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Writing was a way for people who lived far apart to learn about each others' lives.

They might be "introduced" through a school project, a fan club, a group interested in travel, or one of many other ways. By exchanging letters, they shared mutual interests and taught each other about different cultures, religions, and lifestyles.

While old fashioned pen and ink has been replaced by email or IMs, pen pals can turn into a perspective love connection.

Time-wasters will chat to you about nothing at all for ages – it now feels more effort trying to meet guys through Tinder,” admits Elena, 27. “Men chat for weeks without ever asking for your number.

Pen pals seem like an archaic idea in the world of instant connections.

But there is something unique about learning about another person through letters.

Members might e-mail back and forth many times before deciding to meet.

But this stage is usually brief, with an in-person meeting the definite goal. Can a relationship based on letters turn into the real thing? There are lovely stories from wartime about soldiers falling in love with pen-pal sweethearts.

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