From dating to dumping: the best (and worst) relationship advice from teen magazines

Posted by
Sarah Biddlecombe
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We learned a lot from reading teen magazines. From the no-nonsense beauty advice (“50 hairstyles to toast his crumpet!”) to the fashion-forward style guides (“how to dress like a mysterious girl!”), Mizz, Sugar, J17 and Bliss were our boyband-covered Bibles.

But our favourite bits, and the section we always flipped to first, were the problem pages. Here we learnt the tricks of the trade to guarantee our ability to snog a man, tame a man and – when he inevitably started passing notes to our best friend or criticising our hairstyle – ditch a man (and it was always a man – evidently, gay relationships didn't exist in 90s teen mags).

Of course, this was all years ago, so if you’re in need of a little love-life refresher course, look no further.

Here, we present the guide to the best – and worst – relationship advice from all of our favourite teen magazines, handily broken down dilemma by dilemma.

Read below to get started, and remember – however much in lurve you feel, you’d really be nowhere without your mates.

How to: be irresistible to boys

“No-one wants to appear over keen but the laidback approach could leave him thinking you’re not interested! Try a few extra smiles and glances at him – let him know how you feel without going overboard.” – Sugar, 1996

“Another useful expression is the pathetic appealing look, which brings out a boy’s protective instinct and has him desperate to get you another drink/help you on with your coat/give you a lift home. It’s best done by opening your eyes wide and dropping the mouth open a little, looking (hanging your head slightly) directly into the eyes of the boy you’re talking to. Practice this.” - Jackie, 1975

“Find out a bit more about him; you don’t want to waste all of those precious emotions on someone whose idea of fun is reading a good book on microbiology now, do you?” – Sugar, 1998

“We know it’s an old line, but try to remember that looks aren’t everything you know, an attractive personality is just as important.” - Jackie, 1975

How to: get asked on a date

“You could say something like, I’ve been invited to this wedding and I’ve got to take a partner and I just don’t know who to ask. Then you could look at him and smile sweetly.” - Jackie, 1975

“Call him up. Boys love it when girls ask them out, not for some ego trip, but just because it’s cool to feel wanted! Boys feel a lot of pressure to keep doing all the running and would appreciate a girl who’s feisty enough to make the moves now and again. Just call him up and ask if he fancies sharing a pizza with you!” - Sugar, 1996

Just call him up and ask if he fancies sharing a pizza with you!

“Some boys can be intimidating, especially ones you really fancy. But that shouldn’t stop you getting on in love! So if you find yourself clamming up and turning bright red when you’re with him, just imagine he’s one of your female mates! It’s a trick that will really help you to relax.” – Sugar, 1996

“Don’t just assume he can read the signs. You may have to be more direct. Talk to him. Ask him out. Even if he says no, what have you got to lose?” – J17, 1996

“Use ‘positive visualisation’ to get what you want with the power of your mind. If, say, you want to ask a lad out, just relax and focus on what you might say to him and how he might respond. Do this daily, varying what you say and where you meet. Visualisation will help you work out the best way to handle things.” – Sugar, 1998

How to: have the best date, ever

“A stress free date is purely a fab one. We all get dating nerves, but there’s a big difference between being nervous and being negative. So if you’re tempted to convince yourself that you look awful or you’re boring… STOP! When you have a downer of a thought, try to make yourself think the exact opposite. Quit doubting yourself and change the way you date, forever!” – Sugar, 1996

“Don’t plan what you’re going to say beforehand. Just make some casual remarks.” - Jackie, 1975

“When a fellow takes a girl out, the better she looks, the more he’ll enjoy himself. Naturally, it’s nicer to be able to look across the table at someone pleasing to the eye. And, if his date elicits admiring glances from the surrounding gentry, a guy feels flattered in the bargain.” – Seventeen, 1950

How to: maintain a perfect relationship

“Stop being a walkover. When you really like him it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking he’ll go off you if you don’t keep agreeing with him. In fact, most boys can’t handle girls who don’t express their own opinions. So speak your mind!” – Sugar, 1996

“I don’t like girls who are always wanting you to give a big demonstration of how you feel around them, especially when their friends are around.” - Jackie, 1975

“Sure, he’s lovely, total fanciable in fact, and if you don’t see him everyday you get withdrawal symptoms, but you should never neglect your friends. Having a boyfriend isn’t the be all and end all and should things go wrong you’re gonna be pretty lonely without your mates, aren’t you?” – Sugar, 1996

How to: dump him

“Being single doesn’t equal loneliness and misery. On the other hand, being with someone who is mean to you does! Whatever your boyfriend says, you deserve someone a million times better than him. Someone who’ll like and respect you and won’t put you down just so he can feel big… Be a real friend to yourself and leave him straight away!” - J17, 1997

“Be honest about how you feel and explain you still want him as a friend, but no more. He might not react the way you want him to, but if he gets a bit hurt or feels rejected, it won’t be because you weren’t straight with him.” – Sugar, 1998

How to: handle rejection

“You thought you were in with a chance with a guy, but he found someone else – that’s all. It’s his loss! You took a chance and it didn’t come off. That makes you much more courageous than someone who never takes risks.” - J17, 1997

“Start off by asking a close friend round to help you try and work out just where you’re going wrong. Have you been choosing the wrong sort of blokes to have a relationship with? Do you come on too strong and end up driving them away? Do you expect too much too soon? Be honest with yourself and I bet you can come up with a new way of looking at the lads in your life – and meeting someone who’s right for you.” - Sugar, 1996

“Everyone has doubts about their looks from time to time, but before you write yourself off, take a good look around you. People come in all shapes and sizes, and the ones that stand out are the good friends in life, or the people that make you laugh, or those who are just nice. The idea that only beautiful people get the breaks is a fantasy.” - J17, 1997

“Eek! Sounds like your self-respect tank is running on empty. Of course, when you’re mad about someone it’s hard to extract them from the lurve lobe of the brain. But we all have to make difficult decisions that work to our advantage in the long run.” - J17, 1997

When you’re mad about someone it’s hard to extract them from the lurve lobe of the brain

“Think of all the things you used to enjoy doing and start doing them again. Whatever you do, resist the temptation to throw yourself at the feet of every available boy in an attempt to feel loved and wanted again. You’re worth more than that.” – Sugar, 1998

“If you’d like to give him one last chance, send him a friendly text… And if he doesn’t reply, delete his number as he’s not worth your time or effort.” – Mizz, nineties

How to: get over heartbreak

“It’s over. Arrgggh! You’ve cried enough tears to last a lifetime and you’ve filled pages of your diary with tales of torn emotions. Will the pain ever go? Can you ever feel normal again? Yes, slowly you will get over him. No matter how much you cared about him, you’ve got to care about yourself more.

You’ve got to resist the urge to call him or follow him around. Write him a letter explaining how you feel and put it somewhere safe instead of posting it. Then remind yourself about his faults. There were some. Oh yes there were!” - Sugar, 1998

“Give him the graffiti treatment. Treat your ex’s piccie to a Tippex ‘n’ black felt tip makeover – blackened teeth, zits, bosoms, the works! Childish, yes, but oh soooo satisfying.” – Sugar, 1996

“Don’t miss out on a really good relationship by pinning your hopes on someone as stupid as this guy.” – Sugar, 1996

No matter how much you cared about him, you’ve got to care about yourself more

“Dwelling on your heartbreaker can bash your self-confidence and stop you finding someone new. Instead, focus on the loser’s bad points and on a new boys good points. It’ll help shift your affections, trust us!” – Sugar, 1996

“Rather than turn your bedroom into a shrine to your ex, cover the walls with posters of hot boys and see how he compares with some real men!” – Sugar, 1998

How to: be happily single

“Why don’t you relax, stop trying so hard and just be yourself? If you’re constantly worrying about boyfriends then you can end up getting yourself in a right tizz and this puts a strain on you whenever you spend time with mates at school or when you go out…. [Getting a boyfriend] will happen, so don’t waste time worrying about when. In the meantime, enjoy having good times with your mates, and indulge in the age old pleasurable activity of having loads of crushes – always good for passing the time.” - Sugar, 1998

”Get yourself a fab new haircut, try on shed-loads of clothes in all your favourite shops or experiment with a whole new makeup look – just pamper the blues (and him) right outta your life!” – Sugar, 1996

“A marriage license is no longer a stay-at-home guarantee. Your only real security is what you go out and get for yourself.” – Seventeen, 1945

“There's nothing as good as hanging out with your mates. Who knows you better? Who else can you moan, gossip and laugh with? Have fun! There’s a whole wide world out there and it’s just crammed full of things to do and people to see. Hurrah!” – Sugar, 1996