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Friday, March 16, 2012

Asked to Prom, But She Doesn't Want to Go

Dear Bro Jo,

A boy in my ward asked me to prom, and I was so surprised and felt pressured that I said that I probably could. I was surprised because I have known this boy for almost 13 years, and have never had a relationship beyond hi, and hello. I felt pressured because his brother and friend were right down the hall staring at us, waiting to see if I said yes or not.

Of course I also have a very hard time saying no to a boy who got up the courage to ask me. Later I also found out he asked my dad permission first. And now that I have thought a little about it, I don’t particularly want to go with him. I don’t have feelings for him and I don’t find him attractive in the least. (Kind of harsh, but true.)

My mom keeps telling me, and I know I have read somewhere (I believe in the strength of youth) that it says something like “since dating is a preparation for marriage, we should only date those we would marry. I know that that isn’t what it says exactly, but that’s the general meaning. Now I know that this would be just a casual date, and I would hope a group date, and I would be making friends and getting to know people more. So I don’t know, is a couple of hours going to make that much of a difference?

I have no idea how he feels, but I know that I don’t care for or necessarily want this relationship to go anywhere. This is completely all friendship, but I don’t know that even being friends with him would work out. You have to have some common interests to be friends, and I don’t believe we do. So I don’t want to waste his time, or money.

My brother-in-law said that he thinks that I should tell him that I can’t go with him. And he said that because he would rather have a girl tell him no, then have a girl say yes, and not want to go with him, and just waste his time, money and effort. He also said that it drove him crazy when a girl would go out with him, just to get free dinner.

I don’t want to be that kind of girl!

My parents don’t really want me to go with him either. They aren’t really against it, like they won’t have a problem if I say that I will for sure go with him. But they just don’t really like him. He is just…different. Its just he has completely different interests than me, and most people around him.

Now personally I believe that I should go with him. I already told him that I probably could, and he went through all of that just to ask me. But again I don’t want to waste his time, money, or effort.

Could you possibly tell me your opinion?


Dear You,


In my opinion you need to go to prom with this guy. He needs to stick to the Dating Rules ( including "Plan, Pick up and Pay", but you did say yes, and if you're old enough to go to prom, you're old enough to ignore pressure and old enough to back up your commitments.

As for "The Strength of Youth" (, I appreciate this opportunity to clear up some myths. First of all, in the section on dating (pages 24 & 25) is says NOTHING about "only dating those you would marry". (You may want to break out your copy and actually read it.) I've heard this phrase before, too. I'm not sure where it's from (perhaps our readership can help), but I assure you it has nothing to do with "only dating boys you think are hot", but rather is talking about strength of character and high moral standards. Plus, I think it's a rule when you're a Young Single Adult, not a teen who shouldn't be looking for a relationship.

With respect to your family (especially your brother-in-law) they're not right on this one, and neither are you. First of all, you don't have to have tons of stuff in common with someone to be their friend. Secondly, like your brother-in-law, this guy asked you to go, so whether or not you're a bad choice is his responsibility. (If the brother-in-law didn't want to give away all of those free dinners, why did he keep asking out girls who had no interest in him? How bad of a date was he that these girls would say yes and then have a miserable time?)

This guy asked you to prom, not to marry him. Everyone at your house needs to relax.

If you honestly don't want him to feel like he wasted his time or effort, then what you need to do is become mature enough to figure out how to have a good time. Take this as an opportunity to get to know this weirdo a little better. Find out what makes him tick. Discover why his interests are so different than yours. Since you'll insist that he follow the Dating Rules ( help him find a good group to go with that will include some of your friends. That will take off some of the social pressure. (Just be careful not to ignore him; weirdo or not, he's still your date, and what the "Strength of Youth" does say is that you have a responsibility to help him maintain his standards and to protect his honor and virtue. That includes not belittling this guy in front of his or your friends.) Get dressed up nice; be willing to dance; do your best to make it a nice and enjoyable evening.

And learn from this one. In the future, when asked on a formal date like this by someone you're unsure about, realize that it's okay to say "thank you for the invitation, can I let you know in a week or so?" and then pray that either someone else you like better asks or be prepared to say "no thank you" and then, quite possibly, not go.

Dating at your age is not about free dinner (still bothering me that your brother-in-law doesn't see that as his responsibility and fault, not that of the girls he asked out) or about the boy you may want to marry or about finding a boyfriend, it's about practicing your social skills and having fun.

If this guy was scary (and by that I mean, very honestly and specifically, you think he'll attack you on the date or is a totally irresponsible driver - and will be driving) or can't or won't follow the Dating Rules ( (refuses to plan, pick up or pay; or fails to put a group together) then I agree that saying no or cancelling is okay. Other than that, and I say "have fun at prom".

He had enough courage to ask, you should have enough class and courage to go.

Who knows? You might find out that he's not such a bad guy after all.

And if he is, well . . . at least you can be comforted by the fact that you did the right thing.

Either way, it's a win-win for you.

- Bro Jo

Dear You,

After giving my response a little more thought, there are two things I feel I need to clarify.

The first is that it's not clear whether or not you told this boy you would go. At first it sounds like you did, but near the end you seem to imply that you told him you'd have to check with your parents (which, by the way, is exactly what you should say when any guy asks you out, at least until you graduate high school). If that's the case, then it's still okay to tell him "no thank you", just understand that you may hurt his feelings when he sees you with someone else and that there's always the possibility that no one else will ask.

Secondly, even if you tell someone you'll go out with them, if you come home and ask your parents and they say "no", then you have to respect that. Whether you're using your parents as an excuse not to go (with their permission) or they really have a problem with this boy, you need to be obedient and trust their judgement at this point in your life. Now, you don't tell the boy "my parents won't let me go out WITH YOU", you just say that your parents said "no". Even if he wants an explanation, he's not entitled to one, so don't offer or elaborate.

Hope that helps,

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you! I agree! And thank you for telling me that that wasn’t in the strength of youth booklet! I actually read it online and you’re right it didn’t say anything about it, but my mom kept telling me that it was in there, so I just figured she was right and the online version maybe didn’t have the whole version. But I obviously need to read it more.

I agree with you again I do need to become more mature, I shouldn’t try to excuse my actions with dumb excuses!

So I will go with him, and I am sure that I will be perfectly safe! I don’t know if he has a plan, or will pick me up and pay. I didn’t ask when he asked me because I wasn’t sure I could go. When he first asked me I didn’t tell him yes, I said that I might be able to, I would have to check with my parents, and then I gave him my phone number. I guess that I figured he would call me later to make sure, but he hasn’t. He is pretty much just acting like I said yes. He keeps asking my brother all these questions about me. I’m not sure why he won’t just ask me, honestly he kind of avoids me at church. Obviously I’m just going to have to pull him aside and ask what the deal is.

Thank you for responding! And thank you for saying it how it is, and not trying to spare my feelings. I agree with everything you said!


Dear You,

Well . . . you're welcome. And no one says we have to agree . . . but thank you.

You're raising some interesting points, though.

 If your last conversation with him was that you need to check with your parents, and you haven't told him that you'll definitely go, and he hasn't called or talked to you . . . well, he needs to do that.

That does mean that you have an "out" if you want one, but I think you're making the right decision by going. (Very proud of you.) So tell your brother that to please train this guy on how to date you, and that he needs to call you and confirm that you're going, and that he needs to follow the dating rules AND that includes plan, pick up and pay. (Have your brother send him the links if it helps.) You could pull him aside, but it might be better coming from your brother.

Plus, there's the added benefit of all of this training benefiting your brother, also.

- Bro Jo


lovecraftin said...

Dear bro Jo-
I have a question for youthat I hope you can answer.
Senior ball is this weekend and I was kinda sorta asked, but it was over text which I will not accept (I got this text in January) I plainly told him 'I would love to go, but please formally ask me' he hasnt talked to me since and I feel as if he is avoiding me now. I see him in the halls say his name he turns around I wave and try to catch up to him and he disappears. Yet he tells anyone who asks that he is going with me, I feel like this has ruined my chances of other dates and truthfully I don't feel like I will be asked by anyone anymore (considering he still hasn't asked and I am also not ok with a 2 day notice) I don't know what to do. I already have a dress but its not a big deal because it was free. How can I figure this out?
To dance or not to dance?

Dave Johnston said...

Dear To Dance,

Well . . . here I am getting to this comment late Saturday night, which leads me to guess that I missed the dance, and you may have, too. Sorry about that.

(Dear Readers, if you need to ask me a question, it's always best to send me an email rather than posting a comment.)

I think it was a good idea to require him to ask you in a more mature and personal way than a text. With his weird behavior towards you (tough to tell what that means) you might be better off having not gone with him.

I supposed by now it's all figured out; my guess is that you didn't go, or that he showed up at your house completely oblivious as to why you weren't ready; either way I hope you had a nice weekend.

In the future, don't wait until just a couple days before to find out what's going on. If he asked in January and you still had no clue by the end of February, you should have told everyone that he never followed through, he won't respond to you when you try to ask him what the Date Plan is, and you're free and willing to go with someone else.

Dating is about learning!

- Bro Jo

dave said...

God, what a mess! That makes me REALLY happy that I never, ever asked a girl out on a date , to a dance, or anywhere. What a horrible, horrible game! There is some kind of upside to all this?

Dave Johnston said...

1. Don't profane.

2. Yes, friend, the "upside" is that you learn how to communicate with and relate to the opposite sex. You missed out on a lot of fun.

You know, taken in conjunction with your other comment that you made at the same time


this comment is quite enlightening.

How sad for you.

Being in a relationship (and getting there) is certainly a lot of work . . . but it's absolutely worth it!

- Bro Jo