What to do here - awkward position


Hi folks. I come to you again for advice.

I am friends with a family at Church. They are nice, and treat me well. I often go to breakfast with them, have dinner at their house and I am in contact with them etc. Nice family and great people.

Yesterday I got a message from their daughter (who is 17) asking me to her school dance. Now, I just don't know what to say. I am a 21 year old man, I live on my own I cook I clean I'm a postgraduate student. To be honest, I really just don't want to go. Hanging around with school kids all night? Really? But how can I say no without creating tension or sounding rude? I can't lie because, obviously, that's a sin. But I can't just say "No" either because they will take it to heart, and she might take it to heart too. I just don't understand why I would get put in this position, it's just no fair.

What to do? White lie? Just say no and hope for the best? Suck it up and say yes?

Yeah it's trivial but what can I do :)


Just tell her you are uncomfortable going to a high school dance. I don't know many 21 year olds who would feel comfortable going.



That's a hard one, but a few things come to mind (in no particular order):

  • Perhaps the parents suggested you as a appropriate partner for the dance because they trust you to treat her with respect.

  • Perhaps she chose you because she likes you - er, I might not comment further on this.

  • Perhaps she doesn't know many boys, and if you declined she'd have nobody to go with.

I'm leaning towards the suck it up option, because that's my nature. If you really don't have a reason to say no, then go immerse yourself in the high school spirit for one evening. Maybe check with the parents to make sure they're okay with it first.

OR, you could explain that you aren't really comfortable with these kinds of events, and if she didn't have another option, you'd be happy to go, but you'd prefer not to. Maybe say that to the parents rather than to her directly - it could hurt her a bit.


I would go. You could treat her with respect and at the same time take a good care of her and make sure she isn't bored, is having a good time etc., without sending mixed signals. That could be a valuable lesson for much of her life (or a whole lifetime), something she could stick to when being treated badly by men, and remember that she deserves more than she's getting from a guy who'll scoff at her and wouldn't remove his hands from his pockets when talking to her. For this reason, I'd probably go myself, even though I'm much closer to 30 that you are. ;)

People have gone with siblings. People have gone with simple friends. Heh, I don't know if my prom date didn't have a boyfriend at the time but tickets were expensive for those from outside the school and since I was obviously planning to stag it, she made the offer. :p


I'd go.

If the worst comes to the worst, and you don't enjoy it, at least you have made her happy. She must be dreading going alone and it's possible taking a 21-year-old could be something that impresses others!

It could be that her parents don't allow her to date, and she's asked you, with their approval. I'd let them know that you're accepting the invitation as a friend, so that there are no worries in your mind or theirs. I am wondering if the parents have given permission for her to attend, provided you are with her. She may see you as a brother, there may be nothing more to it. I understand why you want advice though, these things can be tricky.

You are understandably reluctant to go, as you think you won't enjoy it, but really, what is one night for you? What are you going to be doing instead? I would do this because while it would be just one evening and mean nothing to me, it must mean a lot to this girl. Remember how important this stuff was to you four years ago? It's even worse for girls!

Worst case scenario? Offer it up to God as a suffering!


[quote="starsmurf, post:5, topic:244052"]
I'd go.

If the worst comes to the worst, and you don't enjoy it, at least you have made her happy. She must be dreading going alone and it's possible taking a 21-year-old could be something that impresses others!



sorry, no, inappropriate. you have a previous engagement. if her parents suggested it they have not thought this through properly.


Most high schools wouldn't even allow you to go. Where I went to school, as well as school's I've taught in, have written policies around this issue. A lot of the time, dances are only open to students of that school. Where there are open dances where students can invite outside guests, many times they need to bring in a copy of their date's student ID from another high school, and sometimes even a letter from the other school's principal vouching for the character of the invited guest. With problems of violence in schools, school administration has become very strict with who is allowed on school property and at school functions. The issue of age comes into play here as well. You are old enough to purchase alcohol. I was at a prom when I was in high school (with a friend of mine who went to another school - I had my copy of my ID in early!) where someone brought a date who was 21 and sat at the bar at the hotel during the prom! Soon after that, rules were made around the age limit of student's dates for the evening.

Truthfully, you are old enough to be a teacher at this school (I was 21 when I began my first job as a high school English teacher) and your presence as a guest is inappropriate. I would let this young lady know nicely that while your value your friendship, you cannot attend this event. You don't even have to give a reason, since you are worried about lying to her - just say that you cannot attend.

Good luck. Dealing with matters of the heart where teenagers are concerned can be a tricky business! :blush:


Say thanks for the invite, but you already have a previous engagement (that engagement might be sitting on your couch, studying, or watching TV - you do not have to tell her what it is).

It is possible she has a crush on you, and this is her testing the waters, so to speak.

Nope - totally inappropriate (not to mention, many schools have policies against people who are no longer in high school attending school functions…after all, it is a SCHOOL function - you do not go to high school).


[quote="IgnatiusDaughtr, post:7, topic:244052"]
Most high schools wouldn't even allow you to go. Where I went to school, as well as school's I've taught in, have written policies around this issue.


good point and if they don't have a policy they should. No dates older than the teens involved. do be charitable to the young lady in how you decline. the classic etiquette is best, I regret I cannot accept your invitation but I have a previous engagement. No further explanation or conversation required.


We can all appreciate your standing with the family, however you must be honest and explain that someone of your age is too old to attend a high school dance. There is a vast chasm between a 21 year old man and a teenaged girl. No need to make up any excuses. The truth is always appreciated. If she and her parents care for you they will understand. Flattering, but inappropriate for you to even consider attending.


Been there... Done that.

I was 24 and just out of the Army.. I was working and one of the guys at work had a 17 year old daughter who just broke up with her boy friend.. The Senior event was to take place on a small ferry boat cruise. I accepted.. I picked up the young lady and escorted her to the boat, boarded the boat with her, and then was ditched because she ran off with her girl friends. Not fun.

The up side.. She was thankful and so was her Dad.. While I didn't have much fun, she did.. The Monday after the event her Dad told me how much fun she had..

We all have to sacrifice sometimes.


High school dances are for high school aged people. You are a young adult, she is a teen.
Follow your instincts on this one. You should feel uncomfortable, it is inappropriate to invite an adult to a high school dance. It is inappropriate for an adult to go. If you can't tell her you would be very uncomfortable then just say you are busy.

An added word of caution-Too many people see nothing wrong with many things these days, that's the trouble with this world today!


There are a couple of ways to look at this without offending anyone. If you are the big brother type to her she may be asking you because of something going on at school. She may be in a situation you are unaware of or perhapse being bullied and doesn’t want to go alone. It sounds like since you are so close to the family she trust you. But on the other hand she may have a crush on you as well. I think you should approach the parents, like adults do. They may not think there is anything wrong with it or they might be blown away by the whole thing! Whatever you do you do not want to jeapordize your relationship with them. I think approaching them for advice and explaining how it might look bad and be inappropriate would help. They will probably agree and be thankful you came to them first instead of hurting her feelings. But in the end if she is having problems at school, you may just suck it up for a night and go like a big brother does just to make sure she is okay. It’s a hard situation, but I would talk it over with her parents since you do have that relationship with them already. Good luck and keep us posted on what happens!
p.s. you are so lucky you have a relationship like that through your church. My daughter and I have been going to the same church for 3 years and still have yet to really connect with another family. It’s hard so please guard the relationship you do have with these kind people :slight_smile:


Hey NewsTheMan!

Wow, that IS awkward. I'm kind of surprised that her parents let her do that - unless of course, they don't know.

I have a tough time seeing anything good coming out of going. It's just not appropriate. She's too young and there is a big danger of sending the wrong message to her, or to others.

I'm not sure how best to handle it, but if I were you, I'd tell her as well as the parents that you are just uncomfortable with it. I don't think doing something like that would cost you your friendship with the family, but if it honestly does, then it is probably for the best.

I really think it would be a REALLY bad idea to go. The way kids dance these days, you could be setting yourself up for some big trouble.

I'll say a prayer for you, best of luck!


I'm gonna vote... DON'T GO!

This is not a girl that you're dating. She's underage. If she were 18, I'd be less concerned.

Quick story. A married male friend (he's attractive), with children... close friends with another family. They have a daughter, she's 15/ or 16... They ALL spent a weekend together. The young girl crushing on the married man. Finds herself alone with him. What happened? Who really knows... they were alone.

Her side: That he tried to have sex with her...

His side: That she kept flirting with him, and he basically had to shut her down.

Result: Court, lost friendships, nearly lost marriage, married guy's daughters are uncomfy around him NOW (never before), and their friends uncomfy coming to the house. Dad won't even be left alone in the house with own daughter and friends, afraid of future lies. Reputations destroyed.

A WHITE LIE is not a sin... Get your self previously engaged for the evening. You are so sorry, but ANYTHING!


I would be totally honest and say I just don't feel comfortable going to a high school dance.

My guess is she has a crush on you. Nip it now.


Ditto on the talking to the parents. You are an adult. When children approach other adults about things, the right thing to do is to discuss it with the child's parents. As another parent, I do this all the time. My communication is with the mother first, and THEN with the child (actually since my kids are younger, it is almost totally with the mother). Since you are a young adult, you are probably not accustomed to putting yourself firmly in one camp or the other, but in a situation like this, you definitely need to consider yourself an ally of the parents first. You don't know if she did this with the knowledge or blessing of her parents or what her (or their) motivation is. Call the parents, and ask them if they are aware of the invitation. Ask them what they think of the situation (maybe there is a story that goes with this), and then tell them that at your age, you are uncomfortable attending because of the possibility of scandal/trouble with the school etc... (surely you can agree with that, even if it is not your primary reason). Then, after having dealt with the parents, talk to the girl about it.


I would be surprised if the school did not have a written policy against it. My son took a girl from another school to his junior and senior prom. Each time, he had to fax a form to her school that needed to be signed by someone at her school and her parents. I also had to sign the form.

I would talk to the parents.


[quote="faithfully, post:15, topic:244052"]
A WHITE LIE is not a sin...


I'm not sure I could agree with that. I don't think cops etc. sin by using fake identities but a tiny personal predicament is not something I'd believe to justify a direct falsehood (e.g. claiming nonexistent illness).


[quote="chevalier, post:19, topic:244052"]
I'm not sure I could agree with that. I don't think cops etc. sin by using fake identities but a tiny personal predicament is not something I'd believe to justify a direct falsehood (e.g. claiming nonexistent illness).


Well, I didn't say to claim a non existent illness... Heck say your washing your hair that night. I'm talking things that spare feelings... Honey do I look fat in this? If you feel you must tell your wife that she looks fat so that you're not sinning... well... good luck with that... I can see just saying your busy so as not to hurt feelings. Is this girl a prospective FUTURE interest? When she's legal? There's not a HUGE age difference here... Maybe take her out for her 18th birthday... Don't have a solid answer here...

I've been giving this situation a bit more thought.

Doesn't it seem that IF the parents were involved, they'd have called an adult and asked the OP? I mean, we're talking about an ADULT taking a MINOR on a date.

As others have suggested, I think it warrants a call to the parents. 1)I'd hate to hear later the girl is crushing on him and then acts "single white female" if/when her advances are declined 2) And then yes, it's fair to say, I'm sorry. I feel really uncomfy taking a minor on any sort of date.

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