I’ve exchanged email addresses.


I always thank people for their cards when they arrive, it feels like common courtesy to me.

I feel like it probably is expected, and that’s why those people are messaging you as they’re concerned that their card hasn’t reached you & they don’t want you to be disappointed or think that they didn’t actually send a card.

Maybe let people know that you won’t confirm receipt when you do the swap, then they won’t have to worry when they don’t hear from you.


I won’t call it rude but normally it’s of course part of the swap to tell the sender that their card reached you.
If you don’t have the time or feel too stressed about this, there are two possibilities: Tell them beforehand that you won’t messaging them when you receive their postcard or cut down the amount of swaps.

But saying nothing after confirming the swap is not very nice.


Thanking all of the forum is kind of became easy part for me, as i participate regularly and know which card is from whom, and mostly all members write thier username and what is card for, ie. Swap, RR, any special Tag .
And about finding anyone without name or username is best detective work for me, as i move on to main PC website and search the Postmark of card and see if that area has any active Postcrossers and most of the case i find all my sender:)

Also, searching old chats is not that hard, you can just search username of sender in your email provider, and you go to your chat.


As far as I know there are no strict rules for direct swap. It’s kind of supposed to be polite to say “thanks” when you get a direct swap card…but

A LOT OF people never do it.
And I think they don’t care.

Actually every second card I send via direct swap never gets acknowledged by the receiver

I never write to people to ask if they received my card. I see no reason to do it


I don’t consider it obligatory, I consider it a courtesy. I have begun to send SO much in the forum, that even though it’s a lot to check in, I would have no idea what is what without a spreadsheet (that goes for ensuring I send what I committed to sending.) It’s nice to know people received what I sent. It doesn’t have to be a long message or anything. And if they put their username on it I don’t look for the previous chat, just search their username and “I got your card from _ swap, thank you.” So people exchange pricey cards, or postage costs a lot in their country, so for me it’s just courteous to let them know it’s not lost. I only ask someone if it’s been over 2 months. Maybe they received it and didn’t think to let me know, maybe they never received it.


I believe that’s not rude. You set your own swapping rule, if people can’t accept it it’s not your fault

But one thing that I understand why people ask if you’ve received their cards : they don’t want to be called cheaters

Let’s say… if someone does swap and their cards never arrived they could be called cheater. If someone asking if their cards have arrived or not, some people (like you) would be bothered~ so

This is why I usually always send proof of card written and stamped. A proof that I’ve done my task and the rest it’s up to the postal service and the receiver


It’s better not to receive message about received card compared to message about card your counterpart didn’t receive :grin:

So if someone not telling me they received or not I’m assume they successfully received it.


but she did not inform these other people about her own set rules, so how are they suppose to know?

i’ve sent messages in the past to ask people if they have received my card, mostly because if not i would like to send another card. and also because i think it’s nice to let someone know that their card has arrived. we do it on the official site, why not with swaps and tags?

but apparently it’s normal to receive cards and not say a word so i’ve stopped sending messages. but i can totally understand why people do it. and i do think it’s kinda rude to agree to a swap and then ignore all incoming messages after.


I agree, tell your swap rules so they know what to expect.

Normally I thank when I receive, especially if it’s a person I never swapped before, and it’s not regular contact to this person. But with a regular pen pal, I don’t.

I made a swap with a girl last year, asked later did she get it, she said no. So I re-sent, but she never let me know if that arrived either. It’s uncomfortable. There is no communication from her, so I start feeling pushy.

But if the one you swap with has a swap-bot account, you can make the swap there, only between you, so they “rate” you when they get the swap. No searching user names etc. because you see it on your sent list there.

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Maybe you just cannot compare the volume of swaps and circumstances of different postcrossers.

@NotLydiaBennet writes about many requests for swaps. I would think this is not normal for a typical postcrosser due to her “special” location. If you only have 1-2 swaps per week, it is way easier to keep track and write messages. Personally, I always write a message after receiving a card. If the postcard-sender doesn´t care about it, it´s totally fine (no harm, no foul). But some (or maybe many?) might just be a little bit happy to read that a card, maybe travelling 15000km, arrived safely. I´m certainly happy to receive such notes and it´s like spreading some additional joy with only a few lines.

BUT: Each postcrossers situation is just different. If someone has the feeling, it´s not possible to write messages of received cards for whatever reason, that´s fine for me. You might just add a short “disclaimer” in the initial reply to the swap request that - due to the high volume of requests/swaps - communication/tracking would be limited, just to dampen expectations a little bit. I´m pretty sure people will understand as they made the swap request for a reason (a rare country for example), if they just know it beforehand.


Thanks everybody for the input! I do actually have it on my profile that I can’t let everyone know when I have received direct swap postcards, and I also have it on my profile that postcards can take a long time, so my issue is that I’m still getting messages after putting that there, like people aren’t reading my profile before sending me a swap request (or maybe they just forgot). I do understand that people don’t want to be seen as “cheaters” who didn’t a send a postcard- but the thing is, I would send them a postcard anyway even if they never sent me one. I like receiving postcards, but that isn’t the reason I send postcards. Also, it is difficult to track down the postcard. Most of the direct swaps I get don’t put their username on the postcard, and sometimes their real name is kind of hard to read (like, it could be Karen, but it could also be Karina or Kamira or something). Anyway, thanks everyone for your answers!


I’m fine if the person who did direct swap with me did not inform me if they have gotten my card or not. I’m not going to chase after them.

But for me, I always inform the other party when I have received their cards. I write a thank-you message.

It depend on the individual.

For your case, I would copy and paste the same message (explaining why you can’t answer their questions like whether their cards have arrived or not).

Or if you feel too much work, just ignored their messages all together until you find the time to answer them. Or whichever you feel like doing.

Find a way that work for you. Good luck!


Yes, I’d regard that as rude! To write a short “Hi XY, thank you very much for your card! It arrived today. Regards, Lydia” is not really much work and tracking all the postcards is not necessary therefore.

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I have some general observations about this. One thing I observed a very long time ago is that certain countries will generate a large number of direct swap requests; I am thinking Mongolia is one of them. Swaps of single cards can go south very quickly, especially on the Official Postcrossing site where I imagine you are getting these requests. As @TatianaFromSiberia pointed out there are no rules for direct swaps; essentially it’s buyer beware.

@Catchycat made an interesting observation about cheats. Many cheats do cruise the Official site to find unsuspecting members. Also, you pointed out that mail can take a long time to reach you. I would add that some people may have erroneous ideas when the mention of Mongolia comes to mind; that could inform the question they are asking you.

One possible solution here if you still want to continue is limit the number of swaps you will accept. One obvious one is decline requests from certain countries; maybe you have enough cards from XYZ countries. In that scenario, you only have one request to respond to on the spot and avoid the merry-go-around.


In this case when you have the info on your profile, I think the ones who are asking after their sent card, are not following the etiquette.

But: when I read this part “I won’t be able to tell you when I receive your direct swap postcard.”
I think, you won’t be able to tell beforehand. I don’t know why I think so. Maybe your swap partners read it wrongly like I.

If I would swap with you, I would think you still send me a thank you message, but you just don’t know when you will receive the card.

Maybe you could add, “Please note: I don’t have a habit to write a thank you message when I receive your card” or something. (I don’t know why this sounds rude :slight_smile: )

Yet it’s still clear that you don’t like them asking if you got their card, and still asking is a little, little rude.