If at least one of your parents is any of the following:
you probably experienced intense struggles when asking to go to a party. If they are a combination of the three then I salute you and your efforts. Asking my mum if I could go to a party (or any social gathering) was an art form that no one ever truly mastered. Looking back on it as one does, I can see where I went wrong. And so, here is a step by step guide in how to ask a strict parent if you can go to a party.
Step 1: Receive Word of A Party
No later than four weeks in advance. Your friends want to hang out this weekend? No, don't even think about it. Erase it from your mind before it makes you do something dumb like ask your mum to go. Four weeks (or twenty business days) is how long this will take.
Step 2: The Plan
If it's an actual party, don't ask. Let me reiterate, NEVER ASK TO GO TO A PARTY. Figure out what your approach will be before entering into a conversation with your parents. The standard practice is to ask to sleep over at your friend's house then go to the party from there. Which friend? Not that one friend whose mum always bumps into your mum at the supermarket.
Step 3: The Drop
The Drop refers to the drop in conversation that occurs at least three weeks before the event. This part is crucial, it is the seed that will either grow into a delicious fruit or turn sour and poison the soil around it. Timing is of the utmost importance with The Drop. Do not perform The Drop in the presence of both parents. Remember, it is easier to sneak past one guard than two. When having a pleasant conversation about pleasant things with one parent, casually mention the friend whose house you are wanting to stay at. DO NOT ASK FOR ANYTHING. Asking too early will only end your plan before it's even begun. At most, propose the idea that you might possibly consider maybe doing something in a few weeks. Something like "You remember Sarah? Yeah from my basketball team. I think she might be having a little sleepover at her place in a few weeks but she hasn't confirmed anything." THAT'S IT. NO MORE.
Step 4: Wait
For the next week, do not mention any parties or sleepovers or even going for a walk. This plan will only work if you commit to it 100%. Leaving the house for anything other than school or sport/arts will only weaken your attack and provide ammunition for your parents' rebuttal.
Step 5: The Second Drop
The Second Drop occurs two weeks before the event. If the party is on Saturday the 17th, the Second Drop will be on Saturday the 3rd. It should be done on a Saturday to show that you are spending your weekend at home (as usual) and so should be allowed out in two weeks time. The Second Drop is very similar to The Drop in that you DO NOT ASK TO GO ANYWHERE. You are merely watering the seed with a "So Sarah has decided to have that sleepover on Saturday. No, next Saturday. Yeah it'll be pretty small." THE END.
Step 6: Wait
Repeat step 4. If in this week you get any good marks back from school, share them. If they are mediocre, do not share them. If they are bad, abort mission.
Step 7: The Ask (preparation)
Before you even think about entering this conversation. Be sure to check off the following things on this list:
- Bedroom must be clean (clean as in hospital room clean).
- Has your mum asked you to do anything in the past three weeks that you may have forgotten? You better remember them and do them because she won't have forgotten.
- Think of anything your mum might possibly want you around for next weekend (chores) and do them now. Or organise for someone else to do them (this may cost you money but that is the price you pay to leave the house on a Saturday night).
- Meditate for two hours. This conversation will be taxing mentally and emotionally, you'll be needing all the zen you can conjure up.
- Consider whether this party is worth the stress of the next few hours. If you conclude that it is going to be The Party of The Year, proceed to Step 8.
Step 8: The Ask (execution)
This is it. This is your attack. You are Heath Ledger in A Knight's Tale. All the years of being a peasant squire and having no friends (I don't actually remember the movie that well) have led to this final joust. One stab and you disable your parents into granting permission, but one slip up and you're off your horse and not going anywhere for the rest of the year. This whole metaphor is atrocious but it's taken up too much time so I'm leaving it in.
Don't beat around the bush. Surprisingly, parents aren't all idiots and can sense a request from a mile away so just ask in as few words as possible. Always be prepared with answers to any interrogation questions there might be. Names, dates, details, last five results from school assignments, last time you were allowed to go out etc. I do not recommend carrying notes, it is only a sign of weakness.
a) Mum says no. You ask why not. She gives reasons that you try to rebut. You say "but I never get to go anywhere". Mum mentions a non-event you went to the week before. You regret not following step 4. You say "I'll never ask to go anywhere again." Mum tells you to stop complaining. You say something melodramatic about being a prisoner in your own home then go to your room in a cloud of self-pity. Come Monday you tell your friends that you're not going to the party because you can't be bothered.
b) Mum considers it. She asks you questions about school, your room, your chores for next weekend. If you have followed the steps up until now, you will have an answer for all her questions. She will eventually still say no. You will cry and say "why don't you just say no straight away instead of lecturing me first?" and mum will say "I tried to last time". You remember last time which played out exactly as outlined in Outcome A. You say something melodramatic about being a prisoner in your own home then go to your room in a cloud of self-pity. Come Monday you tell your friends that you're not going to the party because you can't be bothered.
c) Mum considers it. She asks you questions about school, your room, your chores for next weekend. If you have followed the steps up until now, you will have an answer for all her questions. She will eventually still say no. You complain and cry on the floor of Mum's bedroom until she lets you go. There'll be more on that in Christel's blog.
d) Mum says yes, no questions asked. You are delighted and surprised. As the week goes on you get suspicious about her nonchalance and decide not to go to the party, just in case.
e) Mum says no. You say something melodramatic about being a prisoner in your own home then go to your room in a cloud of self-pity. You stay in your room until everyone has gone to sleep then you sneak out and go to the party anywa- oh no wait, that's also on Christel's blog.
Step 9: The Cool Down
You must always leave a cool down period of at least three weeks before beginning again at Step 1. By this time you will have conveniently forgotten how tiring the 9 steps are and will have your interest piqued by an identical party coming up. And so the cycle continues. The bad news is that the first 1000 times you ask to go somewhere, the answer will be a no. The good news is that by the time you get to 1001, you'll be thirty five years old and should have moved out long ago so you only have yourself to blame.
Or you could slowly develop an aversion to parties so that when you are twenty one and able to go out on a Saturday without asking for permission, you instead stay home and write blog posts while laughing at your own jokes.
Whatever your outcome, congratulations on completing the never ending 9-Step Programme and I wish you well in your future bouts of self-pity.
Mad - Participant in eighty-seven arguments about going out, attendee of three mediocre parties.