How to Reject a Homecoming Ask


Jenna Grayson

A cheeky example of a planned Homecoming ask being rejected.

Jenna Grayson, Staff Writer

  Experiencing the painful slap of rejection is never fun and neither is the experience of rejecting a person. To be incredibly corny — in life, everyone eventually has to deal with both sides of the rejection spectrum. However, during Homecoming season, the amount of the rejecters and the rejected only seems to become more public and noticeable, which is accompanied by teenage awkwardness and its infamy.

   I have personally dealt with rejecting Homecoming asks — both formal and casual. I can clarify that the process of rejecting someone is not a good time.                                

  But how does one delicately reject a Homecoming ask? Although rejecting someone may be enough to make anyone cringe, it doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience. Here are some tips on how to reject a Homecoming ask.

1. Don’t Feel Bad! And Be Sincere

   When possible, try to avoid guilting yourself over a rejecting an ask. Remember that you have no control over other’s actions, so getting an unwanted invitation to Homecoming isn’t your fault.

  Although I had a similar mentality when receiving an unexpected and unwanted ask, I still felt guilt-ridden and anxious about rejecting someone who put thought into the procedure. It, of course, did not help when the asker attempted to gain pity from me and then later attempted to guilt me into asking them to Turnabout.  

  Libertyville High School senior Izzy Mason recently had the unfortunate experience of rejecting a Homecoming ask and understandably felt bad about it. However, Mason said that it helped her not feel as guilty when she realized after the ask that “there’s nothing that I can do at that point.”

   When turning down an ask, you want to make sure that it’s not based upon negative feelings that you’re experiencing as a result of the other party’s presumably innocent intentions. Doing this would make the person being rejected feel worse, as they now are sure that they caused you to feel uncomfortable. Keeping a rejection statement honest and mainly focused on protecting the other person’s feelings — without sheltering them too much — is the polite way to go.

2. Be Prepared and Proactive (if possible)

   If someone is planning to ask you to homecoming, you’re probably going to hear some light gossip about it and have vague knowledge of what’s happening before the official ask occurs. If you know someone who you don’t want to go to Homecoming with is going to ask you beforehand, talk to them one-on-one first.

  This way, you’re able to confirm that they actually are planning to ask you and then clarify that you’re not interested. This method is sort of like pulling out a splinter with tweezers — it may sting now, but waiting to confront the issue only makes it worse. Also, the person planning to ask you doesn’t build up an unrealistic amount of hope for what’s going to happen (example: you saying yes) and doesn’t have to waste effort on a poster, food, gifts or any other sort of elaborate way of asking you

3. Be Honest

   If you’re not romantically attracted to your “suitor,” it might be strange to see them or think about them in what’s presented as a romantic manner. Whether you already have a date or if the person is a long-time friend, family friend, an acquaintance, or you just flat out don’t feel any attraction towards them, the best thing to do is to be clear and honest with them.

  Luckily, I had pre-made plans with a friend to go to a concert that fell on the night of Homecoming, so I was able to have a legitimate reason not to go and be honest about it. Honesty seemed to only help in this particular situation, and I wish I had been even more honest when rejecting the individual.

   When Mason was surprised and asked to Homecoming, she told her asker that she had “already been asked” and she gently stated that she would “love to go to homecoming with you.” It’s always a nice touch to invite them to go along in a group setting if you already know them well, are comfortable with them, and if it won’t complicate any pre-made plans.

And last but not least, just remember that embarrassment is practically inevitable when put on the spot in an uncomfortable situation — and that’s okay. For those whose asks have been a surprise, it’s natural to turn red, stress and even become choked up. Since Mason received an unexpected proposal, she “immediately turned bright red” after being asked.

  Mason added that she “[felt] very put on the spot, especially because it was in front of a bunch of people” and wished her pursuer would have had “a little bit more of a plan” because it’s good to have one instead of “just springing it onto the person.”

  Even though rejecting a Homecoming ask might cause a bump to your homecoming spirit, that’s alright! Homecoming should be an enjoyable experience to share with friends and/or partners, not a time to stress over something you don’t have any control over.

  Remember that you can’t control other people’s actions, so getting an unwanted ask isn’t your doing. With that in mind, hopefully Homecoming has no more bumps in the road for you and continues to go on smoothly.