Back in March, a 15-year-old named Emily had the idea to start a Tumblr called Dear My Blank, where people could submit letters they wished they could send but never would.
Emily, who asked to be referred to by just her first name for the sake of keeping anonymity in her Tumblr community, told BuzzFeed News that for years she wrote letters to people that she never intended to send: parents, teachers, and most commonly, crushes.
"So I wanted to see if other people did this too," she said. "I created Dear My Blank and sent it around a bit and within the first week, I had about 300 submissions."
The vast majority of the letters are written to secret crushes, though some are to current significant others, family members, or the deceased.
"I think love is the strongest emotion, so it makes sense that so many people would want to write about it," Emily said. "And unrequited love is even more frustrating."
Emily, who said she lives in a small farming town in Ohio, quickly realized that the site wasn't only useful for people who wanted to write letters, but for those who wanted to read them, too.
"One of the first submissions I received I felt like it was straight out of my life, like I could have written it," Emily said.
She admitted she used to have a "massive" unrequited crush on her best friend, and one note said exactly what she wanted to say to him, and even used the same initials as her and her crush.
"No matter how isolating what you're going through may be, someone somewhere has gone through it too and knows exactly what you're feeling," she said. "It's easy to forget that."
The blog even got users talking to each other about their shared problems, an effect Emily said surprised her.
The teen added that people often reblog posts that resonate with them, and then the person who submitted it will reach out and write to them to give them advice, or just to commiserate.
"It just makes people feel less alone," Emily, who goes to high school online, told BuzzFeed News.
The site also accidentally helped requite some unrequited love. "One girl told me her crush saw something she posted about him, realized it was him, and emailed her," Emily said. "Now they've been dating for almost a month!"
The note reads, in part:
... I wish I could ask you how you feel, or tell you how I feel. But I'm a coward who's afraid of rejection ... I'm still holding onto the hope that you've just been busy, or even that you're as confused as I am ... because I don't want to let you go... not just yet.
Sincerely, C. (aka the girl who cares much more than she ever wanted to.)
From what Emily can tell, most of the submissions come from people between the ages of 16 and 24, and most of them take their letters pretty seriously.
"I try to post everything I receive, and for the most part, I have," Emily said, though she says she omits the more offensive notes and the occasional plagiarizers. "I've received a few notes that are from movies and stuff, which kind of defeats the point."
The blog has even helped give Emily some clarity for what she wants to do in the future.
"I'm hoping I can keep this up for a while, help more and more people see others with the same problems," Emily said, "but I also want to do that as a career, I think, do something that helps people."