Every Rule You Should Follow When It Comes to Yearbook Etiquette

The end of the school year is almost here, which means there will soon be a fresh new stack of yearbooks to sign.

People tend to get a little signature-happy once the yearbook comes out, but there are certainly a set of rules you should follow (and encourage others to abide by) in regards to what you should and shouldn't do. For example, while writing "H.A.G.S." in someone's yearbook may have sufficed when you were in second grade, it isn't exactly a good, thoughtful enough message to write once you get to middle and high school.

Before you potentially commit some serious signing faux pas, check out this list of every rule you should follow when it comes to yearbook etiquette.

Avoid Typical Words and Phrases

It can be really tempting to exchange yearbooks with that girl who sits two rows behind you in biology, and simply write something like "Have a great summer" (H.A.G.S.), or "Can't wait to see you next year," but if someone gives you their yearbook to sign, try to steer clear of those overused words and phrases. Since comments like that have become so common, they've also been rendered pretty much meaningless, and if a classmate asks you to sign his or her yearbook, they're likely looking for something a bit more substantial. Try referencing that lab you worked on together or that class field trip you took. If you can't think of anything to say, try something like, "I'd like to get to know you better. I hope we're in the same science class again next year."


Don't Take Up a Whole Page of Someone You're Not Very Friendly With

Sometimes people have a tendency to try and outdo one another by seeing how much space they can take up in someone's yearbook, but try not to take up more space than you need to, especially if you're not particularly close to the person whose yearbook you're signing. For example, using an entire page to write a message to someone you're only acquaintances with, prevents others (who they might be more friendly with) from writing a meaningful message.

Keep in mind that most people would like to receive messages from many of their classmates, but there's only a limited amount of space for entries. If you have something really important (and lengthy) that you'd like to say to a good friend or classmate, try writing them a letter instead and tucking it into a page of their yearbook. That way, you get to convey everything you wanted to, and your pal still has plenty of space for signatures from others.

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Don't to Ask Someone to Sign Just Because

Asking someone to sign your yearbook just because is pretty tempting, especially since some people like to boast about getting a certain number of signatures, but do your best to resist that urge. For starters, it puts pressure on the person you're asking to come up with something meaningful and clever, and if you make a habit of approaching those you're not particularly close to, you run the risk of a having a yearbook full of meaningless "H.A.G.S." inscriptions.

While it may make you feel good to open up your yearbook and see pages full of signatures and messages, it's important to remember that quality over quantity is really what's important in this case. In other words, you'd rather have fewer messages from people you really care about, as opposed to more notes from those you may never interact with again.


Don't Deface Another Person's Photo or Inscription

This may seem obvious, but when signing another person's yearbook, don't draw on another classmate's photo or inscription. While you may find it harmless and funny, the person whose yearbook you're defacing could have a very different point of view, and likely won't appreciate you using this opportunity to bring others down. Furthermore, the person whose yearbook you've signed might then feel uncomfortable having others sign it knowing you've drawn something silly and potentially hurtful inside, where everyone can see. It's important to keep in mind that yearbooks (and the messages you write in them) are meant to serve as ways to document all you and your pals have accomplished over the course of the school year. They are not the place to be silly and make fun of others.

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Steer Clear of Writing Inside Jokes or Comments That Are Hurtful to Others

Just as you shouldn't draw something silly or hurtful in someone else's yearbook, you also shouldn't write something that could be upsetting to others. Again, you run the risk of other people seeing what you've written, thus making things awkward for whoever's yearbook you've signed. Plus, if and when you look back at your yearbook years from now, it likely won't make you feel too good to flip it open and see messages that were purposefully hurtful.

The same goes for inside jokes. While they might mean something to you now, chances are you'll forget their meaning in a few years and be left with a bunch of gibberish. Instead, stick to messages that really mean something and speak specifically to the nature of the relationship you have to the person whose yearbook you are signing. Messages like that will be much more special in the long run.


Don't Write Over Someone Else's Post

With a limited amount of space in any given yearbook, it can sometimes be tricky to carve out a portion in someone else's book for you to sign, but that's certainly no excuse to go ahead and write your message over someone else's. If you see space is becoming an issue in a pal's yearbook, let them know and ask how you should proceed. They may have other pages in mind where you can write your message, or they may prefer for you to write something outside the book and tuck it into one of the pages later. When in doubt, defer to the person whose yearbook you're signing.


For more end of the school year content, click HERE for a definitive ranking of the worst onscreen prom moments.