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The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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What to write in someone’s yearbook

Senior staff writer Charles Yu ponders what to write in a yearbook. Photo by Emma Chiu.
Senior staff writer Charles Yu ponders what to write in a yearbook. Photo by Emma Chiu.

Not knowing what to write in someone else’s yearbook can be stressful and even awkward. If you’re ever caught staring at a blank page, tapping your pen, you are likely to be perceived as an apathetic human being. Even if you truly are indifferent, out of general consideration you should still easily be able to contrive three sentences for someone (and yes, that’s three sentences minimum)! If this sounds like a daunting task, here are the solutions for the most common types of people you will have to ponder:

1. The kid you’ve talked to once this entire year

When someone puts you in this position, it can feel a bit unfair of them and you may think that they don’t deserve your time to write a message. However, chances are that this person is probably experiencing a bit of social anxiety and he or she, more than anyone, could use a nice sign-off. It’s fine to give a generic compliment to this person, as long as you genuinely feel there’s truth to in it! Example: “It was super fun having English with you this year. You always have really great things to say! Hope you have a fantastic summer :)”

2. A friend you used to be a lot closer with than you are now

Whether it was just a regular falling out or a specific awkward event, we have all lost a certain level of closeness with some friends. It’s fine to write about the good times you had with this person, even if they happened a while ago. Mention attributes of his or her character that you admire or accomplishments you know they will achieve in the future. If it’s someone you want to strengthen your friendship with, then express that. If it’s not, then don’t – the most important thing to remember in this situation is to be both friendly and honest.

3. A solid homie

Even if you know a person well, you can still find yourself thinking “I don’t know what to say!” How do you make it sound detailed yet not overdone, or funny yet sincere? An easy way to start is to talk about where you first met, and then go off about favorite memories from the past year (or anything from your K-12 history if you’re a senior). Try to throw in an inside joke you guys have shared, and be sure to mention why you like being friends with this person anyway. If you can’t think of anything, maybe that tells you something about your friendship.

4. That person you want to get with 😉

Again, it’s always good to talk about how you spent time together the past year. Mention how fun he or she is to be around or how much they make you laugh. Although a list of qualities shouldn’t consist of the entire message, compliments are KEY. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can list a bunch of adjectives and slip in the word “pretty” or “attractive.” They’ll definitely get the picture and if they’ve ever been slightly interested in you, their desire to hit you up over the summer will definitely increase. If this risk sounds daunting, keep in mind that the worst that would happen is that the person you like will be flattered but won’t reciprocate feelings. Low risk, high reward!

5. Your best friend to whom no amount of writing could ever do justice

For these types of people, you wonder, “Where do I even begin?!” Sometimes it might feel hard because you’ve written the same thing for them over the past 10 years in birthday cards, Christmas cards and let’s not forget old yearbook signings. The thing to remember about this case is that you need to let go of the expectation that this yearbook signing has to be perfect. It doesn’t have to flow well. It doesn’t have to be the deepest thing you’ve ever written to your friend. Feel free to combine all of the advice from the last four points. Just remember that your friend knows how awesome you are and no mediocre yearbook signing is going to change their positive perception of you.

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Emma Chiu, Author

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    MeganMay 22, 2019 at 11:06 pm

    This is obviously really old but super helpful and I most definitely don’t go to your school but I’m glad I came across your website. Nice journalistic work 🙂 keep it up!