Girls and How to Handle School Dance Requests

So my daughter is in 6th grade and she has a school dance coming up next Friday.

My school never had dances until high school so this seems really young to me, but all her friends are going and I don’t want to be the reason she has to miss out. But still… isn’t 6th grade too young?

Anyhow, my husband was advising my daughter that if a boy asks her to dance then she needs to say “yes” because it took the boy a lot of courage to do that and she doesn’t need to hurt his feelings.

And shocker! Of course I disagreed with my husband!

I was raised this exact same way as a little girl – to always be polite, to always avoid hurting other people’s feelings, to always be pleasing, to always be agreeable, to always suppress my feelings, and to always say “yes” to other people, etc.

And honestly, I ended up as an adult that was terribly taken advantage of in EVERY single relationship I’ve ever been in. I never learned what my healthy boundaries are. I never learned how to set them properly at the beginning of relationships. And I never learned how to put MY own feelings and myself first.

I don’t want my daughter having this same fate as an adult.

Now, I do want her to have empathy for others and to not hurt anybody’s feelings. But I believe she can do that AND put herself first. Am I crazy for believing this?

So if a boy asks her to dance and if she doesn’t want to… then it is NOT ok for her to say “yes” in that scenario.

And if she doesn’t learn this now, then when? When she’s older and older men who haven’t learned how to handle “no” approaches her with more matured tricks up their sleeves to persuade women otherwise? I’ve run into these men, and my daughter needs to be VERY well-equipped to handle them.

She needs to learn this sooner rather than later too. And who else will teach her this if not me? Because everywhere else seems to be teaching her to say “yes” instead in this scenario. There are even some news reports I’ve read where it is considered “bullying” now for a girl to say “no” to a boy at a school dance.

Of course I don’t want her to to be hurtful to anyone else, so I offered her other options like saying “No thank you, and I think you’re very nice for asking” or “I don’t want to, but do you want to hang out with me and my friends for a little while instead?” or any other response that is still respectful to the other person and within the scope of what she is comfortable with.

I don’t know. What do you all think would be other respectful responses?

So that’s the situation at home right now. What are your thoughts? If you disagree with me, I’d love to hear your point of view too.

13 Replies to “Girls and How to Handle School Dance Requests”

  1. I think you’re teaching her the right lesson – put yourself first but don’t put down the other person.
    Replies like –
    “Thanks for asking but I’m not particularly in the mood to dance right now.”
    “Thanks for asking but I’m kinda tired of all the dancing and just want to chill with my friends right now.”

    1. Hi Panda! Yes, I definitely don’t want her to put down another person ever! It’s definitely very tricky and difficult to navigate this scenario – saying “no” without hurting feelings – but she’ll be better off in the long run by learning it now. :)

  2. Absolutely Not OK to say yes no matter what!!! She has to set boundaries. Saying “thank you for asking, but I’d rather not.” Is perfectly acceptable. 🤦‍♀️

  3. I was always that guy who got up the courage to ask a girl to dance only to be told no most of the time. However, I completely agree that it’s ok to say no.

    I have another thought, but it’s directly related to something that someone else commented, so I’ll post it as a reply.

    1. I always have alot of respect for the guys that ask properly. And even MORE respect for people that are still graceful even after receiving a ‘no’ response. THAT’S the real skill missing these days. :)

  4. From the perspective of a guy who often got rejected asking girls to dance… if she replies with something you said, like “I’m not particularly in the mood to dance right now” or “I just want to chill with my friends right now,” then she needs to actually sit out from the dancing for at least one song. If someone said that to me, in those words, then turns around and dances with some other guy ten seconds later, that sends the message to me that she is dishonest, and that there is something wrong with me. If she doesn’t want to dance with me, but she wants to dance with someone else, I’d rather she just say no thank you, in a polite way, without making up some false story about being tired of dancing. Maybe that’s just me, but honesty is a big deal to me, especially since later in life, decades after school dances were a thing, I went through a teary-eyed breakup with someone who said she really wanted to be together but just had too much going on in her life and didn’t want me to keep getting hurt by her having to cancel, then a few weeks later she was screwing someone else.

    1. I hear what you’re saying Greg. I think part of that is trying to spare the other person’s feeling IN THE MOMENT. But you’re correct that when those same feelings get disregarded just a little while later, it can be even more hurtful. I think people get accustomed to giving an excuse when declining. Maybe we need to start normalizing that excuses aren’t necessary to say “no”.

  5. I agree – nicely let him down but don’t dance with anyone else for that song. I agree it takes a lot of courage for the guy to ask, but that doesn’t mean she has to accept either…setting boundaries, standing up for her comfort and being kind go a long way…

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