DEAR HARRIETTE: My senior prom is coming up, but instead of being excited about this upcoming event, I feel nothing but dread. Due to these strong feelings, I have decided not to go to prom. But when I brought this up with all of my friends and family, they have come together in order to encourage (more like force) me to attend. Since I do not share the same mindset as them, I am confused about what to do. Do I go and have a miserable time just to appease my family and friends, or do I follow my gut and not attend? How should I tell my friends and family that I am not going in a way that would be well-received by those trying to force me to go? -- Should I Go?, Shreveport, Louisiana
DEAR SHOULD I GO?: You have a few things to consider. For starters: Why do you dread going to prom? This is important to understand for your own well-being. Feeling dread is very strong. Do you have a sense of what has created such a strong aversion in you? If you are able to name the reason why you feel so strongly, you may be able to get your friends and family to lighten up on you.
To the question of whether you should attend prom or not, this should be up to you. While most students do go to their proms, not every single student does, nor is attendance considered mandatory at most schools. If you absolutely do not want to go, tell your family you have made up your mind, and then plan an alternative activity to do on that day so that you have scheduled in fun for yourself.