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L.A. Youth writers share their advice on dating and asking someone out.

Girls, when a guy asks you out, try not to be too harsh when you tell him you’re not interested. You could say “I see you only as a friend,” “I think you’re really cool but at this time I’m not looking for a relationship,” or “You’re really awesome but I just don’t see us meshing.” Try to be nice when you’re gonna turn down a guy because it’s nervewracking enough to ask you out.
Luis Pineda, 16, Hollywood HS

Be friends before you start dating. When both people know each other from the start of a relationship, there are no pretenses or skewed expectations. Everything will be more natural and fun. No matter what happens, whether feelings start to fade or not, at least you will know you have a good friend.
Edison Mellor-Goldman, 16, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies

On a date it is important to be organized. You don’t want to go somewhere and have no idea what you’re doing, so plan ahead!
Stacey Avnes, 13, Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies

Illustration by Raymond Carrillo, 18, Polytechnic HS (Sun Valley)

One time my friend had to ask out a girl he liked when she was in a big group of other girls. When he asked, the girl was really mean and he got his feelings hurt. My advice is to the person being asked out, take it easy and don’t embarrass the other person.
Aerick Newman, 14, CALS Early College HS

Don’t try to look like a big shot or be a show-off; it’s annoying. It seems like you’re trying to get me to like you for the wrong reasons and if we had a relationship it would be superficial.
Sarah Lacey, 17, The Linden Center

Tell people the truth, even if it will hurt them. Especially if they like you but you don’t like them back, because eventually you’ll have to tell them and that will hurt more—on top of not being liked, they were lied to.
Gabe Andreen, 15, Pilgrim School

I met a girl while I was working with my mom and she asked me for my number. I gave it to her and she called an hour after we left. She calls every day. Wait at least a day to call because if you don’t, you’re rushing it and sound desperate.
Cameron Warfield, 13, Wildwood School

Don’t get in a routine. Choose diverse themes for your date—be creative and spontaneous and use your imagination. For example, instead of the average “dinner and movie” date, go to the beach or an amusement park. If you both have dogs, walk them together. There is a world of activities to pursue in L.A. so why bother getting in a routine!
Brett Hicks, 16, Loyola HS

Guys, please don’t ask us out in front of a crowd. One of my friends asked me to a school dance in the middle of class. I would have loved to tell him I didn’t dance (read: I am a giant klutz) but still wanted to hang out with him, but the whole class was listening in! So I just mumbled, “Uh, I don’t dance.”
Emily Clarke, 14, Palisades Charter HS

It’s important when you have a boyfriend or girlfriend to be friendly with their friends. I have a friend whose boyfriend ignores us completely. He doesn’t make any effort to be nice or to get to know us. This makes us feel like our friend shouldn’t be dating him, because he comes across as harsh and mean.
Chelsea McNay, 15, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies

It’s said that girls like confident guys, but cockiness and arrogance turns us off. We have already noticed (or will soon notice) whatever flaws you’re hiding, and if we still talk to you it means we’re fine with them. What you may think is unattractive could be some girl’s fantasy, so just accept all of yourself and know that someone else will too. People who don’t like you for you won’t be fun on dates anyway.
Sylvana Insua-Rieger, 16, Beverly Hills HS

Click here to read Daniel’s story about looking for comfort after getting dumped by his girlfriend.

Click here to read Stacey’s story about her awkward first date.