Don’t Want to Go to Prom! Why it’s ok!

Prom is the last large get-together before graduating. It goes without saying that you’re going, right? Well not everyone wants to go to prom. And that’s ok.

There are definite reasons why teens don’t want to go to prom. Social anxiety. Finances. Not loving high school the way others do.

Let’s look at some of the reasons teens decide they don’t want to go to prom, and why it’s ok.

Can’t wait to leave high school

Most teens meander through high school. Go to class, do the assignments that are set, and when the time comes to leave they are genuinely upset at the end of an era. However, this is not the same for all teens. Many teens cannot wait to run through those halls for the last time and never look back.

My post on how to deal with leaving high school may also be a good read!

They feel they didn’t fit in, or maybe feel a little different from their peers. All they want to do is leave high school, go to college and never have to deal with class peers again. It’s not that they don’t get on with their peers or don’t have friends. Many just have aspirations about leaving small towns or following dreams to out-of-state schools.

I know when my daughter left high school she couldn’t wait to go to college and couldn’t wait to get away from her high school friends. She is not in contact with any of them now. She did go to prom though. She’s a party girl.

The thoughts of spending an evening dancing the night away with a group of people you don’t really have any time for seems crazy. Why would you go? Why spend all that money?

Financing a Prom

A lot of students feel the pressure of prom, long before the night itself. If it was a matter of being able to just show up at prom without all the excess, maybe more teens would go. The cost of prom can be enormous. And the pressure for it to be enormous is even more immense. The list of preparation items is long and with each year that passes come new trends. It has become way more than a suit/dress and a corsage.

If you are interested, I also wrote a post about how much teenagers cost. You can find it here; How much does a teenager cost per month?

For girls, there’s the hair, makeup, shoes, the accessories. For everyone, there’s the transport, the photographer, the corsage, the chocolates for the parents, the cost of the tickets, the cash for the night… it’s just endless.

And for some, the cost is just too much. Many feel that they don’t want to spend their hard-earned cash (from a part-time job) on a couple of hours with people they won’t see again.

Or that your parents are already spending thousands of dollars on your future college tuition and you feel too bad to ask them to spend more on prom. However, I would say, let that be their decision. Your mom especially may be really looking forward to you getting all dressed up for the night. Don’t assume that they haven’t budgeted for your prom. I know I certainly had.

The pressure of buying an outfit and presenting it online. This is a relatively new phenomenon. This for some can be just too much. No one wants to be judged on social media for having a dress that doesn’t meet the grade. It might be easier to click the opt-out button and say you’re not going.

Self Esteem

The other reason you may be clicking the opt-out button is how you feel about yourself. In years gone by prom was so focused on who you went with and the whole promposal. But now many people just go as a group or with friends. It’s not necessarily all about couples or asking your long-time crush to prom.

However, this then throws a spanner in the works. You don’t have that ‘Oh! I’ve no date!’ to fall back on.

Many teens are just not 100% comfortable with themselves. They don’t like their smile, their hair, or their ears??

And the thought of dressing up and going to prom is the worst thing they could imagine. There’s such pressure to look a certain way. Girl or guy, to have a size 0 figure, or to be totally buff. But the reality is there are only a handful of people in your grade that look like this.

Sometimes the thought of standing in a group photo with these people standing beside you is too much to bare. Or you could be the prom king or queen. This has so much pressure attached to it, that it leads to the same thoughts of opting out. (for some. Obviously, some think it’s amazing!)

It’s important that you are happy in your own skin, but for many, this doesn’t happen until college or beyond. Many of your peers will also be feeling and thinking the same way. Think hard about not going if this is the reason.

Prom is all people are talking about

Senior year, with four to five months before prom and already people are talking about it. The dress, the makeup, the salon appointments, the diets, the tickets, the transport. It can be just too much to handle if you’re thinking about not going. Inside you’re screaming ‘Can we just talk about something else for 5 minutes?’

It’s hard not to get sucked in. Depending on your reasons for not wanting to go. If it’s because of finances you may be feeling quite envious of all the talk. But just because you have decided not to go, doesn’t mean you can’t join in the conversations. Pre-prom is more orientated towards girls, I think. I know how much organizing we put into my daughter’s prom night but when I asked my son recently if would he be excited to go to prom, he kind of just shrugged and said he wasn’t sure if he would go. Not sure his girlfriend would have the same opinion!

If you have adamantly decided you’re not going it’s hard then to listen to the excitement growing as the months roll on.

But for most, it is a very exciting time and you really just have to go with the flow or step away from all conversation. Being on your own is not something I would recommend but there are probably other people in your grade that have made the same decision, you can always hang with them if you are totally done with spray tans and limos.

Reasons to Consider Going

I know! You don’t want to go. And if that’s the bottom line, then everyone must respect that decision. No one can force you to go.

But if you’re on the fence about going, consider the following few points

You might actually enjoy it. No. Prom is not for everyone but it is a certain type of closure to high school

It’s a chance to throw on the glad rags. Even if finance is an issue. There are certainly ways to go to prom on a budget. A suit, not a tux, a less expensive dress, home makeup, and hair. Buddying up with a girlfriend to do each others…

A night out with the girls/guys. Many of you will be heading to college in the fall. Prom may be one of the last times you will see the majority of your grade. It might be nice to have the memories

In relation to this, I wrote a post about Losing friends after high school.

Have no regrets. Going to prom is all everyone will be talking about, and after, the dissection of what everyone wore, who kissed who… But within a few weeks, that will all be forgotten and people will start talking about college. But as years go by, you don’t want to have that niggling regret of not having gone to prom

As I say, if you choose not to go that is your choice and no one should dissuade you or make you go. But before you finally make up your mind consider all your options.

Tara Cunningham

Tara Cunningham is a Mum and Graphic Designer. My children's education has always been very important to me. I feel that if you are willing to put in the time they will appreciate the effort. I hope that you find our thoughts and ideas useful and interesting.

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