We’ve been taught that meddling in other people’s businesses is a no-no. In fact, the world needs to learn how to respect others’ beliefs and just agree to disagree. But what if someone you deeply care about isn’t thinking straight and you’re the only objective person she can rely on? Like a BFF who went completely head over heels over the wrong guy, and now they’re about to tie the knot?
Exploding in disbelief upon hearing the news can do more damage than good, so it's best to keep calm and think straight. Be the best friend that you always have been, and do the following:
1. Assess your views.
Review your own feelings and ask yourself, what’s it about your friend’s partner that you don’t like? If it’s down to personal tastes, then keep your opinion to yourself. But if it’s anything related to a kind of abuse, a secret (like an affair) you found out, or knowing that your friend isn’t that committed, then it’s time for a talk.
2. Talk to your friend.
Set a date with your friend and make it casual. Don’t dive into the topic right away. A friend who’s drunk in infatuation will most likely ignore your rants if you appear to know better than her. Use a respectful, unassuming tone and inquire rather than impose.
3. Ask the right questions.
Shauna H. Springer, author of “How Long to Wait Before Getting Married” mentions that two to three years is a good time before getting engaged. This is to delay gratification, to allow the initial infatuation to wear off, and to really get to know the person. Knowing the person well enough to marry him/her is the takeaway. Ask your friend these:
- How does he control his anger?
- What big fight or disagreement have you gone through and how did you resolve it
- What problems has he shared with you, or you’ve seen him face, and how does he handle them?
- How’s he with his family?
- Did his proposal push you to say yes even if you weren’t really 100% sure?
- Are the dream wedding plans taking over preparations for a life together? Like joining seminars for engaged couples?
- Are you experiencing any doubt? Cold feet?
- How do you see your partner as a parent?
- How does he handle his money? How would you feel if you would have to take the role as breadwinner?
- Are you happy with your sex life?
4. Show her studies.
If your friend’s still adamant about it all despite revealing answers, bring in the experts. Kimberly Goad’s piece, ‘Did You Marry The Wrong Guy?’, says that 30% of divorced women knew they married Mr. Wrong from the very start. And yet, why did they still say yes?
Review with your friend the behavior of those who took the plunge despite the doubts. Help her reflect on her own actions, and ask her if any of these thoughts have affected her decision:
- "I’m in my thirties. I can’t be single anymore! My biological clock is ticking."
- "He seems like a good guy I can have a future with, even if I’m not in love with him."
- "Love can conquer all and change abusers and womanizers."
- "The proposal was too good, how can I say no and embarrass him in front of his friends and family?"
- "The wedding is in the next few weeks, I can’t just cancel it… sayang ang bayad sa reception!"
Whether your friend decides to prolong the engagement or end the relationship, these four steps can be a total lifesaver. They can also enlighten you on her opinions if she still wants to go through with it. After all, it’s her call. What’s important is that you acted out of concern. Years down the road, she’ll be grateful that friends like you were caring enough to bring up a topic most would be mum about.