For many of us, our mid-20s are jam-packed with weddings. Our summers become less about planning wild adventures and more about wedding hopping and scouring our friend's registries for the most inexpensive gifts. Like, is it OK to buy your best friend ONE fork?
If you're a romantic, the age of weddings is a prolonged magical period of loveliness. If you're a cynic, it's an epidemic that's stealing your friends off, and draining your bank account. But no matter how you feel about weddings or love, in theory, it's hard not to feel moved when you watch your best friend marry the person of their dreams. You want to see your friends happy and on a big, celebratory day like a wedding, it's hard not to get choked up — in a good way.
But even more so, it's hard not to feel horrendously uncomfortable when you think your best friend is about to marry the wrong person, and doesn't know it. And for you, knowing it feels like a blessing and a curse. You're happy that you have foresight that you might be able to offer to your friend, but it's also a huge burden that doesn't come with clear directions. Because what do you do when you have a strong conviction that can permanently change the course of someone's life? These are seven ways to handle that sneaking suspicion that your best friend is about to marry the wrong person:
Write It Down On Paper First
Sometimes we have emotional responses to people that are not necessarily based on logic. Sometimes someone reminds us of someone else. Sometimes we project our feelings onto others. Before you get yourself worked up about your friend's relationship, sit down with a pen and paper and put your finger on the reasons you feel the way you do. Forcing yourself to put words to your distaste will help you understand it better.
Talk To A Friend Who Knows The Couple
Find someone who's close to the couple but whom you trust. Talk to this person about your theory and see if they're on the same page. If you're the only one who feels like it's a bad idea, you might want to think a little bit more about it. But if you find that other people have the same exact concerns, you might validate and strengthen your argument.
Weigh Your Concerns
Think about the reasons you think the couple is not meant for marriage. Is it because they're different? Or is it because they want different things out of life and will prohibit each other from living their lives to the fullest? Sometimes it's hard to understand why two people who appear very different work well in a relationship, but sometimes they just do. And while it might not make sense to you, it makes sense to them, which is all that really matters at the end of the day. But if the reasons you have for doubting their partnership are more profound or even dangerous, you shouldn't brush them off.
Bring It Up, ASAP
You don't want to wait until the last minute to voice your concerns. If you have strong concerns or objections around the time of the engagement, be brave and pull your friend aside as soon as possible. Once your friend starts to spend money and time on arrangements, it might harder to get through to them. If you haven't developed concerns until after the wedding is booked, you should still take the time to talk to your friend about it before the actual wedding — before papers are signed.
Talk To A Relative
If you're unsuccessful in talking to your friend about your concerns, but still have them, it might be wise to talk to a relative. But do keep in mind that if your friend feels strong in their positive convictions, you are putting yourself at risk of making them feel betrayed. So if you're going to take the step to talk to a family member, you better be 100 percent sure that you'd regret it if you didn't say anything. Sometimes family members are better at communicating with each other than friends. And if there's a serious concern about the relationship, a parent or close family member should be in the know before they give their blessing.
Know When To Step Back
If you've talked to friends of your friend and relatives of your friend, and you've talked to your friend directly and they seem to be keeping a firm stance on the subject, back off. It's their choice to spend their life with whoever they chose and if you're done everything you can to kindly and carefully voice your concerns and they're still not swayed, you just have to take a step back and trust that your friend knows what she wants.
Support Your Friend
Don't stand up and object the wedding ceremony. Once you've decided to attend the wedding — and it's your choice to refuse to go — be respectful and supportive. Maybe your friend is happier than you think, or maybe your friend will take a few years to realize the partnership isn't right or maybe your friend is so caught up with the wedding plans that they can't think straight. But at that point, when she's wearing a dress and it's her wedding day, you have to show support. It's her journey, not yours, and you've done everything in your power to help her see it in another light. It's up to her now. Just be there for her.