Prom night is supposed to be a fun occasion, a rite of passage to mark the end of High School. Yet, for teenagers with social anxiety, prom night may look more like an ordeal, and the temptation to skip it irresistible.
Unrealistic expectations, the idea that nothing less than perfection will do, and peer pressure can often feed social anxiety weeks before the event. There’s asking someone on a date, finding the right clothes, worrying about your appearance – and that’s even before you are through the door where, then, you will be expected to dance!
But with some simple tips, you can manage your anxiety better and find out that preparing for prom night can actually be quite enjoyable.
• The date
We are all afraid of rejection and if you suffer from social phobia, asking someone to prom night will be nerve wracking. However, putting it off will not make it easier, and worse, you may well find out that the person you wanted to ask, and who would have liked to go with you, is no longer free! So don’t put it off, and remember that they may be as nervous as you and simply not feel brave enough to ask you!
In any case, remember that it can be as much fun, if not more, to go with a friend that you already know and with whom you will feel comfortable.
• The clothes
There is a lot of pressure on us all to be slim, propagated by celebrities’ impossible figures, but what they don’t tell you is that this kind of body is only achieved through almost literally starving themselves continuously and that many pictures are manipulated through photo software! That perfect skin, those impressive muscles, those incredibly long legs – very unlikely to be completely real!
If you are thinking of starting a drastic diet before prom, you might want to ask yourself whether being famished, weak or unwell on the day will really help you enjoy the night.
Choosing the right clothes for you is important. We don’t mean the coolest outfit, but the one that is as comfortable as it makes you look good. The last thing you want in an already stressful situation is feeling strangled by your shirt collar, or not feeling so brave about a risqué dress and feeling you have to hide. Be yourself, and choose clothes that express your personality.
• The dance
Ballroom dancing may make you snigger, but at least, in the olden days, you could take refuge in planned steps. Now, you have to invent your own style and worry about everybody watching you dance and judging. Take comfort in the fact that many people can’t dance anyway but they do it with so much conviction that nobody notices!
Prom night is an important time for any teenager, but try to keep your sense of humour and some perspective, and remember that, whatever happens, it is only one night in your life.