Hey Will and RJ!
So I’m in my last year of high school and prom is right around the corner.
My high school is very small (i.e. the graduating class is 40 people) and EVERY single girl in the grade has a date to prom except for me. I would have went with my best guy friend but he’s already going with someone else. I know there’s nothing wrong with going to prom alone but I can’t help but feel left out.
I’m not sure what I should do, but any advice would be helpful 🙂
P.S: any way I can get either (or both) of you to be my date? 😛
Well I hate to break it to you, Vanna, but me going to a high school prom would be more than just a little awkward for everyone, including and especially me.
But I definitely realize that it can be tough when you’re surrounded by people who are doing something that you aren’t. We as humans have a natural urge to go along with whatever our “tribe” is doing. And it’s tempting to let yourself succumb to negative self-talk whenever you’re in a situation like this. You look around and see everyone with their dates, and you ask yourself, “Why don’t I have a date? Is it because I’m not good enough? I must not be good enough.” It’s extremely easy to make that leap, and you can’t let yourself fall into that trap.
Then again, a lot of proms these days have turned into giant showboating contests anyways. I know that a lot of adults like to think of prom as an important, pivotal rite of passage for young adults. But now with kids dropping obscene amounts of money on outfits and limos and other extravagant displays, the whole thing quickly escalates into this gigantic arms race of people trying to outdo each other. Thus, even people who have dates may still fall prey to envy when they see someone who they think has a nicer ride or a better outfit. Again, it’s an easy trap to fall into, especially in an environment like high school. I’d like to say that this is just a phase that people outgrow once they reach adulthood. But unfortunately, many people continue thinking this way well into their adult years, and spend decades trying to accumulate wealth and items and status in order to gain the approval of others.
Getting past this mindset requires recognizing exactly what’s underneath all of it, which is insecurity. People seek external validation from others when they aren’t able to give it to themselves. This is coming from someone who was incredibly guilty of this for quite some time. And as someone who used to think that way (and still does on occasion), I can say that external validation is an incredibly fleeting thing. Sure it feels good for a split second to get that praise or that compliment. But then it won’t be long at all before you’re on to try to get the next one, like a junkie looking for their next fix.
Let’s not forget what prom is really about: celebrating the fact that you worked your ass off for years and years of school, and now you’re finally almost done. So really, getting to go by yourself can be seen more of an opportunity than a bad thing. This means you get to treat yourself to an amazing evening without being tethered to or having to answer to anyone else. Other classmates will be busy trying to keep their dates happy. You, on the other hand, only have to make yourself happy.
So do yourself a favor: slay your look, hang out with the people you care about, take yourself to a nice meal before and after, dance to your heart’s content, and reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve put in. If you show everyone that your lack of a date isn’t an issue, then it won’t be. Instead, demonstrate to everyone exactly what it means to own your happiness, and I guarantee you that you’ll have an amazing time.
Or you can be like Will and don’t even bother going. He decided he would have more fun performing in a play, so that’s where he was on prom night. So, yeah, do whatever makes you happy, gurl!
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