Then I remembered a girl I used to like a few years ago. She was still around. I agonized over how to approach her. First I sent her a Valentine. She came up to me and said, “Oh, that was very sweet.” That seemed like a green light, so I started following her around. I noticed where she parked her car. One day I waited for her by her car. “Um … I was just wondering if you would like to go out with me sometime?” She looked down at the ground and (while I was planning our marriage and what to name our kids) she said, “Sorry, I already have a boyfriend.” I smiled politely, feeling so small that a cockroach could feast on me. As I walked away, I bit my big, white notebook as hard as I could, leaving huge tooth marks.
From “I just like you as a friend” by Daniel Weintraub, 18, Beverly Hills HS, March-April 1997
The first stage of the friend zone is denial. As we got closer, he started to ask me for advice about girls. On the phone he would say, “Oh man, I just farted.” Are you serious? I’m a girl too, can’t you hold back a little? I convinced myself that he mentioned girls to make himself seem unavailable, and therefore more desirable.
From “‘Just friends’ forever” by Michelle Paik, 16, Palos Verdes Peninsula HS, May-June 2008
Her best friend told her to leave him but she was so confused. Sometimes he was really sweet and she didn’t want to leave him. Other times, she was angry but she thought she loved him. She didn’t want to see him get beat up by somebody or arrested by the cops. She couldn’t really tell her parents—they thought he was a “nice boy.” When he hit her, it made it hard for her to think clearly, and she’d start to believe what he said. “He brainwashed me,” she said.
From “He seemed like the perfect boyfriend …” by Julissa Espinoza and Christy Buena, Los Angeles HS, March-April 2000
It’s been really important that L.A. Youth write about all sides of relationships, even the bad sides, to let teens know what to do if that sort of situation happened to them or a friend. “He seemed like the perfect boyfriend…” is about teen dating violence, which is still a problem.
It’s comforting knowing that you’re not the only one having problems. The wide range of stories in L.A. Youth covers almost every situation that teenagers have been in.