Whether you’re single, dating, or married, when your friend shares the news about her engagement, it should be a reason to celebrate, not criticize.
Despite the excitement for your newly-engaged friend, sometimes things might slip out of your mouth that may come from a place of jealousy that you wish you could take back. To help you avoid any awkward and potentially hurtful conversations with your friend, we talked to etiquette expert Lizzie Post, co-author of Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette 6th edition, about the top five things you should NEVER say.
1. “That isn’t the ring you wanted!”
Most women have their “dream” engagement ring, which usually details a certain shape, size and cut. If her S.O. picked out the ring, he must have put time and thought into the ring, along with a hefty paycheck.
“It might not be what she was expecting or what you talked about, but it’s still a sentimental and special piece of jewelry, so you need to be respectful of that,” Post says. Now’s the time to focus on the fact that she got engaged, not the fact that the ring isn’t what she told you she wanted.”
2. “He should have said/done [blank] when he proposed.”
A proposal memory will stay with someone for a lifetime, and it can never be repeated. “Clearly your friend is happy about it, so it’s inappropriate to judge or criticize an experience that’s one of the most important ones in her life,” Post explains.
Instead of correcting the way her S.O. proposed, or what he said during the “Will you marry me?” speech, it’s important to see the inherent romantic quality in the proposal and engagement. Holding expectations for proposals and engagements hurts both your friend and the excitement of the engagement.
3. “It’s about time!”
The issue with this phrase is insinuating that your friend is ‘late to the party.’ “It’s making her feel like she should have done it a long time ago and it’s not special because they’ve been together for so long,” Post explains. Each relationship follows its own timeline, and unless your engaged friend asks for your opinion, you shouldn’t comment on the stage of the relationship.
The same etiquette holds true even if your friend gets engaged after a month of knowing her partner. While it may seem somewhat rash, an engagement isn’t the right time to criticize the development of a relationship.
4. “I’m so single.”
It can be difficult to have your friend’s relationship grow while you’re still without a boyfriend. But, a friend’s engagement doesn’t call for a pity party.
“IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU RIGHT NOW,” Post says emphatically. “It can be about you later.” Don’t say something like, ‘I totally thought I would get engaged first; I’m so happy for you, but sad for me.’” Your friend who’s donning the new bling deserves the spotlight instead of shifting the focus to you. Save the single rant for your other single friends.
5. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
Saying “yes” to a S.O.’s proposal is an important life decision that already requires a lot of discernment. Placing doubt in your friend’s mind by saying things like ,“Are you sure about this?” or ,“You sure you don’t want to reconsider?” disregards her opinion.
“Now is not the time to be questioning your friend’s motives or decisions,” Post says. “If you’re truly confused or concerned about the engagement, you can talk about it at a different time, but tread carefully.” Being a friend includes trusting your friend’s judgment and accepting her decision.
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