Do you SWAP FB's, DECOS, SLAMS...? Yes, I do.

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


NSW=New Swappers Welcome
NPW=New (Pen)Pals Welcome
NMW=New Mailers Welcome
SNNS=Sorry No New Swappers
SNNP=Sorry No New (Pen)Pals
SNNM=Sorry No New Mailers
ASAP=As Soon As Possible
TC=Take Care
HF=Have Fun
KS=Keep Smiling
BH=Be Happy
AS=Always Smile
NC=Never Cry
FF=Friends Forever
GFF=Good/Great Friends Forever
BFF=Best Friends Forever
LY=Love You
WS=Write Soon
SS=Swap Soon
NLM=Never Leave Me
NLY=Never Leave You

Fb Etiquette.

This page was suggested by Wendy from the USA who is pretty new to swapping and wants to know the do's and don'ts of fb swapping so that she wont offend anybody.


Most penpals who swap fbs do not want to write to people in prison. (Kirana for example when she was starting fb swapping got letters from prisoners in jail for everything including rape, and one guy was on Death Row for murder, and as you can imagine this is extremely disagreeable to most penpallers) so please DON’T SEND FBS TO PEOPLE IN PRISONS unless the person who the fb is made for, clearly states in the fb that it is okay for you to do so.


Write a small penpal advert about yourself (age, hobbies, pals that you want), and of course include your address. Please do not write abusive or rude things about other peoples interests or adverts, and fb swappers are not usually interested in receiving fbs containing swear words (like f***) or that contain sexually orientated adverts.


Never keep other peoples fbs for yourself remember they expect their full fbs to be returned to them, just as you expect yours to be.

Never fill up a fb with other people's names and address that you have written in the fb. This is not fair and is not the object of a fb. If you have lots of friends wanting new pals too, why not make them some fbs of their own?

Never rip out pages or add extra ones of your own.

Never redesign other people's books or make them into fbs for yourself. Make yourself some fbs of your own and send them out…

If you don’t want to sign a fb, don’t! Just write something like ' hello from Jane in the USA' or simply 'Jane passing' then send the fb on- other people want to sign the fb !

When a fb is full please, send it home, to the person it was made for, they will usually make fbs for you to say thank you, or refund your postage. Don't just pass the full fb on to a penpal who then will have to return it themselves without even returning it. (Only yesterday, on Dec. 22, Kirana got a full fb to return that had been full since 1998, which, although a extreme example, illustrates the problem. )

When signing a fb please write your address clearly, using block capitals or labels if you need to; people may well want to write to you, but cant if they are unable to read your address. Also, always write what country you live in, it is very hard to return a fb, or write to a pal, if you have to look up the city that they live in, on a world atlas to find what country they are in!

Don’t keep a fb for ages before passing it on, generally speaking you should only keep a fb for, at the very outside, one month, fbs should really be returned within a year, but to do this they have to be passed on pronto.

Do not EVER copy adverts out of fbs into your own magazine/newsletter. This may seem like a easy way to get a issue out fast but in the long run, the people whose names you have put in the magazine will not reply to who writes to them via your publication, therefore they are not quality adverts, as well as which once word gets around about this, people will not buy your newsletter.

Do not write to people via fbs and ask them for gifts, immigration stuff, etc. This happens to many fb swappers (for example, Kirana, currently unemployed and on Benefit, has had letters from Ghana and Morocco, demanding things like cars as gifts!) and it’s a common misconception in third world countries, that everyone in the West is rich and in a position to give them all they want. We are not! Some may be rich yes, but also there are many of us unemployed, students, or just scraping by here too!! Besides it is rude, and generates bad feeling to just write to someone out of the blue asking for expensive stuff!

Finally to warn everyone about the consequences of the habitual misuse of fbs, most fb swappers know many more fb swappers all over the world and word quickly will spread about any misuse of fbs, and people will soon stop writing to the person who has been misusing the fbs.

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