Prom night is a milestone towards adulthood for most teens, just like graduation or a sweet sixteen party.
Oftentimes it’s a night of magic, nostalgia and fun, so if things happen to turn sour and you get rejected, it can feel devastating.
If you’ve ever asked someone to dance and they told you no, or tried to ask your crush out on a date only to discover they already have one, you probably already know how it feels.
Don’t worry though, you’re not alone, and there are ways you can deal with it so your prom is still every bit as fun as you imagined in spite of a rejection.
“Will you go to the prom with me?” It seems easy enough to say, but it can be a challenge to get the right words out. Some people go all out with a “promposal” – an elaborate, bold and attention-getting effort to show the one they’re asking out how much they appreciate them.
This can involve everything from buying expensive flowers and chocolates to leaving cards in your school locker. Of course, saying no to someone who has obviously put a lot of hard work into their promposal, or being rejected after making your own promposal, can be difficult to say the least.
The best thing to remember is to be polite and tactful when saying no. You’re not obligated to go out with them, but being rude or abrupt will only make them feel bad, and if this person is a good friend to you, you don’t want to risk losing that friendship over a prom.
Try to avoid rejecting them through a third party (example, getting your friend or parents to reject the person on your behalf), and don’t reject through texts or emails, either. Doing it in person shows that you at least cared enough about them to be honest and open with them about why you’re not ready to commit yourself to being their prom date.
If you are just thrown off by the word “date” but you still like this person as a friend, you can always go with them as just friends, or even with a group of friends, and planning all this ahead of time can save you a lot of heartbreak when prom night actually rolls around.
Remember, prom isn’t just about dancing, it’s about sharing memories, listening to your favorite music, saying goodbye to teachers you grew up with, picking out a fabulous dress and living purely in the moment.
One way to handle rejection while still participating in the prom is to offer to be your friends’ photographer. Get out your phone or Polaroid camera and snap as many photos as you can of all your favorite people!
It might not seem so important at first, but those photos will mean a lot to your friends and still keep you involved with things. There’s also no rule saying that you only have to ask out one person.
If one person rejects you, remember, it isn’t your fault, and it doesn’t mean there aren’t still plenty of other fish in the sea. You can ask anyone from school, or your school may even have rules allowing you to bring a guest from a separate school, so check beforehand to see what you can do.
Don’t be afraid to ask out someone from your class who you might not have originally thought of, either. Who knows? It could be the chance to make a new lifelong friend or great relationship!
If you’ve already made a big investment into your prom night, buying an expensive dress and jewelry and getting your hair and nails done, having someone knock on your door at the last minute to tell you they can’t go with you after all can be really upsetting, and also frustrating.
The best thing to do in this situation is to not let it get in the way of getting your money’s worth and enjoying yourself the way you intended.
You don’t have to go in with a date, you can show up just to talk to your friends, enjoy the food and drinks and maybe find a new date to dance with you all at once!
After all, prom rejection is surprisingly common and maybe there’s someone else at your school who could really use a friend after being rejected themselves. Dance together and enjoy making new memories!
If you’re reluctant to ask someone out because you’re nervous about possibly being rejected, there are ways you can try to overcome it.
If you’re worried about sounding awkward when asking someone out, just laugh it off, apologize and smile. The person you’re asking out, if they already know you, might be more understanding than you expect, or may feel nervous themselves.
Breaking the ice with a light conversation first can also help. Just be yourself! There’s no secret trick to getting dates, but if you’re respectful and friendly, it can go a long way in creating a good impression.
It’s very important to distinguish between rejection and bullying/harassment, as well.
If someone who rejected you is teasing you or making fun of you, or doing it publicly in front of others in a cruel way, or if you tried to reject someone kindly but they refuse to leave you alone and it makes you feel unsafe, you don’t have to put up with it.
Tell a friend or someone else you trust about it, or if you suspect bullying is happening to you during your prom, tell an adult chaperone.
Most schools have policies in place to handle bullying promptly so it won’t be able to disrupt your evening.
Above all else, remember to have fun! Don’t let anything spoil your prom night, you deserve it!
Use the time you have to connect with your buddies, meet new people and talk about your plans for the future.
Express your sense of style with fashion and photos or decorations.
Rejection can hurt, but you can rise above it and let your prom still be everything you always imagined if you’re willing to overcome it and stay positive.