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Have My Pen Pal's Letters Been Lost, Or Did They Stop Answering?


by_a_Lady
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Have My Pen Pal's Letters Been Lost, Or Did They Stop Answering?  

19 members have voted

  1. 1. What do you do when your pen pal just stops replying?

    • Leave it be; they probably have their good reasons for not writing back immediately and will do so in time.
      10
    • Send letter(s) of inquiry; maybe their letters were lost?
      6
    • Ask them through electronic mail or in person.
      3
    • Consider the penpalship ended.
      0
  2. 2. What do you do if they don't respond to your inquiries?

    • Leave it be for good.
      16
    • Contact them through electronic post; they might feel more obliged to answer then.
      3
  3. 3. What do you do when you yourself want to cease mail contact with a pen pal?

    • Simply stop replying.
      5
    • Notify them through electronic post.
      1
    • Send a final, empathetic letter.
      13


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It just happens - a letter, oftentimes barely bigger than a human hand, gets lost in the immense machinery of international postal traffic. It's a shame, but probably not much of a substantial loss, or else the letter would have been sent my registered mail. For the expectant recipient, though, it opens up the big question: Why did my correspondent not write back?

Of course, the truth could be that they actually didn't write back, but this could have many more reasons beyond not wanting to continue the mail exchange - sickness, family issues, job, education, moving, etc.

 

In any case, I think (personally) that sending a letter of inquiry is the best option here - a short letter on A5 paper in an unobtrusive C6 envelope, saying that I think their mail may have been lost because I haven't received any in a substantial while (how long that waiting period should be is a whole 'nother question; I usually take the average time they've taken to reply and roughly multiply it by 2 or 3), maybe adding a few lines about a topic we've talked about in previous letters so that it doesn't feel and sound like I'm just harassing them for a reply. Depending on how sure I am that the person was interested in an ongoing mail connection, I adapt my wording to inquire about personal problems that might prevent them from writing back as regularly as they used to, sometimes I subtly touch on the fact that I certainly won't feel offended if they simply don't want to continue writing, but would like to be told so.

Just ceasing all communication on both sides is a scenario I don't consider to be polite. It's so easy, to a degree even acceptable, on social media, but letters are different and special, and I don't think I'm asking for too much when I want to have a complete conversation with a beginning and an end at least in this medium.

 

What are your thoughts on this?

 

 

In eager anticipation of your thoughts,

Dominique

Snail Mail


(fluent in SK, CZ, DE, EN


currently learning EO, JP, NL)

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Write another letter as per usual. If no response for a second time, move on.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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Write another letter as per usual. If no response for a second time, move on.

 

My title is probably misleading, I should have been clearer, sorry! I didn't mean that I'm in this particular situation right now; just wanted to incite a conversation about the durability of penpalships, and how everyone individually deals with someone not writing back for an unusually long period of time.

Snail Mail


(fluent in SK, CZ, DE, EN


currently learning EO, JP, NL)

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I don't have one single way I approach it. It might be different for someone that I have been writing for an extended period, versus someone who I have only exchanged a few letters with. I have a penpal in Brazil, who I know I won't see something quickly. The postal service to me in the US is very slow. (I have seen it take up to six weeks from the date of postmark.)

 

So I just play each one by ear. I have one that is new, (INCOWRIMO) who I hadn't heard from in a little while, then one showed up about 10 days or so ago. My response went in today's mail. She was apologetic about taking so long.

Brad

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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I started writing letters out since InCoWriMo last year and have retained almost all of my pen pals, at least the ones who replied to the first letter :P There have been few who never wrote back to the first letter so I guess those don't count.

That said, there have been times when I have received a reply late, sometimes even after a month or more. The same happens with me too, sometimes the daily grind of life gets in the way of me responding right away but I am yet to leave a letter received without a reply.

So, to answer the question, I'd typically wait it out for a response.

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I have my penpal on twitter, and it has come to light my reply to him has gotten lost; however, the usps does have a way to file for lost letter, which I plan to employ if my penpal does not receive the letter tomorrow.

On the other hand, if he and I did not have have twitter any more, and he did not receive my letter, I would reply to his recent letter to me, while adding some of the information I sent to him in a reply, and maybe ask if something happened. He is busy, so maybe he didn't get a good chance to see if the letter arrived.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back in the 1970's I had a pen pal and we would send weekly letters to each other (He was a close friend who had moved away). The correspondence was good - and regular. However, one week there was no letter from him. The following week, back to normal and this continued for the two years he was away.

No explanation for the missing letter (which he had posted) was ever found.

We used to number our letters and the missing letter (no 79) became legendary in our future communications.

 

After a few years, he moved back to England, so the letters stopped. But, I still look back at those times with warmth - and remember the excitement and joy of seeing a familiar envelope on the doormat.

 

Thanks.

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I don't have one single way I approach it. It might be different for someone that I have been writing for an extended period, versus someone who I have only exchanged a few letters with. I have a penpal in Brazil, who I know I won't see something quickly. The postal service to me in the US is very slow. (I have seen it take up to six weeks from the date of postmark.)

 

So I just play each one by ear. I have one that is new, (INCOWRIMO) who I hadn't heard from in a little while, then one showed up about 10 days or so ago. My response went in today's mail. She was apologetic about taking so long.

 

this

 

I didn't fill out the survey because I wanted to check all the boxes

 

different responses for different circumstances

 

My family members, for example, never write me back. Never. I don't expect it and never refer to it. I just write them when I want to. I hear from them in other ways.

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I don't know what's happened here with the post office, but since September 2017 almost half of the letters my pen pals sent me got lost, and vice versa. I never ask if I don't get an answer, because some people stopped writing me in the past and I'm a person who doesn't like to be pushy, and there was a reason why they stopped writing and I respected that.

 

After January 2018, many letters I sent needed 1 or 2 months to reach my friends, while the usual time was 1 week or even less. So I really don't know what's wrong.

 

So, to answer your question... if I don't hear from someone in a long time, I never ask or write again, unless this person is a very close friend who I know 100% sure that he or she would never stop talking to me.

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