Saturday, September 26, 2015

Nothing's Allowed PenPals: Staring Over

You may remember when I wrote this post about my fabric addiction last year, which lead to the formation of the Nothing's Allowed Penpals group. The penpal group was AWESOME!! But unfortunately I didn't organize it very well, and after a short time it mostly flopped.

As a quick overview for anyone that is not familiar with it, this group is a penpal group where NOTHING is allowed! The only expense should be the cost of the stamp. Don't send candy, goodies, don't buy fancy stationary, nothing. You can send recipies, quick notes, doodles, art, someone sent me some garland made with heart shapes cut from magazines, which I LOVE!, etc. All that is sent is something from the heart!

The point in this is to help us disconnect from the need to always buy "things" and have "things". If you read the post I first linked to, I talk about what I went through in my own personal struggle of my fabric/shopping addiction. After reading so many responses, and hearing others stories, I realized I wasn't alone. I wanted to provide a way to feel the "needs" that we have, without busting our budgets, or forming dependencies on things that don't fulfill. People are what are real, and relationships are what are most rewarding!

As for my own experience in the group, I had high hopes to send EVERYONE mail every month or two. Well, sending a quick note to 70+ people is actually rather time consuming and it became pretty overwhelming.

Fast forward to the last month. I've been thinking a LOT about friendships and friends, and how incredibly important it can be to know that there is someone who has your back! Friends are essential in life! And honestly, I am kind of a horrible friend. I do have lots of friends, but in the busyness of life I am afraid I'm not very good at returning the friendships that others have given to me, online or in person. Which I really want to correct!

In my efforts to rectify this and come up with a solution I've thought a lot about this group, and how great it could be if done correctly!

One solution to help improve it, I've realized that I can't do it alone! I'm hoping that I can get some moderators to help me out!

My goal originally was to send every single person mail. I didn't want anyone to be left out. But for me at this point in my life, that is impossible. BUT if everyone is split into small groups, and I only need to worry about 9 other people at most, that I can do! And I think other people could too! As a moderator, or group leader, or "master friend" heehee, I would ask that you make sure to send mail to every person in your group! That you make sure that everyone is receiving something.

What is sent doesn't have to be huge, like I mentioned before. Even a simple postcard to say "hi" is enough!

The other thing I would ask of the moderators, is to keep me updated on your group. How active is everyone? Are people getting along? Would anyone benefit from being placed in a different group? If after a few months no one seems to be getting along, we can change things up.

I know there were a few people from this last group who did form good friendships and actually met in real life!! That's so awesome!! :)

Another thought I had, if there are only a few people sending mail, and everyone else fizzles, let's regroup people so active people can be in an overall active group. Though I guess this depends on what the individuals want to do. I know some people won't be able to send mail all the time, but they could still benefit from receiving. I guess this is something that could be discussed after we get established.

And... that's all the ideas I have at the moment. If you have other suggestions, please let me know! :)

I have created a new form to fill out, and hopefully I didn't forget any questions. I'm really excited to get this started again, and I hope you'll join me if you are interested! If you know anyone that would be interested, please share this with them as well! The more people the better!

As for anyone who signed up last year, I'm going to email everyone a link to the new form so you can sign up again if you want to stay in the group. Starting fresh will be easier than trying to weed out the no longer interested. :)

Thank you so much!! I'm hoping I can get this organized and groups formed in the next 2 weeks or so, depending on how many people sign up, and how many moderators there are.

Happy weekend!



  1. This sounds so fun! Will it be quarterly, or how often do we send?

  2. I love the idea of no extras! I tried a penpal program once but the level of extra's being sent got overwhelming....not to mention expensive. Happens with swaps too. I like the idea of learning to simplify and just connect with people.

  3. hi Diane--I was in the first pen pal group and yes it was really fun at first. then it fizzled out quickly. i think you are right, the list was so large, i didnt know if i should send to everyone (a little overwhelming) or just a couple (which ones do i pick?). I think a group of 3 or 4 is more realistic and might be easier to form a bond with each other. maybe im an underachiever. lol! but that's my 2 cents! im glad you havent given up on the whole idea though!

  4. Thanks for getting this back up and running. I was also in the first group and sent several cards and notes. I agree that a smaller focused group will be easier to handle, and easier to feel open to forming more personal connections. I would also recommend that you or the moderators share occasionally some tips about starting and keeping conversations going. I am shy by nature, and found introducing myself on paper almost as difficult as in real life.


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