Advice

Carolyn Hax: Best friend likely to resent proposal

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend and I are getting ready to take a trip with two other couples we know, one newlywed couple and one couple that’s been dating for five years. My best friend “C” is the female half of the dating couple. She has been wanting to get married for years now and is very frustrated that her boyfriend is dragging his feet. Literally all C and I talk about lately is her frustration about this.

I sense my boyfriend is planning to propose on this trip. Actually, I more than sense it; he has dropped a ridiculous number of hints including referring to one of our destinations as a perfect place to propose. I think that if he does so while we’re on a trip with the other couples, it will completely break C’s heart and will make the rest of the trip horrible for her and her boyfriend, at least. That in turn would make me feel guilty, which would dampen my positive feelings about the proposal.

Yet I don’t want to ask my boyfriend to change his plans (if I’m right), and I do love the idea of being surrounded by friends during this special moment. I resent that we’re tiptoeing around because of C’s boyfriend's foot-dragging. What do you think I should do?

San Francisco

Live your life.

And, next time C brings up her frustration at the lack of a proposal, say this: “C, Live your life. Stop waiting for him and live your life, whatever that means to you.” This will not go over well if you say it just after your boyfriend proposes, and you will likely hear about it in an “easy for you to say” kind of way, but your situation and hers are apples and oranges. She’s unhappy. She wants someone else to fix that for her, but it doesn’t work that way. She’s got to identify the source of unhappiness and deal with it using whatever options she has that are fully hers to decide. It sucks, but waiting for one’s life to start sucks more.

Enough is enough. Good luck.

Re: San Francisco: I’m the female half of a long relationship in which I’ve been waiting very patiently for my boyfriend to propose. If I were C, I admit I would probably be a little upset, but only for about five seconds and I would never let my friend see that. If C is any kind of real friend, she will set her own feelings aside to be happy for her friend. If C throws a tantrum or makes it about herself, San Francisco should probably reassess their friendship. Life is too short for friends like that.

Anonymous

I think a best friend also won’t be too tough on C for needing more than five seconds to regain her composure. Grief is not rational (or else C would be upset about every engagement on earth, and not just ones occurring under her nose); as long as C is trying to be happy for her friend, she doesn’t need to succeed at it right away.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at washingtonpost.com.

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