Difficult Prom situation for dd...

(67 Posts)
emsiewill Sun 16-Jun-13 17:07:48

Sorry if this rambles on a bit, I will try and keep it concise, but need to try and give some back story and get feedback on how to deal with a situation that dd is in, and I have been dragged into...

Dd1's group of friends took another girl in the same year (let's call her Jane) under their wing about 18 months ago when she was subjected to some horrible bullying by some of the other girls in the year. I was very proud of dd and her friends for doing this.

Over time, dd has mentioned that Jane is very socially awkward, and that she sort of "hangs round" with the group but very very rarely actually speaks to them, or joins in the conversation. They do include her, but she just doesn't say much. When she does say anything, it's a bit random, and often blowing her own trumpet about how good she is at X or Y. The whole situation is awkward, but they are mainly nice girls so have just accepted her and got on with it.

However, Prom is just round the corner, and dd1's friends and wider group of friends have, for a long time, agreed that they would go to one particular girl's house to get ready, and then get a limo from there. They stupidly left the limo organising to someone who isn't very organised, and it has fallen through. Luckily, the same girl's mum is a bus driver with her own minibus and they are going in this.

All of this has apparently been discussed in front of Jane, but she has never joined in the conversation, or asked whether there is room for her in the minibus. Dd1 & her close group of friends have always assumed that Jane was included in the plans, but the wider group apparently don't like Jane and don't want her there, and have given away the last seat in the minibus to someone else, because "she actually asked us if there was room and Jane didn't ask".

All of this has left dd and her smaller group of friends in a very difficult position. Jane keeps asking them what's happening, and they don't want to hurt her, so were looking into organising some other kind of car from the house for the 4 of them (including Jane) so that they could still all get ready together, but Jane wouldn't be left out of the transport.

However, the girl whose house it is has said she doesn't want Jane getting ready there. I am good friends with this girl's mum, and have said I will talk to her about this to see if she can tell her dd not to be so childish, (I know she would be mortified to think someone will be left out and upset), but dd is not happy for me to do this, as she says everyone will hate her if I do. I said surely if Jane just came along then no-one would actively turn her away, but she says she doesn't feel she can invite her to someone else's house without clearing it with that person first.

All of this seems to me to be incredibly childish, petty and bitchy, which I have said to dd, but she really feels torn between not wanting to leave Jane out and not having to change her plans for the Prom and miss out on being with her friends (friends from primary school) for the sake of keeping 1 girl happy who she isn't particularly close to. I can see both sides, and don't want dd to end up having her night spoilt.

To add to the difficulty, I have had an email from Jane's mum (who I am friendly with as Jane is also good friends with dd2, through their singing group) asking if I know what's going on. She has, of course, been very worried about her dd over the past year or so, and has been grateful for my dd and her friends' "reaching out" to Jane. I don't want to have to tell her that Jane has been left out of the plans, but, again, I do really feel strongly that my dd shouldn't have to change all her plans and have her night spoilt just because she is the only caring one in her group of friends.

So (finally!), my question is, what on earth do we do?

emsiewill Sun 16-Jun-13 18:57:26

I bloody hope dd has a good time after all of this angst! She's also informed me that the table plan hasn't been pre-arranged, so will end up with everyone rushing for tables and leaving "one table of rejects" which I am praying won't include Jane with dd feeling she has to sit with her...

I will be glad when it's all over!

MortifiedAdams Sun 16-Jun-13 19:02:02

Pack dd and her.friends off to get ready at this girls house, book a Limo and have Jane in it to go and collect the four.nicer girls. Get it a bit early so they can go and get a good table.

HomageToCannelloni Sun 16-Jun-13 19:35:26

I really feel for Jane, social awkwardness, if not overcome at that age will just get worse. I clearly remember feeling hugely on the fringes of a group at college, never really being part of things but not having the social confidence to out myself forward. Being too over the top the I did find my voice because I felt I had to be interesting or cool. This girl really needs this friendship, but is probably scared of being left out and of putting herself forward in case your dd and her friends reject her.
Whilst I'm aware this is not your dd's responsibility I think learning of others fragility and how it can be overcome is a lesson that is valuable at any time.
I would encourage you to have a word with the mother of the girl whose house they are going to (in confidence) and see if she can't persuade her daughter to allow Jane to come. Because I can assure you her being left out wiil crush her.
Fwiw I grew up to become a highly confident adult, mainly because of one or two very good friends who gently proved to me i was good enough as I was to just be myself without having to act up.
your dd sounds like she is lovely btw, friends like her change people's lives.

Trifle Sun 16-Jun-13 19:52:18

There is only so far that you can carry someone but there comes a time when that person has to contribute. Jane cannot be expected to be included in things when she makes no effort. Being socially awkward is all very well but it's doing her no favours in the long run if everyone panders to her awkwardness. Your daughter should go along with the original plans and if Jane wants to be included she needs to be told that it's down to her to ask.

emsiewill Sun 16-Jun-13 22:10:31

Just want to say thanks to you all for taking this seriously & understanding how difficult a situation it is, rather than just telling me & dd to get a grip...

Isthiscorrect Mon 17-Jun-13 03:34:33

I hope it all goes well for dd, jane and their friends. No idea what I would do sorry. But just a thought if other friends mum that drives the minibus, any chance someone can ring and ask about her minibus. If she is a business then her number must be somewhere, just make an enquiry and then say sorry X number of seats ,isn't enough. Then you would know about how you need to plan. Like you say friends mum would be upset if she thought Jane had been left out.

NewFerry Mon 17-Jun-13 08:21:39

I think you are handling this really well. You are trying to help with the pre-party by talking to the mum you know. But the minibus issue is outside your influence. I suggest you tell janes mum that your dd is going to a pre party and that you will check if Jane is invited, but from there another mum is organising transport and she/Jane needs to talk to that family separately

emsiewill Mon 17-Jun-13 08:34:28

Just a quick update. Emailed Jane's mum as planned. After a bit of discussion (amicable!), she now has the number of the girl who is having the pre-party and is going to "force" (her words) Jane to contact the girl to check it's OK for her to come along. She (the mum) will then take Jane to the prom herself from the pre-party house.

I imagine that if the minibus does have more than 11 seats, then this will come to light at some point between now and then, and (I pray) Jane will be invited on to it.

I think I will still talk to pre-party girl's mum if I see her tomorrow, just to cover it from both angles.

My heart really goes out to Jane's mum. Like all of us, she just wants her dd to have a prom to remember for all of the right reasons. It's so heartbreaking when you want to make things right for your child, and you can't, no matter whether they're 6 or 16.

DontmindifIdo Mon 17-Jun-13 08:35:55

I think talking to the mum of the pre-party is the way to go, get that sorted that she's invited and then talk about transport and numbers.

tiredaftertwo Mon 17-Jun-13 08:53:23

You and your dd both sound lovely.

I also agree that at some point Jane will need to make an effort: I hope this doesn't sound harsh, but just because she is socially awkward doesn't mean that she is a nice person, fun to be with, kind in return, or any of those things. She does sound annoying, and they are not old enough to see her boasting as insecurity. I really feel for her and her mother.

As an adult, I have a group of friends, and I would not be keen if we always had to include someone else, because she was friends with one of the group, say. Occasionally, yes.

I think given these proms have such a ludicrously iconic status, your plan is a good one - it is worth pulling out the stops to ensure Jane is included and there is no nasty feeling afterwards. But not at the cost of your dd missing out, I don't see why her plans should change. In the longer term, and as the girls go into sixth form, I hope Jane will develop her own confidence because she really can't go on being carried like this - it simply won't work. Girls that age often have very small tight knit friendship groups - they cannot be managed to include someone who is not a natural fit. She need to enjoy the events she goes to, feel relaxed and happy enough to be herself and make friends, and no one can do that for her. It may be that she would be OK just going to bigger gatherings, cinema or whatever, and perhaps some organised activity, and building her confidence that way.

Anyway, good luck, I completely see why you have got involved, and I hope everyone has a lovely time.

tiredaftertwo Mon 17-Jun-13 08:56:14

Cross-posted! That sounds like a great plan.

Jojobump1986 Mon 17-Jun-13 09:02:38

OP, I just want to thank you & your DD for being so lovely! I was a Jane in school. Bullied for years but it was done in a really devious way so hardly anyone noticed. Eventually I managed to break out of the friendship group which included the bully & attached myself to another established group. It's really difficult to get involved in a groop where everyone is already close & most of them aren't that interested in including you. One of the new group actually told me to 'eff off' because no-one liked me. The girl who was quite like your DD was horrified when I told her but didn't do anything about it because she didn't want their entire group split up. Like Jane, there was no space in their transport to prom at 18, not 16! so I ended up going with my old 'friendship' group, including my bully. I had a nice enough time once there though - didn't spend much time with the bully.

Jane will be aware of your daughter's attempts to include her & will always be grateful, trust me! smile

1stime Mon 17-Jun-13 10:27:20

Know this is at an end now but just seen it. OP I would be interested to know how it went in the end - if "Jane" managed to push herself forward to phoning. I was a bit like Jane and so made a big effort to help my own but one DC is very outgoing and the other is like I was. Unfortunately has the prom approaches I feel so sorry for my shy DS as I agreed with his friend's mum that we would encourage our DSs to get ticket for the prom. Now they are going but dreading it as all the boys are of course in big groups and talking about girls they chat with easily who are going. Why oh why did I agree to persuade DS to go????

FiftyshadesofYoni Mon 17-Jun-13 10:39:47

Can't stop thinking about this one, it's very heartbreaking but would love for it all to turn out well for Jane.

Any updates op?

SuperiorCat Mon 17-Jun-13 10:42:14

OP you and your DD sound lovely and she is in an unenviable position, but she must not let herself miss out because of Jane.

I have a male Jane in DS - social issues through his ASD - I do agree that there is only a certain amount that people can do to include him and then he needs to meet them part way so we do encourage and support him to do this, so I guess Jane's Mum is well aware that Jane will need to do something to not be overlooked.

SuperiorCat Mon 17-Jun-13 10:42:30

Re the table plan, I don't know how involved your school is in arranging the prom for them or whether it is down to a Y11 committee but might it be worth gently mentioning it to the Head of Year that it might be an issue so they can pre-empt it?

monikar Mon 17-Jun-13 11:01:54

Just a thought with regards to the table plan - at my DD's prom last year the tables were for 8 so if this is the case at your DD's one there is going to be a problem anyway. From what DD told me they only sat down to eat, the rest of the time they were dancing or standing around chatting, so the table was just somewhere to leave their bags on.

Proms are so important to the girls, it is such a shame when there are difficulties surrounding it.

AmbrosiaCreamedMice Mon 17-Jun-13 13:19:43

Talk to the mum of the mean girl.

I really want Jane to have a good time.

Kleinzeit Mon 17-Jun-13 18:17:32

The trouble is that this isn’t just about being overlooked. The other girl has already told her friends that she doesn’t want Jane there no matter about the travel arrangements.

OP, are you still going to talk to the other girl’s mum? If so, then do it before Jane asks the other girl and gets told no! There’s no good outcome for Jane if the other girl’s mum talks to her daughter after she's said no. Or if not, you could let things take their course.

Altogether now “I’m not on my own – I’m with Muriel!” smile

emsiewill Tue 18-Jun-13 08:47:53

Thought I would update you all.

Dd was in school yesterday for her last GCSE. As it was Maths, everyone was there, and I think it was really useful that all of the protagonists involved in this situation were able to talk to each other face to face; as they have had exams for the last few weeks and they are all doing different things, most communication about the Prom has been online / on the phone, which as we all know, can make things worse.

So Jane has told the group she doesn't mind not going in the minibus, she would just like to be at the pre-party, and her main thing is she doesn't want to arrive at the prom on her own. Her mum will take her from the pre-party to the prom at the same time as the minibus. Dh thinks that we should try and arrange some kind of alternative "nice" transport that a few of them could go in (so the group would be split between two vehicles, rather than Jane on her own), but dd fears she would be the only one who would agree to go with Jane, and then she would be missing out. I am split between the two, but at the end of the day, if Jane says she's happy, I don't see why dd should be pushed further into a situation she won't be happy with.

Jane has been invited to the "after-party" - the girl organising that specifically asked her along, so whether or not she wants to go, at least she has been invited.

As I have said before, we are good friends with the parents of the pre-party girl, and the idea was always that we (Dh & I) would go along and have drinks with the parents while the girls get ready and have photos etc. When I see the mother tonight, I will fill her in on the situation and see whether she would mind Jane's mum joining us for that before she takes Jane to the prom, or she (Jane's mum) will be left sitting outside in her car, which would be stupid. As a bonus, Jane's family are all into (& good at) photography, so it would be to everyone's advantage for her to be there to take the photos.

I am slightly bemused at how complicated this has become and how stressful we (dd & I) have found it all. Anyway, hopefully it's all sorted now & even better (from dd's point of view), she's finished her exams and it's party time from now until September!

Thanks all for your advice and kind comments. I am very proud of dd and how she has dealt with this & just hope now that they all have a good night...

cq Tue 18-Jun-13 09:02:32

Well done Ems, sounds like you nearly have the perfect solution - most people will do the right thing when asked directly, they just don't think of it or are unaware of the situation.

I hope your lovely DD has a prom night to remember, and that proud mum enjoys it too! Do let us know how it all goes.

tiredaftertwo Tue 18-Jun-13 11:38:35

Well done! That sounds excellent. I think it is a lovely idea to get Jane's mum in for the drinks, as then she will clock the other parents and girls too, which may help her help Jane, quietly and behind the scenes, work these things out in future. I think they are stressful partly because all tied up with GCSE's, going to different schools, growing up etc - and they are bery "high key". And because there is just one prom - no choice of events - plenty of people are outside their comfort zone which at 16 may not bring out the best in everyone (although it sounds like it has done for your dd).

SuperiorCat Tue 18-Jun-13 12:51:25

Thanks for coming back and updating. Hope your DD has an epic (or whatever the current teen vernacular equivalent is) time flowers

ShipwreckedAndComatose Tue 18-Jun-13 17:20:21

Phew, sounds like you have it sorted!!

In my experience, it's amazing how complicated teen stuff can get but how it can all just resolve itself just as quickly.

Sounds like you have the right balance of involvement vs letting it take it's own course.

emsiewill Thu 27-Jun-13 10:47:31

Just a quick update. Prom is tonight.

Jane is now meeting the girls there (her choice, not quite sure of the thinking behind this, but have kept out of it really) & is going to the after-party with them and back to pre-party girl's house where they are all sleeping (after many changes of plan).

Dd still feels a bit like she is going to be the one lumbered with Jane, but I think the excitement of the event is taking over - dd has had her spray tan, and is having her hair, makeup and nails done this afternoon.

I will update (if anyone's interested) tomorrow, or over the weekend, after the event, but we are all feeling a bit less stressed about the whole thing.

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