What happens when your best friend gets engaged before you do? Well if you’re like me, a very unusual number of feelings takes over. I was a part of a group text sent with a picture of my friend, hands covering her mouth in shock, being presented an open ring box by her boyfriend. The caption read, “I’m engaged!!!!!!” Yes, with six exclamation points- one for each of the emotions that were flooding my mind. While the rest of those included in the group text were responding with “congratulations” and the ilk, all I could muster was, “OMGOMGOMGOMG”. Because how am I supposed to respond?
My first emotion right off the bat: surprised. Maybe this is not the case for all engagements, but this one really threw me (and likely my friend) off-guard. It occurred on a regular Wednesday night in the middle of a normal week. The question was popped at a restaurant the couple frequents, so it didn’t seem like anything was out of the ordinary. And then BAM! Everything is changed and you’ve got emotion number one down.
I have been friends with this gal for approximately 25 years. That’s longer than I’ve known one of my brothers. And for the most part, we have progressed through the years at pretty much the same rate. But here’s what has (unnecessarily and stupidly) been throwing me off- I have been in my current relationship for one year longer than my friend is in hers. Isn’t the way these things work that the couple together longer will get engaged sooner? Sure, you can call me jealous, but don’t tell anyone I allowed that to seep through. Two feelings down, four to go…
I guess it can go without saying that as a supportive friend, I also immediately felt ecstatic for her. This is a life-changing moment in anyone’s life and she seemed to be over the moon. (As if her six exclamation points didn’t show that.) I felt happy for her and glad to begin celebrating with her this new change. Emotion number three hit me with happiness.
But on the other hand, this news actually also upset me. With marriage comes change, and that isn’t always a change for the best for all parties. I felt like I had to give up my friend to this guy who wants her all to himself. Was I going to be ok giving her away? Can I share? It was as if emotion number four caused me to feel actual grief over this news.
However, when you begin to mix all of these emotions together, things start to get a little wonky… So next up comes confusion. There are so many things to get confused about in this situation. How did I really feel for my friend? Was I happy or sad? Why couldn’t I just pick one emotion and go with that? Especially in our friendship history, we have truly embraced being young at heart. How is it possible to both act so young, yet make such an adult decision to get married? And of course the biggest question: what now?
And then lastly, like so many things ushered in, came the sixth emotion: acceptance. I had to face the facts. My friend is getting married and I need to do my best to help her out. I need to figure out how to control all of my conflicting emotions in order to recognize that this was my friend’s choice. This is not the time and place for my uncoordinated feelings to get in the way. My friend should get the best in her life as anyone should, and so this last feeling of acceptance is probably the most important one of all.