When I first got engaged, almost everyone was ecstatic. I made phone calls to my parents, my brother, my future sister-in-laws and all of my best friends. I got the gamut of excitement from shock and countless questioning to shouts and tears of joy. I was on the phone for hours, so long that I considered turning it off and letting the rest of the list find out through the grapevine so my fiancé and I could actually celebrate on our own. It was nice though, to hear their happiness. When I first got engaged, almost everyone was ecstatic. Almost everyone.
There were two calls that didn’t go quite the same as the rest. Two extremely single friends who had both experienced extremely hostile heartbreaks in the past and were less than happy to hear my good news. They were cordial about it, of course, congratulating and asking how it happened. Yet, I could hear the judgmental surprise from one, and the quiet reservation from the other. I worried about what this would do to our friendships, and suddenly, instead of excitement, all I felt was guilt.
Finding out a friend is getting married can be hard to process. Maybe you wish it were you sporting that diamond solitaire. Maybe you’re afraid you’ll lose her to the world of townhomes and babies. Maybe you even think it’s a bad idea and she’s choosing the wrong guy. But no matter how it makes you feel, in the moment that she says, “I’m engaged” and flashes you the ring, all this should take a back seat to your support and excitement for her.
Yes, this is easier said than done, but do you really want to be the one responsible for taking away her happiness? Chances are if she’s really your friend, you don’t. So what can you do? Well, for starters, begin preparing yourself now. Even if an engagement is a “surprise” it can be anticipated. If you friends are over the age of 21 and in a serious relationship, they may be getting engaged at any time. If you’re looking for the definition of a serious relationship, think a friend who’s been seeing someone for a year or more with no significant fall-outs. Once you come to terms that it could happen, you’ll be better prepared for when it does happen.
Next, think of what you might say to her when she tells you. If you’re at a point in life where hearing news like this is likely to upset you, a true friend will already be sensitive to that. She may even be a little nervous to tell you. So being prepared with a positive response will relieve her worries about hurting the friendship. When in doubt, less is more. A smile, a hug, and a “congratulations!” will go a long way. But don’t forget, a forced smile and a non-inflected voice are giveaways that you don’t mean what you say. Dig deep down, remind yourself why you love her, and put on a happy face.
So maybe now you’re saying to yourself: Sure, putting your feelings aside is no problem if you’re just the friend who’s jealous or worried, but I’m the girl who thinks this engagement is a mistake! Well, you may be completely justified in thinking so, but do you really think now is the best time to tell her so? The answer is probably not. When you’re friend is riding high on the excitement of “Say Yes to the Dress” and diamond rings, she will not be responsive to hearing her choice is a mistake. Better to respond positively at first and wait until the buzz wears off a bit before confronting her. If you truly feel she’s making the wrong choice, then you are a great, and brave, friend to tell her so. But telling her in the midst of her joy is a sure fire way to ruin your friendship.
Bottom line: when a friend tells you she’s engaged, just say “yay!”