Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Prom Plans Cause Reader Stress

DEAR HARRIETTE: Before the actual prom, there is a “pre-prom.” This is where we take pictures all together and then we head over to prom. Typically, the girls plan pre-prom, and the guys do after-prom. This year, it is a little different because the guys are planning pre-prom.

Most of my friends are going to prom together, but my date is in a different friend group. This means that I will be at a different house for pre-prom. All my friends are saying that I should tell my date that I want to be with my friends so I can be in the pictures, but I feel bad. I was thinking I would split the time, but I don’t know if that is a good idea. What should I do? -- Splits, Buffalo, New York

DEAR SPLITS: It looks like your friend intersections aren’t working very well. Ideally, your plan could work if you coordinate with everyone. If the houses are not too far away from each other, plan to split your time between the houses so that you and your date get to be in each other’s company for the pre-prom photos. This may require asking for the festivities to begin earlier than normal to accommodate travel time. If you discover that you are too far away for this to be practical, plan to meet up before prom and take photos together outside before you go into the event.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a somewhat shy 20-year-old woman. I was invited to a party for a friend who I am not close with. By all accounts, this party sounds like it’s going to be big and fancy. My friend knows a lot of people, and her family has a big, fabulous house near the beach. It sounds like a big deal. My family says the right thing to do is to go. I do not feel comfortable going alone because I don’t know anyone. Would it be rude if I asked this person if I could bring a friend with me? Is that impolite? -- Party 567, Miami

DEAR PARTY 567: I like that your family is encouraging you to break out of your shell and go to the party. It can feel daunting to go for it, but it is important for you to push past your shyness and get out there. It is also smart to ask if you can bring a friend. By all means, call the host and simply ask. If this is a big party and not a sit-down dinner, chances are your friend will be happy to welcome your guest.

If you feel you need to explain why you want to bring along a guest, you can tell the truth and say you’re a bit shy and generally don’t go to parties alone. No need to offer up that information unless you get asked, though.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)