How to Go to Prom With Someone As ‘Just Friends’

Tips for a platonic, un-romantic, friendship-only prom.

Teens Dancing at Prom
Save room for the friend-zone! How to go to prom as "just friends.". Jupiter Images/Getty Images

Dear Cassandra,

This guy asked me to junior prom, and I wouldn’t mind going with him, but I want it to be just as friends. I know that he used to have a crush on me last year, but I have never felt anything toward him. He is really funny and fun to hang out with and he is part of my group of friends, but I don’t want him to get the wrong idea. I just don’t think he’s that cute (is that mean?). I do think we’d have a good time going together, I just don’t want to end up in some awkward situation where he tries to kiss me and I have to back away and risk hurting his feelings. Can you go to prom with someone just as friends?


Dear Carly,

Thanks for writing me!

Every year, a ton of teenagers go to prom with someone as “just friends.” There is a lot of hype behind prom (thanks to movies and TV shows and even songs), and some people like to think it’s going to be one of the most romantic nights ever. But really, it doesn’t have to be. Prom can be one big platonic party, and you can certainly go with someone just as friends. You just have to set some boundaries for yourself.

First off, you need to tell this guy upfront that you will go with him, but just as friends. Yes, you need to say those words to him: “I’d love to go… as friends.” It may be hard, but doing this will avoid a lot of awkward situations later on. You don’t want to lead him on. That would be rude and it could break his heart. Instead, lay it all out for him. Tell him that if he’s okay with going with you just as friends, then you’d love to be his “date.”

You can still ride in the limo together, take awesome photos together, and dance together, of course. When a slow dance comes on, it’s still okay to dance with him. Just don’t go all out and rub up on him like you want to make out with him. When you’re fast dancing, the same rule applies. Save room for the friend zone!

In general, stay away from leading him on. Make sure the signals you send are friend-signals, not romantic signals. Stay away from flirting, but still be friendly and polite. Act how you normally act with him when you’re hanging out with your group of friends.

Since you’re going as friends, you’ll have to decide together whether you want to get each other prom flowers. It doesn’t have to be a romantic gesture- you can do it for the sake of tradition. You’ll also have to discuss who should pay for what. In general, it’s okay to split the costs. You may still want to hang out for the after-prom parties, too. You mentioned that you are part of the same group of friends, so it’s likely everyone will be doing the same thing anyway.

Also, I should mention, there’s a small chance that when you tell him you want to go as “just friends,” he wont want to go with you anymore. Be prepared for him to say that he wants to take someone in a romantic way, not in a friend way. He’s perfectly in the right to do that. Just a heads up!

Good luck! I hope you have a great time at your junior prom!