7 not-so-terrifying tips on how to get a prom date

It’s common knowledge that prom is one of the biggest nights of your high school career. It’s probably one of the last events you’ll have with your graduating class before you all head off in separate directions, which is really special, even if you’re excited to get out of there. It’s also easily the most glamorous night of your high school years, when you get to deck yourself out in a fancy prom dress, get your hair and makeup done, and show up in a stretch limo like royalty. Prom is one of those things many people don’t want to do alone — and if you feel that way, yet you’re currently set to go solo, you might be feeling panicked about who you’re going to go to prom with. Take matters into your own hands with these tips on how to get a prom date.

Now, of course, it’s important to point out that you absolutely don’t need a prom date. You can definitely have fun at prom without a date, especially if you go with a group of friends (or even just one friend). Prom is supposed to be a night about making memories, and it’s not just about romantic stuff.

That said, it’s still totally understandable if you really want to bring someone along. Don’t sit around and wait to be asked, though — there’s no reason you should have to do that. You can get a prom date regardless of how shy you are if you follow the below tips. And remember: have fun! This is a big night, and you deserve to enjoy yourself no matter who you’re on the dance floor with.

1. Think about what you want out of the night.

Really think about what you want your prom night to be like. Are you imagining a scene that’s straight out of a rom-com, with a confession of undying love and a very sweet kiss at the end of the night? Or are you more excited to have an epic night of partying with a group of friends you love? Whatever the case, what you want out of the night will dictate who you should bring as a date. If you’re just looking to have fun with friends, then ask a friend as your “date.” If you want something more romantic, ask your crush.

2. Don’t get too caught up in expectations.

Prom is often surrounded by really high expectations from students who think it should be the best night of their lives. Movies and television shows make it seem like prom is your final chance to lose your virginity, or confess how you feel to your high school crush, or have a tearful breakup with your boyfriend or girlfriend before the end of the year. In reality, prom is a big school dance that is way fancier and more expensive than any other dance. That’s it!

Don’t allow high expectations mess with your night. Again, pick a date who you think will help you have the most fun night. Don’t pick someone because you think that’s the person you should be going with. For example, if you want to just go with a friend to keep things casual, then do that! Don’t assume you have to ask a crush just because people make it seem that way.

3. Get friends to help you feel out the person.

Once you’ve decided on who you want to go with, get some help from your friends to feel them out. You don’t want to ask someone who already has a date, so try to make sure they aren’t already going with someone. If your friends are friendly with this person, you might want to see if they can talk with them to get an idea of how they’d feel about being your date.

4. Drop some hints.

If you spend time around the person you want to go with, but you’re feeling super nervous about being the one to pop the question, then try dropping some “subtle” hints. The next time you’re talking, ask them what their plans are for prom. Maybe try casually mentioning that you don’t have a date yet but that you aren’t into the idea of going alone. If you’re feeling a little more confident, you could even throw in a “joking” remark, like, “Imagine if we went together?!”

5. See if your friends know of anyone who’s looking for a date.

On the other hand, you might have no idea who you want to bring as a date. Maybe you don’t have a specific crush in mind at all. If that’s the case, try asking friends for help again. See if they know anyone who is also looking for a date, and go for someone new who you wouldn’t have thought of. That could be fun and exciting! Just don’t do a blind prom date type of deal. This isn’t really the time for that.

6. Have a back-up plan.

Okay, so you’ve settled on who you want to ask, and you’re ready to go for it. Just remember: there is a chance they could say no, even though you don’t really want to think about that. But if it happens, try not to freak out! Have a back-up plan at the ready in case that’s the deal. Think about who you would ask if your number one choice isn’t available (as bad as that sounds). It will make you feel a little bit less anxious to know that you have another option if your first doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to.

7. Just ask!

Really, the only way you can get a date is by speaking up and asking someone. Yes, it’s totally nerve-wracking to ask someone out, even if you’re just asking them to prom, but you got this! Be friendly, try to be casual, and just ask. The worst thing that can happen is that they say no, and that will definitely sting — but in the end, you’ll be happy that you at least tried.

Good luck, and remember: Whoever you end up going with, even if you show up solo, you’re going to have a great time. Happy prom!