What is Swapping???

When you exchange snail mail letters ("old-fashioned" letters handwritten and sent via postage mail) with your pen pals, you may receive a small, usually handmade booklet with many names and addresses signed in it. It's a friendship book, FB for short.

These usually consist of a small booklet of papers stapled together. There is a great variety of FB's, some are very simple, others are very creative. I have seen people make them out of scrap paper. Others are neatly cut fancy paper and embossed with rubber stamps. It will fit in an envelope. Many pen pals trade FB's. They are passed from person to person. Each person adding her name and address (many times by adding an address label).

This is also called "swapping". Swapping is another name for trading. Most people add information about themselves too such as age, interests, hobbies, etc. Some write if they want new pen pals or swappers, and some add decorations like stickers.

When the book is full, it is mailed to the person it was made for. FB's are started as a way to thank a pal, to look for new pals, or just for fun. It's very interesting to get back a full FB, because you get to see all the places over the world it has been.

There are also other kinds of "FB's" such as friendship sheets, decos, slams, crams, lyrixes, and quotes. FB's require patience because they can take years to fill, so it's best not to do FB's too large because of waiting, and having hard time fitting them in envelopes. My suggestion is start out with a small booklet with about 5 pages. Swappers swap these by amounts ranging from 1-1000 or more. Some pen pallers begin to get bored with FB's and branch out to use their creative skills in other types of FB's like decos, slams, crams, lyrixes, and quotes.

There are many kinds of abbreviations, and you can see the common ones listed below. In the last page of FB, there is normally a page that states: Full? Return home to (the original owner)! That means that if you are the last one to sign, and there isn't any space left, you have to send the full FB to whoever it's made for.


Friendship sheets are just like FB's, but instead of a booklet format they are just one sheet of paper.


Slams are a bit like FB's. Inside cover is usually maker and owner. On the first page you write in your name and address, or stick your address label, usually next to a number. On each of following pages is a question like what's your favorite band? Or do you want new pen pals? Or look out your window and what do you see? You answer every question and write your answer next to your number. If you didn't sign in with numbers write next to your sign which can be for example a heart or star, but never the same as anyone else's in the slam! The idea is to have a symbol that identifies who you are without having to write out all your info other than on the first page. There are choice slams, fill in the blank slams, sticker slams, puzzle slams, and many more!


Crams are very little pieces of paper and you cram in as many names and addresses as possible, so you don't write any information about yourself or anything that will take up space. Just add your name and address. Crams might be many times just for labels. If you don't have any labels just pass.


Decos are like FB's. They are booklets, where everyone has her own page, but there's one difference-In deco you have to decorate your page very beautifully, not just with a sticker or two. The more beautiful the deco is, the better! Use your creativity. If you love scrap booking, this is a great thing for you. Decos usually portray things that you enjoy, but sometimes may have been started with a theme that you need to follow. So if the deco owner loves cats, and the theme is cats, then you need to make your page reflect the overall theme. Just try not to make your pages too thick. Try to remember these items are mailed, and it can become costly in the long run.


Lyrics are FB's where you write one of your favorite song's lyrics on your page or just a part of the song. It depends on the page's size and your handwriting. Of course you write your name and address in this too.


Quotz are VERY similar to lyrixes, only with these you sign with movie quotes. Some themes that have been held in the past on other lists are "Disney" "Favorite Actor" "Comedy" and "Hot Celebrity". Now's your chance to use up all of those celebrity magazines in the back of your closet!

When you receive a FB,(as well with slams, decos, lyrixes and crams) there are some basic DO's and Don'ts:

Search some empty space in FB, and write your name and address (and information if you want) there.
After signing read the FB through if there's someone you'd be interested corresponding with. If you'd like to start swapping with someone, but you are beginner and you don't have very many FB's or slams collected, it's best not to start with anyone who is heavy-swapper. Heavy swappers want to swap a lot FB's, or whatever they swap, once. So choose someone who is light-swapper or beginner.
Send it on to another snail mail pal, who isn't already listed.
If you receive a FB, which is full after you sign it, send it to its owner. Usually that person's name is in the cover of FB with words 'for'. Remember! The person, who has made the FB, isn't always the same who it was made for.
Do pass it on as soon as possible; don't let it hang around for months. If you can, send it on within a week.
When a FB is full, you must send it to its owner! Stealing the FB is silly when you can create your own, or have a pal create one for you.
Don't add any extra pages or numbers to avoid sending that FB back to its owner.
Don't remove any pages.
Don't write anything that might hurt someone.
Don't take up too much page space. It isn't nice if you are almost the only person in the FB.
Don't write to someone who doesn't want new pen pals. I am sure you'll find someone else to write.


A/A - Answers all
A/M - Answers most
A/O - Answers only
A/S - Answer some
Addy - Address
BBFN - Bye-bye for now
BD - Birth date
DOB - Date of birth
FB - Friendship book
EMS - E-mail soon
IRC - International reply coupon (you can send them to your Non-USA pals, they are gift certificates for postage stamps, you can get them at larger post offices, just ask!)
ICR - I can return (people who are willing to return the full fb home)
LL - Long letter
LLP - Long letter pals
LLO - Long letters only
LOL - Laugh Out Loud
LSASE - Long self addressed stamped envelope
NNPP - No new pen pals
No chains - Do not send chain letters
NPW - New pals wanted
PC - Post card
ROFL - Rolling On the Floor Laughing
SNNP - Sorry no new pals
SWA - Swaps with all
SS - Swap soon (referring to swapping fbs, slams or crams)
SASE - Self addressed stamped envelope
T/C - Take care
TTFN - Ta ta for now
TTYL - Talk to you later
VP - View card (another name for post card)
W/A - Wedding anniversary
W/B - Write back / Welcome Back
W/S - Write soon
W/W - Worldwide
WBSP - Write Back Soon Please

This information courtesy of: Frugal Village Penpals


January 8, 2004

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