One of my close friends got recently engaged and now she can’t stop asking when I’m planning on settling down. I told her I’m not interested in getting married or be in a committed relationship any time soon. How do I get her off my back? I wanna be her friend but I’m sick of her looking down on me because I’m single.
In Solitary Confinement
Dear Solitary Confinement,
I know how you feel. I’m also in solitary confinement, but I dragged myself out of it to answer your email. Ok, not really. But you know what I mean.
The problem with engaged people is that they are gloriously, joyously, incandescently happy and they are oblivious to the fact that while their engagement is like the numero uno thing that is going on in their lives right now, you have more important things think about, like categorizing your sock drawer. (By color? Pattern? Fabric? The choices are endless.)
The second problem with engaged people is that experiencing all this happiness makes them wish the other people in their lives were experiencing the same kind of happiness. Of course, while there are many things to get deliriously excited about in life, at this very moment they’re excited because they’re getting married. And they see you not getting married, and not going glassy-eyed at the thought of hitting up every bridal boutique in the city. (This, of course, is assuming you’re a girl. If you’re a guy then you totally have my sympathy if you’re being dragged to any bridal appointment, at all. Godspeed.) This whole you-not-being-as-happy-as-them thing makes them sad. They would like you to be happy as well.
When you stop and think about it, it’s actually kind of a nice sentiment. Of course we want our friends to experience joy. And maybe you are really joyful, generally speaking, as a person. But when someone is engaged (this is an assumption; I have never been engaged) their happiness meter is reading at a gazillion, so scoring anything below on the magical happy meter is going to read like severe depression. This is, obviously, because you are not getting married.
So this is my advice: do nothing. (Restrain that slapping hand for a second.) Your friend is going to keep on acting the same way no matter what you do because her questions about the status of you relationship status on Facebook is more about her life, and her relationship, and how she feels about that. It’s got nothing to do with your relationship(s) or lack thereof. She wants you to be experiencing the same kind of happiness as her so you can be happy together.
And there it is: the together part. This is a giant life change that she’s going through on her own. Well, probably not on her own, but without you. Not only is she missing out on fully sharing that happiness with you, she’s missing out on sharing those deeper, slightly darker feelings with you too like: I can’t believe this is happening. I’m so anxious. I hope we don’t have to invite Aunt Myrtle. If you guys are really good friends then you’ll be able to make it through this time in your lives together, even if you’re not having these experiences at the same time. Will she bring up you being single again? Probably. Will it piss you off? Definitely. But if you can’t find a way to laugh about, or brush it off with a silly remark, then maybe that’s more about how you feel about single, and not how your friend feels about you being single. Chances are she’s probably okay with it. (She was single once too right?)Eventually, this phase in your life will pass.
And if it doesn’t? Then get drunk at her wedding and cause a ruckus when you take all that pent-up resentment out on her cake. After all, that’s what open bars are for, right?
Been on the other side of this argument? Click here to read B’s reply to a bride in a similar situation.
Got a burning question for B? Have you ever recorded yourself stepping onto fresh snow, and if so, can you send her the midi file of it? It’s just the best sound ever. She’ll be waiting, still single, at email@example.com.