Selena Gomez: I've Never Been in Love

06/16/2009 at 09:45 AM EDT

Selena Gomez: I've Never Been in Love
Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato

Sure, she's been linked to some of Hollywood's hottest teens – do the names Nick Jonas and Taylor Lautner ring any bells? – but Selena Gomez says she hasn't ever been in love.

"I think everybody has their own interpretations of love," she tells PEOPLE in a special issue on newsstands Friday that is dedicated to Gomez and her best friend Demi Lovato. "I've cared a lot for people. I don't believe I've been strictly in love."

Gomez, whose Disney Channel movie, Princess Protection Program, will air on June 26, isn't giving any clues as to who those guys she's cared for are – and whether New Moon's Lautner is one of them.

"We're good friends and we're shooting projects in Vancouver," she said in May when she was filming Ramona and Beezus. "I love meeting new people and I love being friends with people in the business."

Any chance they're more than friends? "I can't really say," Gomez says, coyly.

While she may still be learning the ropes of romance, the Wizards of Waverly Place 16-year-old star says she has figured out the secret to finding – and keeping – good friends like Demi and her pal Taylor Swift.

"I've cut out the people who I don't need in my life. I realized I should surround myself with people who make me smile," she says. Part of that, according to Lovato, is putting girlfriends before boyfriends.

"I'm very protective of our friendship," Lovato, 16, says, adding that if the girls were ever interested in the same guy, "I think I'd be like, 'You can have him, because I don't want to ruin our friendship.' Then she'd be like, 'No, you can have him,' and then we'd end up not liking him."

For more on Selena and Demi, pick up the special issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday. Also, check back tomorrow for an exclusive video with Selena, only on PEOPLE.com

With reporting by MONICA RIZZO


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