The sitch: You don’t have a formal date…
Maybe no-one asks you, maybe there’s no-one left to go with, or maybe your date ditches you. Whatever the scenario, the thought of having no-one to take to the formal can feel pretty scary. “I asked my best guy friend to my formal months in advance,” says Elissa, 16. “He said yes and we were both really excited about it, but 15 minutes before the formal he cancelled and I had no date.”
Stay calm, keep your chin up and make sure you can hang out with a group of friends at the formal. “When I arrived at the formal and told my friends, they made me feel like I had 10 dates! We stuck together for the night and I ended up having the best night of my life!” says Elissa. “They proved that all I need in life to have a good time are my girlfriends.”
The sitch: You ask your crush and he says no…
Let’s face it – rejection hurts. If your dream date says no, it will probably suck and it will probably feel like a punch in the gut.
Allow yourself to feel upset, coz that’s completely normal. Do try to be understanding and accepting when he lets you down though – saying “no” to someone can be pretty tough. He might already have a date or he might not be planning to go to the formal, but yes, there’s a possibility he’s just not into you. And that’s OK (even if it hurts like hell). He’ll respect you for having the courage to ask him, and you should be really proud of yourself for doing it. Now go and find a date who’ll feel super-lucky to go to the formal with you, coz you’re freaking amazing.
The sitch: Your date misbehaves…
One minute you’re dancing and laughing at the after-party, then all of a sudden he’s trying to kiss you or convince you to leave with him.
Make your feelings (or lack thereof) clear to your date before the formal to discourage him from busting any Romeo-style moves. “Make sure your formal date is someone that you know and trust,” says Sandra Groves, psychologist and president-elect of the Australian Guidance and Counselling Association. Unfortunately, people who seem trustworthy can sometimes be dodgy dudes in disguise, so make sure you have friends close by who’ll have your back. “Never go off alone with someone you don’t know well, and don’t just spend time with your formal date – have a group of friends nearby at all times so they can save you if necessary. It’s also important to have a conversation with your parents and friends prior to the formal so they know all the arrangements, including where you’ll be and at what time.”
The sitch: He asks you to the formal, but you’re not into him…
Having to reject someone is a hard thing to do, but learning to say no is super-important.
“Be sweet and polite to them – it may have taken a lot of courage for them to ask you in the first place, so be gentle,” says Anna Musson, etiquette expert from The Good Manners Company (goodmanners.com.au). You could try saying that you’d love to go with them but you have another invitation, but if you want to go with someone else and you’d prefer to be honest, just say “I’m actually planning on going with someone else. So sorry, but I’m really flattered you asked me.” If the guy asking you is a good friend, you could suggest you both go together as friends, but be sure to make it clear that it’s just a platonic outing – not a date.