How Much Effort Should Students Put into High School 'Promposals?' — A Relationship Expert Answers

"The choice of presentation is up to the individual and their resources," relationship expert Susan Winter tells PEOPLE

<p>Getty</p> Promposal (stock image)


Promposal (stock image)

High school students should have fun when it comes to "promposals," according to a relationship expert.

In an exclusive conversation with PEOPLE, Susan Winter — who has worked as a relationship coach since 2000 — details that it is fine, and even exciting, when teens go all out to ask their dates to prom.

"I’m fascinated by Gen Z’s shift towards a more structured dating protocol, and promposals are a perfect example of this trend," she says. "It’s a decisive move that’s bold and confident, showing a high level of creativity and thoughtful planning."

"Each generation seeks to correct the errors of the preceding generation. As a relationship expert, it’s exciting to see this trend take hold," adds Winter. "Promposals require time, effort and forethought. Piggybacking on a generation of hookups and situationships, knowing that one is ‘chosen’ and ‘wanted’ is meaningful."

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<p>Getty</p> A couple attends prom (stock image)


A couple attends prom (stock image)

Related: Iowa High Schooler Writes 'Prom?' on Pet Cow to Ask Boyfriend to the Event: 'Of Course I Said Yes' (Exclusive)

According to Winter, promoposals can "vary from a simple text message to an over-the-top event, similar to a quinceañera or bat mitzvah."

"The choice of presentation is up to the individual and their resources," she continues, noting, "If you don’t have money to make it a grand event, be creative. People rarely remember extravagance without heartfelt intention. Utilize creativity and novelty to separate yourself from those who choose extravagance and flash."

Winter also says that how one asks their date to prom is meant to reflect who they are as a person, and should always be unique.

"The beauty of the ‘ask’ is when it’s in alignment with the student’s personality and resources," she explains. "It’s really important to separate extravagance, from significance. The messaging needs to be that it is not the expense of the promposal, but the intention itself."

<p>Getty</p> A white limo picking up students for prom (stock image).


A white limo picking up students for prom (stock image).

Looking to proper etiquette once prom does come around, Winter says there are a few main rules to follow overall.

"Be respectful. Show up on time. Make sure you’ve planned everything to the last detail, including your transportation and wardrobe," she says. "Then, look forward to enjoying an experience with the partner of your choice."

And when it comes to who pays for prom, either the student or their parents, Winter notes, "Ideally, it would be great for the kids pay for their own prom expenses, but let’s be real. You know the parents are going to end up paying the bill."

"For those who choose to save up for the prom, they’ve just proven they have self-discipline and restraint. That will suit them well moving forward in life, as they have a keen sense of fiscal responsibility and know how to budget their money," she adds. "There’s no loss in that."

<p>Getty</p> A couple holding hands at prom (stock image)


A couple holding hands at prom (stock image)

Related: Guy Fieri Reveals Son Ryder Asked His Girlfriend to Prom with a Restaurant Menu: 'Such the Romantic'

While all relationships can be complicated, Winter notes that young relationships — with the added stress of school, friends and hormonal changes — are no different.

"High school-aged students are testing the waters of attraction, communication and negotiation," she says. "Trial and error are the only way to know what works. It’s a steep learning curve that’s fraught with a whirlpool of emotion. To have the most enjoyable experience, have an open mind."

"Though it seems like the most important time in your life, it’s just a blip on the screen of your life," Winter continues. "There are many more years to refine the process of who is right for you, and with whom you feel most comfortable. Figure out what you want. Be able to communicate how you want your dating experience."

She adds: "When something doesn’t feel right, you’ve just bumped up against a boundary. And if you didn’t know you had it, feeling uncomfortable is a pretty good indicator that you need to put your foot down and change course with this individual."

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