How to Write an ‘Open When You’re Bored’ Letter


Before we help you write an “open when you’re bored” letter, let’s take a moment to describe how an “open when” letter works. 

Jump ahead to these sections:

First, as the writer, you complete a series of letters, each with a different topic. Examples of “open when” letters may include “open when you are sick” or “open when you miss me.” Next, you tuck each note in an envelope labeled for the specific situation. Before sealing the envelope or box, place small gifts or goodies inside. Finally, give all of the envelopes to your loved one with instructions to open only under those specific circumstances.

Let us help you complete an “open when you’re bored” letter for a friend, spouse or significant other, or family member. 

Steps for Writing an ‘Open When You’re Bored’ Letter

It may have been months or years since you wrote your last letter. We understand that you may feel rusty writing something other than for school or work. For that reason, let us help you with the letter-writing process to help you get started. 

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1. Think about the purpose and tone of the letter before you start writing

Not all of your “open when” letters should sound the same. You could make the tone of the “open when you’re bored” letter more playful and fun than the “open when you need to be reminded how much I love you” or “open when you are mad at me” letters. 

If you write these notes all in one sitting, you may have to switch gears each time the topic changes. The purpose of this note is to entertain or to inform. 

2. Think about your loved one’s likes and interests, then give ideas on filling the time

This note may include a series of suggestions on how your loved one can fill some free time. Think about what you know about the person before you offer ideas.

3. Make the letter as entertaining as possible by including funny stories, memories, cartoons, or printed memes

Write a lengthy letter or note to take up your bored friend’s time. 

4. Write!

Everyone suffers from writer’s block every once in a while, but just start writing. Write the first words that you can think of, whether they make sense or not. You can go back later and edit once the ideas start to flow. Your loved one may enjoy reading your “stream of consciousness” approach to writing.

Topic or Activity Ideas for an ‘Open When You’re Bored’ Letter

You can make a short or long “open when you’re bored” letter. You can also experiment with formats and topics. Read through our suggestions. 

1. Create a list

Make a list of things that your loved ones can do to fill time. Add silly suggestions, such as “Make a rubber band ball,” or include realistic ideas like “Call me!”

You could also make a list of specific TV episodes to watch or songs to add to a playlist. If your loved one reads, offer some book ideas.

2. Create a personalized word search

Look for free websites that allow you to create a personalized word search. Use words for the custom-made puzzle that will make your loved one smile. 

3. Write the note in code

Learn some basic code techniques and write a short note using this method. Even if the message isn’t profound or entertaining, your loved one can at least fill some time figuring out the puzzle.

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4. Share memories

One of the best ways to entertain a person: Remind your loved one of the unforgettable memories you have shared. Writing these memories down will not only entertain your loved one, but it would also act as a written record of fun times for you to look back on later.

5. Ask your loved one to write a letter to you

Provide your loved one with a blank sheet of paper and a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Ask your loved one to write a letter to you with no excuses not to complete this task. After all, your loved one opened it due to boredom! 

You may also offer supplies to write a card to your grandma or someone else who could benefit from a cheery message.

6. Offer a list of funny, inspiring, encouraging, or silly quotes

Peruse your favorite quote book or website and create a list of your favorites. Share your favorite passages from the Bible as well.

Gifts for an ‘Open When You’re Bored’ Letter

Some people choose to include small gifts in their “open when” letters. For example, you may choose to add a peppermint tea bag or some other relaxing gift in your “open when you’re stressed” letter. 

You could add:

1. Cash

Sometimes people get bored because they can’t spend money on an item or activity that would fill their time. Give your loved one some cold, hard cash to spend on a night out on the town.

2. Puzzle book

Are you not sure what type of puzzles your loved one likes? Get a book that has a variety, from word searches to Sudoku. 

3. Drawing books

Even those who have questionable artistic ability can learn to draw. Give your family member a drawing book and a few simple art supplies.

4. Joke book

Give your loved one a book of jokes, cartoons, or some other type of light reading material. 

» MORE: Your family has 500 hours of work to do after you die. Learn how to make it easier.

5. Movie gift card

A bored person may like to kill a few free hours by going to a movie. Give money to buy a movie ticket and popcorn. 

6. Craft kit

Gather the supplies your friend would need to complete a simple craft. 

7. Candy

Don’t you like to eat candy when you’re bored?

8. Nail polish

Include a self-care item like a face cleansing mask, nail polish, or a relaxation gift in the package with your note. 

9. Clorox wipes

Some people do their best cleaning when bored. Include a container of Clorox wipes in the “bored” care package to encourage your family member or friend to sanitize her home.

10. Puzzle

Some people get so involved in completing a puzzle that they spend hours of their lives on the project. If your friend or family member has the space for a puzzle, this might be a great idea to include in the “bored” package. 

Sample ‘Open When You’re Bored’ Letters

Struggling to get your ideas on paper? Read through some snippets of sample letters to get you started. Remember, your friend, family member, spouse, or partner wants to hear from you, so make sure your note sounds authentic. 

Example for a best friend

“If you are reading this letter, that means you are bored. My mom always said, ‘Only boring people get bored.’ You probably didn’t open this letter in the hopes of getting harassed, so here is a list of ideas of how you can fill your time. 

  1. Make some cookies (and send half to me).
  2. Clean out your closet (and let me go through your clothes before you donate them).
  3. Doodle.
  4. Watch ‘Seinfeld.’
  5. Learn three new phrases in Spanish.
  6. Call me!”

Example for a partner or spouse

“You’re bored? I wish we were together. I’m sure we could think of something entertaining to do. 

Speaking of entertaining, do you remember that first trip to Vegas we made right after we graduated from college?“

Example for a family member

“You’re bored? ‘Hi, bored! I’m your mom!’ Haha. You knew that was coming, didn’t you?

You’ll find some cash in this envelope. Take the money and go to the driving range or buy something you don’t need at Target. You could always write a letter to Grandma. You know how much she loves to hear from you.”

You Could Offer This Strange Suggestion 

If your friend, family member, or spouse has nothing to do, why not suggest that they complete an end-of-life plan? We know this sounds strange, or you may think it sounds a bit morbid. But hear us out before you dismiss the idea.

We will all die someday. At some point in time, someone will make decisions on what happens to your body. Do you want a say in those choices? I know I do.

Encourage your loved one to visit Cake, the ultimate end-of-life planning website. They’ll quickly discover that funeral planning isn’t only for a 90-year-old grandma. While we all should hope for a good, long life, others will know your choices will be known by others if something unexpected happens.

Select your funeral flowers and music. Choose the menu for the repast and leave special instructions on how you wish your friends and family members to dress. Tell your family that you want to have your cremated remains scattered under your favorite tree in the backyard of your grandparent’s home. 

You can update your plans periodically as your situation changes throughout your life. 

Completing your end-of-life planning isn’t a morbid activity. As you think more about the end of your life, it may encourage you to live life fully. Instead, you will grasp each moment as an opportunity for truly making a difference. 

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