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So you are interested in finding a penpal or, as most penpallers like to think of it, you would love to meet some new friends that you may not otherwise have the chance to know. Penpalling is a very popular hobby today, and it's not just for children and teenagers, which is the first thing some people think when you mention penpalling. It's a very fulfilling hobby and one that is more complex and interesting than most people imagine.

There are basically three groups of penpallers: those who penpal, those who tapepal and those who round robin. When most people hear "penpal" they think of someone sitting down and writing a letter to someone across the country. Penpallers are actually putting pen to paper to write a letter to someone. If you are looking for a penpal and see the abbreviation LL pals, you know that they are looking for Long Letter pals as opposed to pals who write short letters. Others are happy to write short notes and postcards to their penpals.

Tapepalling is another type of pal and is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of exchanging letters, tapepals exchange cassette tapes that they have made. These can range from 30 minute to 120 minute tapes, and while some pals share 1 tape, others share 3 or more tapes. Taping has a number of advantages. One is that you tend to get to know your pal quicker because you are chatting with each other and can share information faster than in a letter.

Secondly, it's also convenient because you don't have to sit down to write. You can tape in the car, or while you are doing dishes. It's also interesting to hear your friend's accent if they are in another part of the country, or in a different country altogether. Sometimes pals even let their spouse and children say a few words, which really allows you to know your pal even better. And sending a tape doesn't cost much; just two stamps instead of one.

Finally if you'd like to meet and correspond with many people at once, a round robin is for you. A round robin consists of letters or tapes from 3-5 people that all write/tape to each other. One person sponsors the robin and gets other people to join. The sponsor then writes (or tapes) a letter with a general portion and then a personal to each person in the robin and sends it on the way to pal #2. When #2 receives it, she/he would then answer the letter with a like one and send both letters on to #3. And the robin continues until it goes back to the sponsor again. After the first round, each person removes the old letter of the person they are sending the robin to so that person doesn't receive their own letter back. This is great fun, especially when all the people in the robin write long letters and enjoy common interests.

If you decide you would like a penpal, just take a cruise on the internet. Under the key word search "penpals" you will find countless websites filled with people waiting to correspond. Once you are actually penpalling, you may find it easy to meet more pals through friendship books. These small stapled booklets are made by one person and sent on to other pallers until it is full. It is then sent back to the person who started it. Hopefully, it will be filled with addresses of other people looking for penpals. There are also numerous print newsletters focusing on penpalling.

Once you begin, you will realize that penpalling is more then a hobby. It is a way to establish friendships with people all over the world.