Dear Dish-It: How Do I Ask?

Dear Dish-It,

I need help, obviously. My best (guy) friend said he'll probably invite me to his end-of-the-school-year party this June. I don't know when it is, but I've heard it's at his BFF's house -- a guy I don't like and my mom doesn't know (she'd never let me go to party if there are no parents there). How do I ask my friend if there will be adults there or not without sounding lame?


Dear Soccerstarr22,

Great question! I bet a lot of kids your age would like to ask the same thing. I remember when I was younger my mom felt the exact same way that your mom does about parties I was invited to -- she'd only let me go if she knew that there would be adults around in case anything happened. At the time I thought that was really lame, but now that I think about it I know she was right to worry about something like that. If something bad did happen at one of those parties or if one of the kids who were there needed help, the rest of us wouldn't know what to do -- we were just too young. We'd need a responsible adult who knew what to do in case of an emergency.

Basically, this is a case of better safe than sorry.

Besides, I don't really see anything in your letter that indicates you are not OK with your mom's rules. It seems like asking her for her permission to go and making sure she is OK with the circumstances and the situation is important to you. I totally respect that and you are 100% right for being so responsible and respectful of your mom's wishes.

So in terms of how to find out whether or not there will be adults at your friend's BFF's end-of-the-school-year party, there are several things you can do. The first is to simply ask your friend to ask his friend what the deal is. I think you feel like asking straight out would be lame or would make your friend or his friend feel a certain way about you, but you may be surprised. It's a perfectly legitimate question and, depending on how you ask it, the guys may not even realize you're asking because you need to relay the information back to your mom.

Why not just ask, "Hey? Do you think there will be any parents or adults at the party?" If you ask casually, you don't even need to mention your mom. It could sound like a simple question out of the blue. If your friend replies with, "Why do you want to know?" you could choose to tell the truth ("My mom will only let me go if there are parents there"), leave out the part about your mom ("I'll only be able to go if there are parents there") or be a little more vague ("I don't know, I'm just asking").

If you really can't approach your friend with this question, why not try to find out through what we call "the grapevine?" That is, ask someone else you know is going to the party or keep your ears open to any conversation about the party among your friends that could reveal more info to you. However, if the only person who can tell you the truth or if the only person you are able to ask is your friend, then you're going to have to take a deep breath and just do it.

Whatever you do, don't betray and go against your mom's wishes. I know this from personal experience -- once your parents lose trust in you it's very hard to earn that trust back. If you lie to your mom and go to the party without telling her there won't be any adults there she won't believe you the next time you want to go to a party where parents will be present. It will become hard for her to believe anything you say if you lie to her about this.

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