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Ask the Expert: My Daughter Doesn’t have a Date for Prom

Dear Your Teen:

My daughter is quiet and sweet. She is a hard worker with good grades; she plays lacrosse and gets along with her teammates; and she is involved in student government. Her teachers remark how she helps others and participates well in group projects. Parents tell me that their daughters say my daughter is so nice. She is an introvert: she enjoys going to social events but then needs her alone time. My worry is that she only has one close friend who goes to another high school. Prom is around the corner—my daughter has a dress but no prom date or a group of friends to go with. It’s heartbreaking. I’m afraid she’s going to have a lonely prom. Any suggestions?

Does your teen need to turn down a date?

EXPERT | Barbara Greenberg, PhD

Your daughter sounds like quite a gem. Let me just take a moment to review all of her accomplishments. She is a good and hard-working student, plays lacrosse and is a valued teammate. Additionally, she is both helpful and involved in student government. Wow. Your daughter sounds quite remarkable.

Now regarding your concerns—you are worried that your daughter is suffering because she only has one good friend. Let me address that first. For some kids, it’s a choice to have one good friend. It may be very comfortable for your daughter who has such a busy life, peopled by so many of her peers, to be close to one friend only.

Second, there is nothing wrong with being an introvert. In fact, kudos to your daughter for knowing (it seems to me) that she needs alone time to decompress. Many of us are like that. Your daughter seems to be aware that unlike extroverts she does not get replenished by being with peers constantly. Good for her for knowing what works for her. There is nothing inherently superior about being an extrovert.

Third, going to a prom does not usually make or break a sturdy teen. So your daughter has no date for prom. I’m wondering if your daughter is as concerned about having a lonely prom night as you are.

If it is more of a concern for you, then please don’t pass your anxiety on to your daughter. Many of us are happy and highly-functioning individuals who have no prom pictures to share. Your daughter seems competent on so many levels. My guess is that if she really wants to go to the prom, then she will make it happen. And, if she doesn’t, then she can wear the dress on another occasion.

Unless I am missing something here—your heart should be full of pride rather than breaking. Congrats on raising such a lovely young woman.

Dr. Barbara Greenberg is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of teens, children, and families. She is the co-author of Teenage as a Second Language. She writes and consults for several publications and frequently appears on TV. You can find her work on her website

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