The Angry PenPal

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The letter arrived in a business envelope with no fancy address stamp, which was unusual for this longtime penpal who always used lovely return address stamps and stationery to write her letters. My instincts told me this was an ominous message.

I opened the envelope to see a single sided white paper with the words scrawled on there that she was hurt that I had visited her state and had not bothered to contact her to set up a visit. It especially bothered her that I was only an hour away. If that was the kind of penpal I was, then she was done with me. Don’t bother writing. Ever.

Wow. I was stunned.

Why did she think her desire to meet with penpals trumped my desire not to? And why the demand to stop writing? Can’t we disagree and still write? Apparently not.

I was glad to let her go as I didn’t need that anger and small-mindedness in my life.

After a few months passed, I shared this experience with two other penpals. One of whom also had this woman as a penpal and had experienced the same fate as me- visiting her fair state. They had actually planned to get together, but bad weather stepped in and changed the traveler’s plans (who also had two children with her) so no get-together occurred. Cue mean penpal. Angry letter. End relationship.

The traveling penpal was relieved (and not too surprised) as the mean penpal had shown her colors once before when her birthday passed without a card from the traveling penpal. Cue one angry letter.

Seriously, who does that?

The traveling penpal took the cue, sent a belated birthday card and balance was restored. Until their fateful trip.

Life’s too short for angry penpals.



  1. jenclair on May 27, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Wow! What an egocentric letter. I love blogging and mail art partly because I have mild (in my opinion, not so mild in my husband's) social anxiety. I can understand being disappointed about missing out on a visit, but angry is small-minded and mean-spirited.

  2. Eva A. on May 27, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    This is too sad. I completely agree with your last sentence. But, anyway, this kind of things leave a nasty taste in your mouth..

  3. Pamela Gerard on May 27, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    YIKES!!! That is pretty incredible. Thank goodness that has never happened to me. I have had folks visit SF and not have time to see me and that's just fine. And I travel to LA often to help a 101 year old FIL and I have no extra time to see my pen pals there. But I have sometimes been able to arrange wonderful visits with friends in my travels. I can't imagine anyone sending an outraged letter like that — how awful and sad…(for them). Yes, life is too short for that kind of behavior…

  4. Ginette B on May 27, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    People are different, and it's sad that your ex-penpal reacted the way she did. Even if she was disappointed – that shouldn't be a reason for lashing out at you like this. It's one of these things that leave a bad taste in your mouth and make you wonder if it's all worth it. But at the end of the day, all you can do is file it under 'experiences' and move on. Sadly, your (rather needy and somewhat self-centred, if I may say so) ex-penpal will continue to act like this. There'll always be people who don't want to meet up or send birthday cards… I imagine she'll turn into a rather bitter person eventually – which is sad for her. Thanks for sharing your experience on here.

  5. Judy H on May 30, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    It almost sounds like she 'tallies' the number of meetups with penpals, rather than just enjoying the experience of having someone to write to.

  6. bentneedle on June 19, 2016 at 12:55 am

    Wow. Are you serious? Wtf. I would never be angry at someone because they didn't visit with me…disappointed, sure, but angry? Your time is your time and how you spend it is your choice.

  7. Leslie on July 31, 2016 at 12:24 am

    That's really amazing. What a sad woman – she must have felt very hurt. But it was her expectations that created her anger, not the lack of a visit. She has a lot of growing up to do –

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