For better or for worse, everyone has gone through a phase. Body glitter? Check. Frosted tips? Check. Telling yourself you're not into labels but desperately wanting everyone's attention? Check. Luckily, this awkwardness growing up is universal. We've all gone through it. Here are some of the most embarrassing teenage phases you've probably gone through, too.
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#1 Being Random
I was that guy trying to be as random as possible in an attempt to be funny.
#2 Crushes on Teachers
Crushes on teachers and actively pursuing my coach romantically while I was under 18. He leaned into it a bit. I think he liked the attention and flirting, but looking back... yeesh. Essentially it led to something when I was 19, but I was just... grossly persistent and embarrassing. It makes me think about how clearly unfinished my brain was.
#3 Cat Ears
In high school, I would wear cat ears to school. Every. Single. Day.
There were a good few years during ages 12-15 where I tried to convince everyone including myself that I was a robot. I have no idea why. I had all these explanations as to how I grew and how my brain was actually a computer. During truth or dare my biggest secret was always "I am actually a robot." So cringey. Everyone thought I was trolling but to be honest I actually believed it myself. Now looking back I kind of view those times as undiagnosed mental issues that presented in weird ways, but by God, everyone thought I was the weirdest person ever and I don't even blame them!
#5 Pale Goth
The only goth dressed all in white.
#6 Classic Rock/Metal Phase
Classic rock/metal phase in early middle school. Back then I found out my crush who was 4 years older than me liked Pink Floyd so I thought that letting him know that I listened to them too would get him to notice and talk to me. So I drew the Dark Side of the Moon album art on an A4 paper with colored pencils (because I wasn't able to print it and I wasn't able to buy any merch) and put it in my binder and just kept walking past him while holding the binder. Spoiler alert: that didn't work.
#7 Bowl Haircut
Bowl haircut parted down the middle with the McDonald's arch in the front.
#8 Long Hair
A girl I went out with asked me to grew my hair long. I complied. She eventually left me, and I thought, "Hey, this girl likes men with long hair, pretty sure others do as well." Nope. I wasn't successful with women until after I got my hair cut. Thinking back, my hair was quite silly.
#9 Indie Music
POP MUSIC BAD. INDIE MUSIC GOOD. Of course, my idea of 'indie' was Radiohead, completely invalidating my existence.
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#10 Hollister Clothing
I was not (and currently am not) attractive. However, I was in middle school when the pop the collar, wear a random tie around your neck for no reason phase was super popular. I wear cargo shorts and MN twins T-shirts, EXCLUSIVELY at this time. I showed up to school wearing an untucked, button-down shirt, Hollister t-shirt, American eagle shoes, and a random tie around my neck.
Girl I had a crush on approaches me before I even get to my locker and says "lookin good Scott!" I open my locker, look in my mirror, sigh, and took off the tie. Never wore that Sh*t ever again. it was a shameful day, but one that I am still proud of in the end.
#11 Gold Chains
I'm a super white ginger dude who is not cool at all. I used to wear a gold chain in high school and actively "studied" on how to be hip. I hate it, I hate thinking about it, and I hate you for making me think about it again.
Is self-righteous a phase? I was utterly convinced that because I did volunteer work, I was a good person. Despite my behavior being not particularly nice. It ebbed eventually. Luckily, being a not-so-nice person doesn't have as much picture evidence as some of the other phases.
#13 Personality Woes
When I thought my sexuality was my personality. I wiped everything from my social media accounts purely because of all the cringe.
#14 Emo Phase
I went through an emo phase in high school. I was jamming to Stick Stickly by Attack Attack every single day. I thought I was capable of anything while also being too socially awkward to ask for extra ketchup at a restaurant. I looked androgynous and basically hate every photo of myself prior to the last year of high school when I became self-aware. Happy to say I no longer look anything like I did back then so I don't think anyone who knew me back then will recognize me.
#15 An Otaku
I was an otaku who said unironically "nyan" and called all my friends their names but ended with "chan". Thank god it was just a phase.
#16 Hype Beast
Early 2000s thug/hype beast. Forced my parents to buy me all the stupidly expensive clothes by rappers. The brands mattered so much to me and I thought they mattered to others too. I would legit count the total number of brands I owned constantly. I also wore a slanted headband and tucked my cuffs in my socks. I even tried to learn patois at one point. I did go to a ghetto school but my upbringing wasn't ghetto at all.
#17 Scene Kid
Being a “scene kid” but don’t you DARE call me a scene kid, because labels are for soup cans. But also please I’m so desperately trying to be scene and acknowledge that, just not out loud.
#18 Jewish and Star Wars
When I was about 10-13: I had an extremely Jewish phase, then I realized all of it was to make other people happy, not me, so I stopped.
When I was 18-19: I had a Star Wars/Jedi Knight phase. I went for the hippie braided hair and beard look, wore a Jedi robe, became vegetarian, carried a light saber, talked about sensing disturbances in the Force, and the girl I was dating was mostly unaware of Star Wars and thought I was developing schizophrenia.
Pretending that I was an alien disguised as an earthling sent to this planet to observe humans through friendship. I don’t know how those who became my friends during that phase stayed my friends. Also, I’m thankful I don’t remember much of it.
#20 Twilight Saga Phase
Twilight Saga phase. I can't wrap my mind around the idea of why I thought it would have been a good idea to whip out the good old Photoshop CS2, desaturate my skin, overlay yellow over the eyes and upload that onto Facebook as a profile picture. Didn't look anything like a Cullen vampire at all.
#21 Pauly Shore
I watched too many Pauly Shore movies and adopted some of his catchphrases.
#22 Long, Blonde Hair
I saw a dude on MTV's Road Rules vs Real World with frosted tips. Mind you this is like 1998/99. I thought he looked really cool. My barber did not do this. So I would shave my head, let it grow out a bit, and then dye my hair blonde. Then let it grow out some more. I thought it looked cool at the time, but I saw a picture like 10 years later and oh my God it was horrible. Also didn't help that Eminem was getting popular at the time so people thought I was just trying to do the Eminem thing.
#23 Dark Poems
I wrote poems and songs about my boyfriend (now fiance) when we first got together in our early teens. He still has the darn papers and hides them from me so I can't throw them away. I cringe so hard remembering the stuff I wrote.
#24 Metalhead Loner
I was a metalhead loner. I had hair down to my shoulders (I'm a dude) and listened exclusively to the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, and Lamb of God to name a few. Assumed all other music was garbage, and only really started to appreciate other music when I went to university and made friends.
#25 Korn Posters
I used to say I was a metalhead but I only listened to System Of a Down. I had a Korn poster in my room but I didn't know a single song of them.
#26 Lopsided Ginger Afro
A brief period in the late 90’s where I had a lopsided white-girl afro (all natural, carrot red... think Little Orphan Annie but way bigger) and wore MuuMuus and old lady house dresses, with 10-hole Doc Martin’s. I can’t even justify it by saying it was done ironically, or that other kids were doing the same.
#27 Another Scene Kid
Being a scene kid. Walking around town listening to Blood on the Dance floor with a “free hugs” sign and yelling RAWR at people... I cringe at the thought of it. What was I even thinking. I would literally punch someone in the face if someone did that to me now.
#28 Wangster Phase
It's definitely gotta be the wangster phase at about 17, where I started wearing pro-club tall T's and baggy pants, had both ears pierced, fitted baseball caps with the sticker still on. Lmfao. I even had a chain at one time. This was all circa 2008. Before that, I was kind of emo/skater but that wasn't as bad I thought.
#29 Lonely Sideburns
There was a time in my mid-teens where I could grow my sideburns out but no other facial hair to accompany it. I thought the sideburns looked cool on their own, but upon further review, they did not.
#30 Anarchist Phase
I had an anarchist phase. This was actually an indirect response to growing up atheist (both my parents are atheist) in a community where a good 85 percent of people are very religious. I stole spray paint and put up some Anarchy signs, and later in school, we had to read lyrics from songs we liked. So I picked Anti-flag's Die for your Government.
I just read it straight-faced with no commentary or anything. The teacher just said, "WELL OK... that song has a very strong message, I'm glad to see you identify with something." Her approval was the beginning of the end of that phase. Man, I was doing that stuff for shock value! I feel like this is where I mention my first career job was... for the government.
#31 Today's Music Sucks Phase
"I was born in the wrong generation because today's music sucks" phase in high school.
#32 Self-Taught Parkour
Climbing dangerously high buildings and objects attempting self taught parkour, sometimes with my hood up. I was a big Assassin's Creed fan. I cringe because I look at some of the things I climbed at 12 thinking I was so stupid I could have easily gotten seriously hurt. Never had any serious injuries thankfully just the odd grazed knee or bruise.
Mid-90s Rude Boy Ska. Long, plaid skater shorts, dress shirt and suit jacket, dumb hat, skank circles.
#34 Van Hoodies
I used to wear big bulky headphones and vans hoodies everywhere, even during the summer. To be honest, I think it was a result of my insecurities regarding my self-esteem, so I covered everything up, so no one would have to see how awful (in my mind) I looked. I was overreacting. I still have that feeling to this day though, and It’s unfortunate.
#35 Depressing Poetry
The depressing poetry. I was 14 and that was deep.
#36 Video Games
Video game addiction that caused me to miss out on some potentially good memories and fed into my social anxiety. As an example, a cute girl in my precal class was like, "Jonah, who are you asking to homecoming? I may just go with friends unless someone asks me..." While I'm sitting there thinking about Knights of the Old Republic or something.
#37 Smosh Fan
I was a huge smosh fan and shipped "Ianthony," inherited a Ianthony blog, evolved into shipping Thorki, began roleplaying as Thor, began fanfiction.
Definitely the whole emo/scene thing. Although I was largely just trying to get girls. The girls I was into at that time were into it and seemed to only be into guys that were also into it. So I made myself like that. Luckily, I never did anything life-altering like gauging out my ears or getting a band tattoo. But I definitely dressed like an idiot and listened to some pretty terrible music.
Worst part is that it didn't even work. I think they could sense that I wasn't really that way and was just sort of hanging out and trying to be accepted. Which in hindsight, was a blessing in disguise. A few of those girls that I was like obsessed with turned out to be absolute train wrecks in adulthood.
#39 Rejected Emotion
I rejected emotion as an option when responding to things and when my own mother even approached me with an even slightly emotional response I would cut her off to say, "That's an emotional response, let's talk when we can both speak logically." That phase lasted a few months before I finally got back on track and understood emotions are good.
#40 Quoting Depressing Lyrics
I use to quote depressing lyrics on Myspace to let my girlfriend know I hated being with her but I didn't have the courage to break up with her. When she would ask why I wrote that I'd bluff and say "It's just a song, lol."
Existentialist, goth, a poet with an interest in "witchcraft," tarot cards, vampires, etc. The whole enchilada, I really left no cliché unturned. I have no idea how I got so far down that rabbit hole since I didn't even know anyone else who was that into this stuff.
I LOVED WWF growing up. I had a couple of cassettes with some of their walkout music. If my mom was sitting around with her friends, I would put on a song, usually Stone-Cold, Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels, then proceed to "walk-out" acting like them, standing on a random item and raise my hands to the crowd. I would take it as far as I could before the embarrassment took over and I would hide in shame.
#43 Frosted Tips
#44 Bandana Head
Bandana tied around my head with a knot at the front. I was real into Tupac but nobody told me I was a white boy from a rural farm community. Oy.
#45 X Tattoos
I used to draw X’s on my knuckles because I thought it made me hardcore.