How to Survive Engagement Season (Regardless of Your Relationship Status)

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Engagement season is now underway in full force (FYI: Christmas -- one of the most popular days of the year for engagements). Whether you're one of the newly engaged or are as single as it's possible to be, the impact will swamp all of us in the next few months. So how does a girl navigate it with some measure of grace?

If You Just Got Engaged:

  • Enjoy yourself. And get a manicure ASAP if you didn't see this coming. But please ... keep the number of ring selfies on facebook and instagram to a reasonable number.
  • Be prepared for the deluge of congratulations - texts, emails, phone calls, and so on. You're going to get really good at telling your engagement story. Although everyone knows you're swamped, try to respond promptly and personally to messages, particularly those from family and close friends.
  • Also be prepared for mountains unsolicited advice and opinions about everything wedding related. Some of it will be helpful, some of it will be unhelpful or completely off base, some of it (such as requests from your future mother in law ) may need to be handled with a lot of care and tact. Just remember that (pretty much) all of this is coming from a place of love (hopefully). If not, assume that everyone is well-intentioned anyway. Convincing yourself of this will make it a lot easier to ignore the more egregious comments.
  • On this note: have a united front with your finance. Agree that neither of you will sign up for something important (like, say, doubling the wedding budget) without discussing it first.
  • And ... trust us. As much as your best friends think you're the best, almost no one is hurt by not being named a bridesmaid. (Family may require more delicate handling!) Let anyone who might have been expecting it down gently, but don't feel guilty and expand anything beyond what you're comfortable with.

If All Your Friends Are Getting Engaged:

  • We know. Your fingers are tired from texting and typing "Congrats!!!!!!!!!! So excited for you!!!!!" You haven't done any of your holiday shopping. You're possibly more than a little tired from the eighteen or so parties you've attended in the past month. But even if this is the eighth engagement this week, send the text, pick up the phone, and sound just as excited as you did for the first.
  • ... and then, after you've registered your enthusiasm, keep your mouth shut unless your opinion is really required or directly solicited. You think that the venue is awful, the ring is heinous, and the invitations uninspiring? Not your wedding, your life, or place to comment. The bride-to-be already has far too many people telling her what she should be doing. As her friend, make her life easier, not harder. Only when things impact you (or are hugely important in some other way) should you say something (like a bridesmaid dress that is light years out of your price range), and even then - be thoughtful about how you bring it up.
  • It's okay to set boundaries and limits with your engaged friend. You are not a wedding planner (probably). Nor are you a DIY expert, cake baker, chauffeur, personal stylist or marriage / pre-marriage counselor. Unless, of course, you actually are and want to take on those roles for your friend's wedding. Otherwise, do not feel guilty about politely saying no to requests that are far outside of your capabilities or time constraints.

Anything we've missed? Thorny questions we didn't tackle? Let us know in the comments.