Kiwis have shared the letters they never sent

Publish Date
Wednesday, 13 September 2023, 10:21AM
Photo / 123RF

Photo / 123RF

A former friend, a missed connection, a guardian angel.

A regret we cannot shake, an opportunity missed, words we can’t take back.

In any life, there are people we wish we could reach back to or bridges we wish we could rebuild - but we never do. Now, a remarkable social media post is bringing Kiwis together to share the letters they never sent.

The heartfelt messages, some of which have been burdening the would-be senders for decades, have now seen the light of day on Reddit. They highlight the transformative power of kindness and show how fleeting moments can make bonds for life.

Here are some of those messages, beginning with the one that started it all.

‘You would always find me’

From Reddit user BlurryMindset: “To the boy from Waterlea Primary School (approximately 20 years ago): I don’t remember your name or who you were exactly, but I just remember that you were in the years above me (hence why I can’t find you in the class photo).

“Every lunch time or after school when I was roaming around lonely and alone in the field, you would always find me and initiate a game of some sort, whether it be rugby or just being on the playground. It’s one of my fondest memories of feeling seen and included, especially when we didn’t really know each other and also because I was truly so lonely both at school and at home. I don’t think I’ve met anyone like you or had an experience like that since.

“Whoever you are, wherever you are, I hope you are having an amazing life and are continuing to be that awesome young human from 20 years ago!”

Sign up to Coast's newsletter for exclusive prizes and to keep up to date with the latest.

‘Amazing human being’

From Reddit user ClutchBiscuits: “To the guy that stopped in the pouring rain to single-handedly push my broken down car to the closest gas station, after I’d sat there for 40 mins with zero electrics, waiting for AA, while people tooted and pulled the fingers at me as I cried…you’re an amazing human being and even after a hefty gym work out you weren’t too exhausted to help out a stranger.

“I wish you every happiness in life.”

‘I was such a terrible friend’

From Reddit user honebearhufflepuff: “To the girl in my class in intermediate. I found the card you signed ‘from your best friend’ and I cried.

“I’m so sorry I was such a terrible friend back then, I only had 2 of you and I didn’t know how to do it. The kids at that school f****d me up bad but I’m better and know how to look after my friends now. I’m sorry I couldn’t do it for you.” 

‘Big crush on you’

From Reddit user RantControl: “To the young woman who was hitching with her boyfriend many years ago.

“I was a teenager hitchhiking back to Wellington after spending my last money on a bus ticket back to Wellington. I missed the bus in Taupō and had nowhere to stay, so I had to hitch and made it as far as Sanson or Foxton.

“We were hanging out at the bus station while your boyfriend was trying to thumb a ride on the highway. You were really lovely and friendly, and I got a big crush on you. After quite a while, he got a ride. There was only room for two.

“You gave me money for the bus and wouldn’t let me send it back to you. It was late afternoon, and I probably would’ve been sleeping rough without your help. Thank you, I hope you are out there living your best life.”


‘She was the first’

From Reddit user DustNeat: “I was on an outdoors course, one of my first, and learning the ropes. I didn’t think I could go fast enough, I said I was giving it 100%, and the woman who was leading it said ‘You’ve got more in you, give it 110!’. Turns out I DID, and I LOVED it. I think about that whenever I have to do a hard thing.

“I realised that everyone else in my life had let me give up when I struggled. She was the first to call me out on it.”

‘Deeply dark time’

From Reddit user BJKWhite: “To the girl in the car next to me, when I was a sad and lonely and sick 16yo, waiting in my parents’ car in a Warehouse carpark because I was too tired and depressed to actually go into the shop: it’s three decades later and I still remember the big bright smile you gave me when I looked up and accidentally caught your eye.

“It didn’t magically solve all my problems but it was a happy memory in a deeply dark time of my life. It was a moment of human connection at a time when I was desperate need of that. You made a difference.”

‘I’ll never forget’

From Reddit user yamsnz: “To the woman in her 50′s who stared at me and my son having lunch in the food court in Dunedin for an hour.

“I was sure you were judging me for being a teenage parent, but when you got up, came over and told me I was a wonderful mother, doing a great job and it was a joy to watch me interact with my baby - it made my day.

“I was used to judgement and mean looks and I have thought of you often, I’m in my 30s now and he is a teenager but I’ll never forget your kind words.”

The young mother never forgot her kind words. Photo / Getty Images

‘Know you’re beautiful’

From another Reddit user: “To Cassandra, I’m sorry I called you ugly and even sorrier that you overheard me say it.

“I actually thought you were pretty hot and I wanted to be your boyfriend but 14-year-old me didn’t know how to deal with being teased about having a crush on someone.

“I like to think I would have been able to make it up to you, but I was asked to leave that school a couple of days after it happened so I never got the chance to try. I hope you didn’t internalise those horrible words and carry them with you, because they were never true!

“I often think of you, and how s****y it would make me feel to hear someone I thought was my friend say those words about me. Whenever I hear or see the question, ‘If you could go back in time and change something what would it be?’, I think of you.

“I will never not feel bad about what I said.

“One of us still owes the other a packet of B&H (I can’t remember which) but I don’t smoke any more. Remember Mr Sutherland snapped us writing IOU notes and we tried to play it off we were talking about Black Heart Lollies.. LOL

“I hope your life is f***ing awesome and you know you’re beautiful.”

We’ll always have the playground

From Reddit user RockyHorror02, briefly: “To that kid I met on the playground in Taupo when I was 8. We only knew each other for a day but it was awesome. It’s sad we never got to meet again.”

‘Deep down inside you already know’

From Reddit user Ivykite: “Hey Corey if you’re out there. Chris came to me in a dream after he died and he wanted me to tell you not to worry about him, that he’s ok. He just wanted his best friend to know that.

“For some reason, the dream felt so real to me as an 11-year-old old I got scared and never told you.

“Sorry about that. But I’m sure deep down inside you already know.”

Finally, from the food service industry

From Reddit user poursomesugaronu2: “To the person who ordered two gluten-free pizzas with only camembert and hot sauce on the left at 11pm at night…

“How are you doing? Are you okay?”


Do you have an unsent letter you wish you'd sent?


This article was first published by the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you