So you just found out your best friend is engaged--exciting news, right? Not necessarily. In college, when I would imagine my friends' future nuptials, I envisioned feeling nothing but 100% happiness for them, taking them both out to drinks and dinner, and probably getting a little emotional, seeing as how I would be bff's with both of them. But in real life, this isn't always the case--sometimes, if you're in different cities, you don't even know the person your friend is going to marry. (Apparently they weren't privy to the plans in your head of group hugs and high fives.) So what to do when you're not 100% confident about your friend's future hubby (or wifey)?
In my experience, hearing a friend is engaged to someone I'm unsure about (whether it's due to not knowing him well enough, not knowing him at all, or just not having a great feeling about him) is usually a roller coaster of emotions. Of course, if a friend is truly happy, my feelings are positive--typically I try to be supportive of decisions my friends make (if they're not harmful) regardless of whether it's something I would choose to do in my life. But when it comes to marriage, I think girls especially have an idea in their head of who a friend's ideal mate should be, even if they've never alerted their friend to this idea. When the fiance doesn't match up to this, however ridiculous it might sound, it can be difficult to adjust.
Luckily, and I can say this with complete honesty, 90% of the time I have had concerns, with a little time and an open mind, they were completely unwarranted--and sometimes a bit selfish. The first time I experienced this was when my friend Monica called during our senior year of college to let me know she had met the man she was going to marry--coincidentally, a guy I had introduced to her. This was a girl who I had known since the first day of pre-school, a girl for whom I almost switched my top college choice so that we could attend the same university, and a girl with whom I had shared highly detailed plans--about living as single girls dating city boys fresh out of college--since we had been old enough to locate Chicago on a map. Needless to say, my silent internal pang of disappointment had absolutely nothing to do with her fiance (they are hands down one of my all-time favorite couples and are still happily married 5 years later) but everything to do with me saying goodbye to one of my best friend's single years.
Other times, the feelings came down simply to me not getting to know the guy well enough before my friend was wearing his rock on her finger. Yes, boys, we get it--girls can be over-protective of their friends. I have very high standards for who my friends date and marry, but what I need to remind myself of is that the highest standard is someone that makes her happy and treats her right. Beyond that, most of my "standards" are really just traits that I want out of a relationship projected onto my friend. Everyone looks for different things in a partner, and it's key to remember that something you might find endearing, your friends might find wildly irritating. Luckily, your friends dont have to live with your partner the rest of their lives, and vice versa. Sometimes, all it takes is some good personal time to get to know the new fiance. For me, hanging out with a friend and a partner who are clearly in love and in a healthy relationship can make a world of difference.
Unfortunately, there is that 10% of time when you truly don't like a guy (or girl!) your friend is dating, and it has nothing to do with not knowing them--in fact, the more you get to know them, the less you like them. Everyone deals with this type of situation differently, but my perspective remains the same--if I am not in the relationship, I don't have a lot of rights to make judgments about it. Unless I feel a friend is in danger, if she or he is already engaged, there is not a lot that can be done to change that without risking your friendship. If you do say something, know that there is a high chance your friend will side with the fiance vs. you. The only time I truly didn't have a good feeling about a guy ended with the couple splitting up, which was heartbreaking to watch happen. Do I feel that saying something would have prevented this? Absolutely not. My opinion had nothing to do with whether that relationship was going to work out. The only people who could determine that were the bride and groom.
In the end, we all want our loved ones to be happy. Life doesn't work out exactly as planned all the time, but surprisingly, that tends to be a good thing. I am lucky to have friends that are married to people I truly love and think are deserving of them, but a lot of that came with time and some growing up on my part. You trust your friends. Trust that they know who is best for them.