With friends? Or with a date?

Exploring MV students’ opinions on attending prom with friends or with a date

Crystal Cheng and Jisha Rajala

On the second to last day to send in permission slips and buy tickets for prom, junior Nikolas Margaritis found himself buying a ticket just before they sold out. Persuaded by his friends to attend, Margaritis’s focus at prom was simply to have fun with his friends. 

“My whole friend group decided to go, and I was the only one that was going to be left out, and I didn’t want to do that, so I just signed up,” Margaritis said. “Maybe going with friends could be more relaxed, and that can make it more enjoyable.” 

Likewise, although she didn’t attend prom this year, senior Alicia Lee also planned to start her Saturday spending time with her friends. She began the day getting ready like she would typically for a school dance and took pictures with her friends before parting ways when they got on the buses. Then, Lee met up with her boyfriend and a couple of other friends who weren’t going to prom, balancing the time she got with

Alicia Lee and her boyfriend Marcus Praseuth pose for a picture on top of the San Francisco Belle at the 2022 MVHS prom. (Photo by Lourdes Diaz | Used with permission)

her friends and with her partner. 

“There [were] a lot of factors [that went into] making this decision,” Lee said. “One downside [to] not going this year [is that] all my other friends are still going, so then it’s like I’m kind of missing out, and we don’t really get to spend that time together, like at prom. But I feel like for me, the fact that I can spend all that money to go on a boat and chill with my friends, or I can also plan a hangout sometime and have a nice dinner. I feel like the second option was more worth it for me.” 

Lee’s plan to allot time for her friends and her boyfriend is similar to how she spent prom last year with her date, but also with her group of friends. She feels that because she was already in a relationship with her boyfriend last year, going to prom with him during junior year provided a fun experience for the two of them to spend time together outside of school rather than adding pressure to the event.

“If you’re being asked, or if you’re asking someone to go as a date to prom and you’re not currently into each other, it could be more pressure or a little bit awkward maybe,” Lee said. “You might feel obligated to hang out with their friends or stick by them [the whole time].” 

Nikolas Margaritis poses at Blackberry Farm with his friends for pictures before prom. (Photo courtesy of Nikolas Margaritis)

Margaritis similarly believes that asking someone out to prom purely for the purpose of having a date adds more pressure to the event because “you want to be the best person you can, [while] with friends it’s just like a normal hangout and you can just be yourself.”

On the other hand, junior Evelyn Yang believes that going to prom with a date is more conventional than going with friends. Yang didn’t attend prom this year because she felt that senior prom would be more meaningful, and didn’t want to spend that much money on prom two years in a row. However, she aims to go with a date next year in order to gain the “high school experience, and expresses that one should only go with someone they are dating because going with someone you are interested in “would be weird.”

“I think [when you go] with a date, you’re actually going there for a purpose,” Yang said. “It feels like a date, and going with friends is less formal. It would probably add more excitement because you’re with your date and it would be more fun.”

However, Lee emphasizes that going to prom with a date should not be seen as an obligation.

“If you’re like, ‘I’ll just go with a date to go with a date, don’t do it because it’s not going to be worth your time and it’s not gonna be as exciting as hanging out with someone you’re comfortable with,” Lee said. “And if you do feel like you want to go with a date and you end up doing that, but you feel like you’re going to miss out or regret not hanging out with your friends, take some time during the night to also find your friends and take photos on the boat this year, for example — stuff like that like little moments, regardless of who you end up going with.”

Alicia Lee takes a picture with her friends at Villa Montalvo. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Tung | Used with permission)