I don’t know about you but I’m done with hearing about all the things we’re not supposed to say to certain types of people in certain situations. Like what we shouldn’t say to pregnant women, what we shouldn’t say to someone who’s lost a loved one, what we shouldn’t say to someone with depression, what we shouldn’t say to someone with a terminal illness.
I understand that articles like this are meant to be share bait bullshit and they encourage a comments section where readers tear shreds off each other’s kitten avatars but when regular people start sharing these articles on their Facebook walls as if they’re facts, that’s when it starts to get worrying.
The craze of recent months has been What Not To Say To Someone Who Just Got Engaged. As a veteran of the internet I can recognise a shit stirring article when I see one but when my non-social media savvy pals start reffering to these posts, incredulously saying ‘Apparently it’s rude to ask to see someones engagement ring! I’ve done that every time someone got engaged! I’m so embarrassed!‘ it’s time to set a few things straight.
Things You Apparently Shouldn’t Say to Someone Who Just Got Engaged
I literally asked a friend who I haven’t seen in ten years this exact question a month ago and she replied ‘4 years’ without missing a beat. If someone is embarrassed to tell other people how long they’ve been with their fiance whether it’s 2 months or 20 years, that’s their issue. This is not an offensive question. I get asked all the time how long I’ve been with Mr Smaggle and I don’t treat this question any differently to ‘How long have you lived in Melbourne?‘. It’s totally fine to ask this question as long as you don’t follow it up with ‘15 years? Why hasn’t he put a ring on it GIRL-friend???’.
I only really care about 1% of the weddings that I hear about and they’re generally the ones that I’m invited to. If I meet a woman at a party and she’s flashing around her ring and talking about her fiancé, this is going to be one of the first questions that I ask because she clearly wants to talk about it and I know nothing about her so the usual request for a blow by blow of the proposal seems a little too intense. It’s totally fine to ask someone who is engaged if they’ve set the date, especially if you don’t know them well. I can talk about a season specific wedding date for at least 20 minutes, it’s a fabulous conversation mover. And if they haven’t set the date? They’ll say ‘We haven’t set the date yet.‘ and no one will self combust from embarrasment. You’ll just keep talking about other things.
This kind of ties into the first one but if a close friend told me that they were marrying someone after being with them for just three months, honestly, it’s going to be a shock. If people want to get engaged after knowing each other for a short time, I say go for it, but they’re going to have to be prepared to deal with the reactions of their friends and family. I think most people would have a similar reaction if they suddenly quit their jobs and decided to travel overseas without much warning. Shock is an extremely normal reaction to a sudden life change and it’s often pretty difficult to mask. This is not indicative of whether or not they support the marriage it’s a just human reaction to news that they weren’t expecting. I would avoid shouting the length of the relationship directly and repeatedly in their face if you’re able to though. A simple ‘Wow. Congratulations!‘ coupled with your involuntary bug eyed amazment might be a little easier for them to swallow.
How anyone can find this insulting is beyond me. I’ve been a bridesmaid three times and planning a wedding is INSANE! Getting married makes a year ‘a big year‘. Like moving cities would make a year ‘a big year‘. Same with changing jobs or having a baby. It’s a literal observation of the upcoming events in the engaged persons life. No one needs to feel weird about saying this. I feel like a doofus for even having to address this.
Here’s my advice.
Don’t be a dick.
If you say something ‘wrong’ just apologise. You’re a human. Not a politically correct, non-offensive word machine. Also if someone says something that offends you, assume that 99% of the time it was completely unintentional. I once had my hair straightened and a lady I work with said ‘Oh my god! Your hair looks SO MUCH BETTER STRAIGHT!!!‘. She honestly meant it as a compliment and it just came wrong. No biggie. We’re still friends. Everyone be cool.