How to foster a sense of connection at Postcrossing?

Hi. I’m really new to Postcrossing. I’ve learned that people have a variety of reasons for being a Postcrosser. I’m here for connection. My question is, how do you foster a sense of connection, both in the cards you send and in reply to the cards you receive? Is there something in particular you do? Something you write about? What are realistic expectations to have? Thank you for any insights you can offer.

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Helllo @resalr, welcome to postcrossing and the forum :wave:

I’ve changed the headline so that it’s immediately recognisable what you would like to discuss here.

Here are some of the topics that might be of interest to you:

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Firstly, welcome to you @resalr.

I think that the topics that @bille recommended include some useful discussions, but also containg a lot of grumbles that can be discouraging. Please don’t be put off Postcrossing.

Bearing in mind that people join Postcrossing for a wide range of reasons, I consider the connection like a “bus stop” conversation with a stranger.
My expectations are low key.
I read the person’s profile, try to write something neutral in tone that they might respond to, and am not disappointed if their response is a brief thank-you or nothing at all.
I try to send cards that I believe people will like ( from their profile) but also ones that I like, where I know I can write something more about the image or myself that the recipient might enjoy.

In a thank-you, I try to answer a question, if one was written on the card I received, or say something more about the card if I possibly can.

I once did a bit of an experiment smiling at everyone I passed on my walk to work. It’s amazing how many people smiled back, and eventually started spontaneously smiling. The world felt a nicer place! Maybe Postcrossing is a bit like that experiment, trying to send smiles around the globe.

Low key expectations mean that any personal or longer connection is a real joy and excitement.

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I second this.
Having little to no expectations means I won’t be disappointed.

Fundamentally, official Postcrossing is sending A a card, A registering it, then getting a card from B.

Did I send A a card with proper postage? Yes.
Did A register it? Yes.
Did I get a card from B? Yes.

That’s cool in my opinion.
Other things like nice stamps, washi tape, decorations, a nice hurray message are all bonuses
Nice to have, but not a must have.
Of course, I’m thankful if they happen, but if they don’t, I move on to the next interaction.

Tomorrow will be better :wink:

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I always try to write something in-depth/specific, beyond what I would say to every stranger I was meeting for the first time. So, rather than introduce generally (my name is X, I live in Y, I like A, B, and C), I always try to pick out one thing about the person I can write specifics about and I spend pretty much the entire space on that. So, if I pulled your address, I might say “I like fountain pens, too! Right now I’m using X filled with Y ink because it’s really good on postcards, but my favourite is A because blah blah. In general I guess I prefer smooth nibs but I can’t make up my mind and I also like feedback, blah blah blah”. For me, when I receive a card like that, where (I don’t necessarily know the general details about someone but) I get a small window into someone’s world and thoughts, I feel connected. If there is nothing I can see on the profile that I click with, instead I do the same thing but about my city — I try not to write the sorts of details you can find online but instead my experience of the city/ how one specific thing about the place makes me feel.

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I am new to postcrossing too. I’ve been penpaling for a few years.
Personally, for the purpose of fostering a connection, and possibly a friendship, I prefer penpaling (exchanging letters with the same person).

But I also enjoy postcrossing, because I enjoy briefly connecting with new people through either gifting them a postcard or receiving one from them. Sometimes I just feel like sending something in the mail. And I like to unexpectedly receive fun mail as well. I’ve already had some very neat brief conversations with people through the postcard and a hurray message.
But I agree with other people above, that there shouldn’t be any expectations. That’s what makes it fun.

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I just try to be chill about the whole thing really and take it as it comes. I really like/enjoy the concept of Postcrossing but find it personally challenging to not focus on one person/penpal. So I am calling that a life lesson for me personally. :tipping_hand_woman:t3::grin:

When found the forums, I realised that there were a whole lot of opinions on every aspect of Postcrossing. (Not a criticism, we’re human, we can’t help having opinions! :smile:) But as @xxxxyyyyzzzz has already said, I too made a conscious decision to avoid the negatives and focus on enjoyment and positivity as much as I can.

With this in mind, I find that can always find something to say. I focus on the recipient, what their profile and/or wishes might be and try to find a way to bring them joy. Then I post the postcard and let it go in my mind too. My conscience is clear that I have done my positive best and the rest is up to the universe! Spreading positivity is ‘my version’ of making a connection. I know I’m not the only one! :blush:

We are finding our way and you will find yours! Have fun! :smiley::heart_hands:

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I have read your profile and I would love to draw your address. I would have a ton to write about if you were a official match :star_struck:

I always end up having too little space on the card for everything I want to write. And also my Hurray message is a reaction about the card, stamps or something the other wrote. I always sit down and take some time to register, because I want to write something meaningful in my thank you message.

But I have learnt in the short time of postcrossing that maybe 1 out of 7 or 8 take the same amount of time and care in their messages.

I must say that the Round Robins are nice to have another form of connection between sender and receiver.

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My main objective is to connect with various people from all around the world and let my words travel, I really put efforts in thank you msgs too and my postcards are overflowing with stuff to say (maybe because I am such an extroverted talker!) but I have come to understand how people do not like that and focus on their collection more than the connection. But again I am glad to make connections and that makes me happy! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts::heart: Coming to the forum has also helped me in meeting more like minded people and having more fun. :grinning::smiling_face: I love recieving postcards and letters and any happy mail that comes along or anything even one sticker - I cherish it as Christmas Presents! Because the fact that someone in their busy schedule is putting so much of efforts to cheer up a stranger in another country altogether, makes my heart warm up and also so emotional :face_holding_back_tears::heart:
I have been lucky, people of Postcrossing has spoilt me rotten! So thank you Postcrossing :heart::smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

If not me, but let my words travel - that is the objective :heart:

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Wow, guys! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Your comments are really helpful in shaping my own behavior and expectations. I think I can put a little more effort into choosing a card and crafting a message (I already try to send a nice Hurray message). I think, as several of you have mentioned, that keeping my expectations low is key. I really appreciate the warmth and kindness you have shown me in this post.

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@resalr I’m new here but I kind of agree with @MariaFin that connections are more likely to happen with pen pals.

What I do love about postcards though, it’s a lovely way to say hello to someone without the pressure of them having to get back to you. I think of it like a stranger giving you a wave on the street or a secret they reveal when you’re waiting in line for the bathroom at a bar. It’s fun and fleeting but there is no pressure to continue.

I suspect if you interact on the forum, you will find people you’ll want to write to on the regular. So many people like to share little parts of their life and I think you will find someone that has a lot in common with you in the near future!

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Just be yourself. I am. The person who takes the time to read the profile, carefully select the card, decorate it with love and send a nice message. People know when you are genuinely trying to make their day!

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For me personally, the connections are the best thing about Postcrossing. It’s a chance to make someone’s day brighter, to gift them a smile. I always try to go above and beyond to make each card I send out special, loving, and friendly. Maybe I don’t always have something that matches their wishlist… But I can definitely draw or paint something they love on the back, and write a thoughtful, personal and kind message.

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Use your profile to invite people to talk about themselves. Try prompts that are very specific, but still reveal people’s attitudes and beliefs.

For example: I prompt people to tell me what they carry with them every day. I often get an interesting story explaining their response.

People don’t have to follow prompts…they can say what they want, but sometimes people need a topic for inspiration :slight_smile:

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Postcrossing to me is like throwing a bottle into the ocean, but an evolved version of the bottle. Hey, it’s surprising enough that we know where this bottle ended up and that it arrived safely. The waiting time is also wonderful. I will try my best to make the postcards I send meet the preferences of others, which makes me feel happy.

Also, all the users I met on the forum were very friendly, which made me very happy.

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I like to read writing prompts in profiles. The more specific the better. :smiley:

I have some writing tips in my profile too. If the sender has written about them on the postcard, I always do same thing in my Hurray message.
For example I have asked to write about the earliest childhood memory. If someone do that, I always tell mine in the Hurray message.

Sometimes we have exchanged several messages based on the topic. :smile:

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I :blue_heart: THAT image! :smiley: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Agree! If I read in a profile that the person I’m sending to likes a movie, or a tv series, or a music genre, or a book… and maybe they ask me to tell if I can suggest them something, I’m really tempted to write some advice on the postcard, or that I also like their favorite movie or something like that

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I use the forum to make those connections. Swaps, round robins, and especially meetups if you can go to them. Going to meetups and meeting people who are similarly enthusiastic about postcards the same way you are, making friends with them, exchanging addresses, is fantastic for me.

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For me… reading the profile and trying to write something about what someone is mentioning. Or to answer a question posted in this profile.
When receiving a card. Replying to something written on the card. That is why I live a longer message, because it gives you something to reply to.

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