How To Reject Promposals Respectfully


Jami Citko and Vicki Zhang

The intensity grows as the spotlight is on you and your promposer. “Will you go to prom with me?” s/he asks. There’s just one problem: you don’t want to go to prom with this person. These situations tend to be awkward and hardly easy to maneuver, so here are some tips to make rejecting a promposal as painless as possible for both you and your suitor. 

Don’t Panic
Breathe slowly, in and out. It’s difficult to get ahold of a situation without first getting ahold of yourself. If you panic, you could say something you don’t mean and make the situation worse than it has to be. Keep yourself as calm as possible and don’t let anxiety take over—you’ll have time to freak out later on if you have to. 

Think Before You Speak
Make sure to consider the promposer’s feelings before saying anything. It takes a lot of courage to ask someone out, and being rejected in front of a large crowd can make someone feel worthless if it’s done too harshly. 

Don’t Feel Pressured
You are in no way required to accept their request. Everyone has the freedom to decide the path they want to go. Chances are, a rejection is going to make the other person feel bad no matter how you go about it, but don’t let that make you think you have to agree just to protect their feelings. It isn’t your job to say yes if you don’t feel the way they do, so don’t feel guilty for rejecting them as long as you do it thoughtfully. 

Explain Your Reasoning
Don’t just say no and leave your promposer wondering why. If you don’t give them an explanation, they may feel as though something is wrong with them, which can be very damaging to their self-esteem. If you already have a date, tell them that. If you’re just planning to go with friends, tell them that. If you have feelings for someone else, just give them that quick explanation. 

Be Honest
Honesty is respected and admired, while lies can make a situation much worse than it needs to be. Don’t tell the promposer that you aren’t planning to attend prom only for them to see you there and feel betrayed. This feat can be tricky if your only reason is that you aren’t interested in the person, but honesty really is the best policy, and telling them the truth, while it may hurt in the moment, is often the best thing for them in the long-run. However, if you don’t feel comfortable telling them why you just aren’t interested, there are two options that can hopefully at least be made partially truthful, even if they’re a bit of a stretch: “I’m not looking for a date right now” or “I have feelings for someone else.” 

Don’t Stress
After everything is done, don’t overthink the situation. It isn’t your responsibility to protect the feelings of your promposer; feelings of guilt are normal but can make the situation unnecessarily complicated if blown out of proportion. Wish the person well and move on; it’s all you can do. If you are going to prom, go eat some food, hang out with friends, dance your heart out, and most of all have a good time. Either way, do your best to clear your head from any negative thoughts. Both of you will be just fine.