Dear Dr. G.,
I saw you on TV talking about proms, so my mom thought that I should reach out to you about my problem with the prom and my mother. Months ago, I accepted a prom date from a boy who is also a senior and lives in my neighborhood. He seemed nice enough, and I desperately wanted to, as my mom says, "secure my date." Now, the prom is coming up in a week and I would rather stay home then go with this kid. He really is kind of a nerd and not very popular. He's one of those types that studies all the time and is like some kind of computer genius. I really don't think he'll fit in with my friends. He'll probably be quiet all night and have nothing to say.
I want to break my date with him. I don't want him in my prom pictures and I don't want to hang out with a nerd. My biggest problem is my mother. She says that I absolutely cannot break the date this close to the prom. She says I have to go with him and just suck it up. She has even threatened to take away privileges if I break the date.
Can you please explain to my mother why she should let me make my own decisions without making me feel so guilty?
A Non-Prom Teen
I don't think that you are going to like what I have to say. When you accepted the date from this boy who seemed nice you made a promise, and an important one. If you had declined this young man's invitation, then he would have had time to invite someone else. It does not sound like you were coerced into accepting his invitation.
You say that he is a nerdy type and that he won't be able to make conversation. On the other hand, he was able to summon up the courage to ask you to the prom.
You don't want to be seen with him and/or have him in your prom pictures. Why not? These are simply pictures of two teens dressed up for a prom. This is not a wedding photo.You aren't making a commitment to stay with him until death do you part -- just until prom night is over.
In life, we often have to honor our promises and do the right thing even if it means that we may be a little uncomfortable. Yes, he may be shy and awkward around your friends. So what? If your friends are nice people, then you and they should make this young man feel comfortable. I believe that you will show much more integrity and decency if you honor your commitment, take it easy and go to the prom with your date expecting to have a nice time. I am with your mother. Honor yourself and your commitment in this situation. You will be proud of yourself in years to come.
Have a fun and safe prom night!