Prom season is upon us, and we all know what that means: dates. If the girls in your life haven’t already locked down a guy to have on their arm for the night, they’re thinking about it. Prom can be a hard time for the single girl: whether by her own choice or, if she’s anything like I was, the choice of the guys around her. (It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything’s fine.) Prom can also be a difficult night to navigate for the girl in a relationship. Maybe she’s been dating the same guy for a while, he asked her with an elaborate promposal, and now he’s expecting something in return for that ridiculous flash mob dance he was pressured into learning.
So when the girls in your life come to you this season telling you of their prom excitement, concerns, or woes, the answer is not to lecture them against the dangers of boys. That will get you absolutely nowhere. Instead, you have the perfect opportunity to remind them of something that’s far more significant: the importance and joy of female friendship! Cheesy, yes, but true all the same.
Let me preface the rest of the post with this: Boys are not the enemy. No amount of preaching, gentle coaxing, or straight up emotional manipulation will make your girls not care about them. They are teenagers, and the opposite sex takes up a lot of brain space at their age. I, personally, believe that girls can and should have guy friends–but that’s another blog post for another time. Even so, there are just so many risks in male/female friendships, especially between young boys and girls, and the Lord desires us to pursue friendship with other girls.
Friendship is important.
So first, let’s cut to the chase. The odds that the girl with the date is taking prom pictures in front of a styrofoam pillar and twinkle lights with her soulmate are pretty low. And the odds that the girl without a date is missing a slow dance to some Ed Sheeran song with “the one” are even lower.
“The One” does not exist in high school. (Or maybe at all? *Gasp* I know, I know. Bold statement. But again, that’s another blog post for another time.) Very few people end up spending their lives with their high school sweethearts. Hear me say that I know there are exceptions, but the vast majority of the girls in your life will not make it past these glory years and into adulthood with the same guy. But you know what does last beyond these years? FRIENDSHIP! I’m talking about good, ole fashioned laugh-till-we-cry, cry-till-we-laugh, you’re-basically-family kind of sisterhood. Now, I know that none of us are naive enough to think that our girls will always be close with who they’re close with now. But if you can teach the girls in your life how to do healthy, God-honoring friendships at this age, they will have the tools to build and maintain friendships that can last through the best and worst times that life has to offer.
God thinks friendship is important, too.
It is one of my most tightly held convictions that friendship is one of the greatest gifts the Lord has given us. It is by His grace that He fashioned us for community. And not just for kicks and giggles. Friendship is such a purposeful tool in our relationships with God.
He uses it to bring glory to Himself.
2 Corinthians 5:20–21: Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Everything we do as believers is an act of worship, so the way we choose to do friendship is just that: worship. This mindset is a great metric to measure the health of your friendships. Is going to brunch an act of worship? Yes and amen. Is gossip an act of worship? Not so much. Is singing in your car to Taylor Swift an act of worship? I personally believe God loves TSwift, but it’s not just that. The way we spend time with one another, have fun, and grow in relationships are all made to be glorifying to Him. Because we are representing Christ in all that we do. The way we love one another is the main representative of Who we belong to (John 13:35).
He uses it for sanctification.
Proverbs 27:6: Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
That’s an uncommon verse to use when talking about friendship, but stick with me, and it will make sense! Sanctification is just a long word that means the process of continually being made to look more like Christ. Forfeiting accountability in the name of keeping the peace does not a true friendship make. True friendship looks like being more concerned with challenging one another spiritually. It looks like making sure the other is in right relationship with the Lord and with others. And it looks like doing those things in a gracious, loving way (Gal. 6:1-2).
We, both men and women, were made for relationship. We crave to be known and to be loved. The relationships within the community you have been creating for your girls is one of God’s primary tools He will use to rid them of shame. That safe space allows girls to become vulnerable with you and each other about who they really are and how they’re really doing. When they do that, truth gets spoken into their lives in a way that points them back to Christ and holds them accountable for sin. In that community, girls are lead to confession and repentance of sin. And that is what will change them and make them look more like Christ.
Just to quickly revisit an aforementioned point about relationships between girls and guys: girls CANNOT do all that was just described with guys. It is not a boy’s place to know a girl’s deepest sin or insecurities. That kind of vulnerability outside of female friendship is not healthy. You have to teach your girls to maintain boundaries so they’re not sharing too much of themselves in a way that can lead to emotional dependence. Which then leads to, ya know, other not-so-good stuff. When you’re intentional about teaching biblical friendship, you are helping to protect the hearts of your girls.
If you believe friendship is important, they will, too!
It may not seem like it sometimes, but your girls will care about what you care about. If all you talk to them about is who’s dating who and who’s going to prom with who, guess what that communicates about what you value! That says to your girls that their lives are only as valuable as who they like, who they’re dating, or who they’re taking to prom. Ask them about their dresses, pre and post prom plans, or even about finals (which will also be happening very soon). If most of your conversations can’t pass the Bechdel Test, you’re doing it wrong.
Encourage them to put emphasis on the relationships that will last after prom night: their girl friends!
- Help them plan a photo shoot before prom that captures just as many moments with their friends as it does with their dates.
- If a girl doesn’t have a date, don’t push them to find one before time runs out! Find some other girls without dates and help them form a group. (They should also do the photo shoot!)
- Come up with an after prom option that they’ll actually want to go to. It may be reserving space at your church for a safe but super fun co-ed, post-prom hang. It may be a girls-only sleepover and brunch the next morning. Either way, having something to look forward to after prom can alleviate some of the pressure of having to make the night perfect by securing a date.
How kind of the Lord to give us something so safe, joyful, and straight up fun as friendship with other girls to make us more like Him. Prom season is as good a time as any to teach your girls to invest in one another over and above pursuing relationships with guys. If they do that, prom can be a night they will never forget in the best way possible.
Alyssa Lewis is a Nashville area native, enneagram enthusiast (super basic, she knows), and huge advocate of mental health. She has been serving in girls ministry for several years and it is her heart’s desire to work with young women in a vocational ministry capacity in the future. She is passionate about seeing young women grow from a basic knowledge of the Lord to a genuine love for Him and active pursuit of relationship with Him. Alyssa loves any time spent with friends, singing at the top of her lungs, and eating ice cream—preferably Jeni’s. Connect with Alyssa: Instagram