Why did you stop a Postcardpal-/Penpalship?

In the past decades I have had a several penpals or postcard pals.

A lot of them at some point stopped replying, and even though I tried, I was never able to find out why.

I have never “ended” a penpalship/postcardpalship like that, so I am curios to find out what is the reasoning behind it? Why did you end an exchange like that?

It’s not meant to be a reproach, it’s just one of the mysteries of live I’d like to solve. :blush:


I never had a postcard pal, or penpal, however I do think life get’s in the way at times.
For example, right now I have a lot of work on my plate. There’s also some stress, and in a way it’s kinda hard to reach out to real life friends. I think with penpals it’s the same.

I think it’s the same when you havn’t phoned up a friend for a long time, the longer you wait, the harder it will get. I think this also applies to penpals, but I could be wrong.


I recently had to end half of my penpal conversations and every single time I write them a short letter, why I can’t continue the exchange. For me it’s the worst, when the penpals just disappear and even though it’s hard to write this letter, I know it might be better for both sides for a better closure and to just know what’s going on.


Sometimes I didn’t mean to end it, but I have no time/energy to reply, and when they wrote asking, I thought, now I answer, but again, for some reason it didn’t happen.

For me, the main thing with letters is, to write when I feel like it. Not planned before how many pages and how often.

Sometimes I’ve written a card telling I’m having trouble writing letters :stuck_out_tongue:

I think this as normal life as well, sometimes you think some person often, but don’t call/text or meet. Some relationships just fade away because life goes different directions.

But why, the reasons:
The other writes very unpersonal, so I don’t get to know them at all.
They want me to know when I write, or message when I send my letter, when I receive etc.
They are only after some items, like Moomin products.


I think it fits a bit with the whole situation in society when it comes to friendships and maintaining contacts.

You might find this topic “The social value of cards and letters in your private life” interesting.

It’s also about why people don’t keep in touch.


I have several penpals and although I always reply I’ve had many just vanish, often before they’ve even sent a letter! Discussing this with other penpals, I think a lot of it is time, and priorities. I think when people begin they don’t realise how long it takes to write a decent letter and they don’t dedicate time for writing but rather just wait until they have ‘free’ time that never happens. Also because penpals often aren’t considered ‘friends’, it’s easier to not be accountable and easy to just ignore them.
I personally think ghosting penpals is terrible behaviour and I’d much prefer a reason why. But oh well, I have lovely penpals I’m happy to write to.


Time. It is the main reason. It takes an hour or two to write a letter, even more in some cases. I just get busy and then I keep promising myself that I will write soon, but things just pile up and letter is far too easy to forget. And then after months it feels too awkward to send anything :frowning:

That said, if any of my Summer project pals are reading this: I WILL send the last reply! I was just bit of stupid and read work emails wrong so my holiday ended suddenly a week earlier by my boss calling and laughing at me because I missed the welcome back meeting. It kinda messed up my plans, so bear with me… like for a month or so… :roll_eyes:

I agreed that it would be much nicer to at least send a message to say why the penpalship is ending, instead of just letting it die. Unfortunately I have to admit that I have ghosted some, but I never planned to do that. I always thought that I will write back sooner or later but as the date was pushed farther and farther away, the whole thing started to feel more and more awkward and in some cases I even lost the address and previous letters.

Once I was penpals this very lovely Chinese girl who did not know how to write her address in Latin letters, and, when we tested it out, it turned out I made too many errors when trying to write her address in letters unfamiliar to me. So we solved the problem by her always sending a small paper with her address written on it so I could just stuck in on the envelope (this was the time before we had printer at home so that wasn’t an option either). It worked fine about a year but then she forgot to add the address one time and I never figured out how to get in touch with her ever again :frowning: I honestly sometimes wonder how she is doing.

Oh, and I am not sure, but it is possible that one of my childhood penpals actually died and that ended our letter exchange. I was trying to find out what happened, but I was very young back then and the whole thing spooked me so I just stopped.


Honestly I’m the same as you; I’ve just had a few people stop replying. I, however, had to take a break because I wasn’t able to afford stamps and envelopes and what not for a while. I’m still having some trouble with that. So when I stop responding its because 1. money problems or 2. life just gets in the way.

I had to stop talking to my Russian penpal because mail no longer reaches her. I’ve talked to her through postcrossing a few times though.

This makes me wonder what happened to my Irish penpal from when I was a child. My sister had a pen pal from Sri Lanka but lost contact after a tusnami so we were worried about that pen pal. My mom had to explain that to us since we were so young.


My main reason would be we are not a good fit. Do not have any similar interests and cannot connect at all or either learn from each other. That person does not want to get to know me and only sends out a basic letter to 300 of their other penpals etc. For me I like my penpals to have the potential to turn into a friendship and even meet in person eventually (I understand the latter is not what everyone wants). I feel like if I do not have the time, I would not end it if the connection is there. I would just say I cannot write as often right now. If that is okay with you, please allow me to contact you when I am in the right headspace.

I will have to admit, I have stopped writing without saying anything. This has been because I felt bad for ending the connection and didn’t know what/how to say it, or I was in a down/sad time in my life and did not know what to say.

I am looking forward to hearing other people responses when it comes to this.


I had a penpal who had a very specific handwriting, I couldn’t understand almost anything she wrote. But I didn’t know how to tell her about it correctly. Looking back, I thought I should have probably suggested her to type her letters on computer… To be honest, I feel guilty for ending our exchange without letting her know. On the other hand, it’s good that she has over 100 penpals around the world.


Oh I forgot to add that. Thanks for mentioning this. I right now have 2 penpals I cant understand their handwriting. However, if I read over it several times, squint, and guess a bit, I can get 1 of theirs for the most part. 1 individual I am grateful to have met and can’t see me not penpalling with her because of her handwriting, as I can make it work. However, the other person is a bit new, and I plan to say I would like to get to know you more but it is hard for me to understand your handwriting, so maybe we arent a good fit. I struggle (not sure why) with some German handwriting. Especially if its in cursive. The letters look different and I feel like I am going crazy, but maybe it is just me.

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I was never be the one who ended penpalship :sweat_smile:
The penpals I had just stopped replying, but I assumed many of them moved to other places and forgot to reply. I had 2 penpals that didn’t reply because they passed away :broken_heart:

It’s sad that connections are lost, but I always see it as part of life. There’s hi and there’s good bye, people come and go~ (even in real life). Eventhough some of the connections didn’t last long at least I’ve had experience from it and that’s enough for me


One day I was forced to stop correspondence because the second person (we met through postcrossing and never met in person) had too many “forbidden topics”. To almost any topic I started, he replied, “I don’t want to talk about it.” And he wrote to me only about his everyday daily affairs: “today I ate this and went to bed.” This correspondence became uninteresting to me and I stopped it.


I’ve had penpals since childhood, and some they have stopped, some I have stopped. Various reasons. Some we just didn’t connect or click, and after a few letters it became obvious. Some were just penpal collectors who obviously sent the exact same letter to everyone, a few times I moved and my mail was not forwarded so I don’t know what may have arrived and been sent back or thrown away. And very sadly, my most recent penpal passed away from stomach cancer.

I find that I don’t seem to have the attention span to write such long or frequent letters anymore like I used to, but I will always be willing to give penpalling a shot with someone, I think.

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For me it’s mostly been life got really busy for awhile, and I always meant to write back, but then it was so long that I was embarrassed I hadn’t written in so long or worried that their address had changed.

I have had penpals since my teenage years, am now in my 70s and believe it or not, I am still in touch with a handful of the very first ones. Along the years, of course, some have come and gone, many have stopped writing, sometimes after a good-bye note, sometimes they just vanished.
Whenever I felt like breaking a connection, I did write a short explanation, sometimes I am afraid not very convincing, because I could not manage to say things like “we have nothing in common” or “I feel no common ground with you”, so I mentioned a change of circumstances in my life or some other vague “story”. However in the case of those exchanges of letters that were leading nowhere so to speak, the other party usually vanished at a time or another.

Some vanished for no (for me) understandable reason, but one has to consider that when a penpal dies or becomes severely incapacitated, there is not always a relative or good friend who can or takes the trouble to write about it to the penpals. In many cases, a relative or friend DID write, and it was a relief to know what had happened. But when nobody could or was willing to write, one is left wondering… Of course one can guess if the person was previously in a bad health with severe issues. Sometimes the post-office will return the letter with a sticker saying “Deceased” (what a shock it was the few times it happened) or “the person no longer lives at this address” (this happened to me twice with a pen-friend who was very unlikely to have moved as she had a farm. I did write again and it proved that a new postal employee in her village has made a blunder…The other one lived in a city and it also was a mistake by a newbie postal worker as I had in both cases written the address with no mistake).

In the case of postcard-only-penpals, I usually stopped (with a note) when I had no more cards that were adequate for that person, or when the person kept sending the types of cards I had asked not to send…

Hard to read handwriting can be an issue, also a person who uses a translation system. I stopped some exchanges of letters because I could not make head or tail of what the other person wrote due to bad translation. In one case I stopped a correspondence with a penpal of many years when she became addicted to a religious sect and kept sending me unending quotations of the Bible and such inappropriate material, even though I had repeatedly asked her to stop. I enjoy discussing about religion, but not being machine-gunned with childish religious propaganda…

What else to add, I have met quite a few of my penpals along the years. Sometimes it led to a long-lived friendship, sometimes , well, the meeting was a bit disappointing and afterwards the correspondence petered out. But as some said rightly in other messages, pen friendships are exactly like friendships in real life, some “take”, others do not, some last so long as both parties are on the same wave-length, then slowly or suddenly die.

Sometimes the situation in the country of one of the penpals causes such upheavals that it becomes impossible to exchange letters, either because of armed conflicts or some other political reason, or just because the postal deliveries are too disrupted. And in a case like the current situation in Russia/Ukraine, or about other international news topics, some persons will take offense if the other one expresses ideas that he/she does not agree with…

Right now, in China where I live, the normal flow of international mail has been badly disrupted since the beginning of the pandemic, at first. due to the epidemic situation in many countries, that led them to put their mail system into dormancy, and now the problem has been compounded by the many lock downs in China (and so far as postcards are concerned, the difficulty of finding many kinds of cards that were easy to buy earlier). This has led me to stop most of my postcard swapping  and has badly disrupted my snail mail correspondences. Some friends have accepted to switch to e-mail correspondence, some have not, and some cannot as they have no access to e-mail. Thus I lost most of my non-e-mail correspondences with Canada, as since the pandemic started, the mail to/from that country has taken around six months each way.....And it has been about the same with a few other countries even in Europe.....

As in addition, there is also a strong possibility of my soon moving to another country, most mail taking months to reach me would get lost…

So the world of pen friendship is as varied and complicated as the real world… I have always enjoyed being a part of it and will continue as long as I can!


Sorry, it seems that part of my message was removed. I meant that here in China the recent lockdowns have caused longer delays in the delivery of international mail, as there are also fewer flights than earlier. But since the pandemic started, long delays have been the rule, especially with countries like Canada and some European countries. So this unhappy situation has led me to put an end to most of my snail mail activities and postcard swapping, at least until “better times”!

Maybe just lost interest. I had a penpal in middle school, thru part of High School. She recently wanted to reconnect, she googled me and found me (we are now in our 60’s). Not sure how I feel about it. I got her letter a month or so ago and have yet responded. I will respond. I just don’t want to continue to be penpals. I like postcrossing–fun and low maintenance!

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I’ve had a few where I just never heard back from, and sometimes I wonder if one of our replies got lost in the mail somewhere? And then we never heard from each other again.

Although one was through school, so I never found out if the other person just stopped after that school year, or maybe there was something that happened with the teacher(s) organizing it. I guess I might never find out :sweat_smile:

I just realized, I did not mention, why I ended penpal conversations. I think it fits with what others just wrote: no time, no match,huge differences in things we believe in or not (please don’t get me wrong, I’m not against own believes, but I’m against forcing the own believe on someone else) and sometimes the priorities just change

What stuck in my head is the one penpal I started writing with and in every single letter she described in detail, how her mother has passed away. Clearly she was traumatized. For me it was 2nd hand traumatizing and I had to write her, that we can’t continue the conversation. She did not take it very well :confused:

But lately I had do stop writing to some, because of an injury of my hand and the circumstances changed. Last year I was at home and no I’m working again, so less time