DEAR KELLY: Our homecoming is coming up and my “friend,” who is a guy, and I planned on going. Parker and I have hooked up a few times and we hang out a lot, so I think everyone knew we would be going together. It wasn’t really “official,” but I was pretty sure (and so were all my friends) we were going.
So when someone mentioned someone else asking me (and it happened twice), I told them not to because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings and have to say no because I was planning on going with Parker. Two nights ago a sophomore named Olivia asked him to homecoming. I was in complete shock and even more shock when he said yes. He even posted on Instagram that he was excited to be going with such a cool girl.
I kind of flipped out and went off first on Olivia, then on Parker. She told me that one of her friends had asked Parker if he had a date yet, and he said no. Parker told me that he didn’t want to be mean and say no because technically he didn’t have a date yet, so he didn’t want to be a jerk and tell her no.
My friends say I should go with someone else just to make Parker mad, but I don’t know if I want to go and see him dancing the whole night with Olivia. I know a guy name Brian wants to ask me. We’re friends but I think he kind of likes me, so I don’t want to make any drama with him. I really want to just go with Parker – that’s the whole problem. What should I do? And is it wrong to hang out with Parker after the dance if he goes to the dance with Olivia? Why can’t things be simple?
DEAR SD: Things aren’t simple because you and Parker aren’t officially together and because he said yes to someone else. Complicated friendships, undefined relationships or “things” aren’t simple. Most outsiders don’t know what is happening between two people else unless you tell them. Hooking up a few times and hanging out together doesn’t tell other people that you are a couple.
If you’re looking for an easy answer, you may need to switch your thought process. To simplify things for you, Parker is going with Olivia and you can either go with someone else, go with your friends or stay home and pout.
Olivia didn’t do anything wrong asking him to the dance. I hope you spare her the wrath because she is not to blame. To be honest, you don’t really have a platform to be angry on this. No one did anything wrong. Perhaps Parker had no intention of asking you to the dance. So unless he had told you he was going to, he wasn’t in the wrong for agreeing to go with Olivia. Perhaps you assumed more than you should have that Parker planned to take you when, really, he wasn’t on board with the idea. When Olivia asked him, he did the polite thing and accepted her offer because he did not have a date yet. If he had really intended to ask you, my guess is he would have kindly told Olivia he planned on asking someone else.
The next time a dance comes around, don’t turn away potential dates just because you think someone else may ask you. Until they ask, you are free to go with whomever you want. Plus, people change their minds and if you wait for one specific person you may end up being solo in the end, if they decide to not go to the dance or ask someone else.
What to do now? Go to the dance with your friends. Have fun. Be crazy and dance all night. Laugh and enjoy the time with your girls. Don’t fixate on Parker and Olivia. Leave them alone and don’t be a stalker. But if you can’t do that, then save everyone the stress and stay home with a good movie and some ice cream.
As for after the dance, don’t make plans with Parker. He is Olivia’s date that evening. Be classy and back off that night. If you want to hang out with him, pick another night or the day after. Talk to him and find out where he sees this “thing” of yours. Perhaps you need to stop hooking up with him until you know where he stands and if he shares the same true interest that you do. Being interested in someone to hook up is different than being genuinely interested in someone. Figure out which one it is before you continue forward with him.
Having a undefined “thing” with someone is tricky. When love lines are blurry and people aren’t completely sure of their feelings, misunderstandings happen. Be careful, though, not to blame innocent third parties who don’t know where you stand with each other.
Perhaps you are just as confused as everyone else on where this relationship stands. You aren’t a couple and you aren’t going to the dance together. Those are two things you do know. That’s enough to give you permission to go to the dance with friends or someone else and enjoy yourself at the dance. Why let a special night be ruined because things didn’t work out exactly the way you planned? Sometimes the most fun comes from unexpected changes.
Kelly Richardson, a Folsom therapist, works with adolescents.