What is the worst possible post on Facebook?
Oh, that’s right. Engagement posts.
There is no more polarizing news that somebody can receive than hearing that one of their friends just recently became engaged. It is the most truthful thing that nobody will admit.
Think about it. The only people in the world who aren’t perturbed whatsoever by an engagement announcement are happily married people. You’ve already done it. The competition is over. You are no longer on the clock, trying to outmarry your friends. You’ve met “the one,” and therefore, you have nothing but pure joy and sincere contentment when your friend gets engaged.
If you’re single, however, hearing that your friend got engaged is like learning that your cat just died. I know it sounds grimy, but it’s human nature for your very first thought to become, “Great. Another goddamn engagement. I’m sitting here creating a profile on eHarmony, and yet this girl, who, in high school, nobody would touch with a 10-foot pole, is getting married. Awesome!”
But, believe it or not, single people aren’t even the ones who react the worst.
The title of “worst reaction” belongs to those who are in a relationship, but still waiting for their beau to pop the question. Let’s face it, when a girl enters a relationship, they are pretty much just maintaining an internal checklist that leads to that moment when the guy lowers down to one knee and pops the question. That’s the endgame. No girl wants to be stuck in relationship purgatory.
So when a girl is confined to a two-year relationship that hasn’t gone anywhere, and then their friend becomes engaged, that’s when disaster strikes. If I’m the guy who is living with that girl, and I saw the Facebook engagement announcement, then I’d proceed to remove all knives, razor blades and sharp objects from the household.
But the worst part isn’t even the engagement itself, but the way you learn of it. In the past, you’d hear the news via a personal phone call. When one becomes engaged, it’s customary to inform your closest friends about it first — in light of such big news, you want your lifelong friends to be the first ones to know about it, so you’d call them and tell them.
If you learn of it through hearsay, rather than a personal call, it’s insulting. But now Facebook has made that commonplace. And if you are first hearing about an engagement through Facebook, then it means that person clearly doesn’t rank you too high on their “friends priority” list.
Nothing makes you feel more ostracized when a Facebook friend writes, “Everyone pretty much knows already, but… I’M ENGAGED!!!” It means your friend clearly made an effort to inform people about her big news, but purposely excluded you because she didn’t consider you significant enough.
And honestly, most of the times it’s obvious. We maintain Facebook friend status with anyone that we’ve ever made a connection with. A former co-worker, a college friend, an old high school classmate — essentially people we wouldn’t even talk to again for the rest of our lives if it wasn’t for Facebook. So of course you’re not going to become offended if they don’t call or text you to share big news. However, seeing such a status, about how everybody knows, but you don’t, still manages to piss us off, because it’s just dripping with the subtext of, “If you don’t know, then you’re not important, but… HERE’S MY BIG NEWS ANYWAY!!!!”
And that’s getting to the crux of this whole engagement issue. No offense girls, I love you all, but the way you word engagement announcements is gag-worthy. It’s become evident to me that no girl in the world is capable of delivering such an announcement without being obnoxious.
Why can’t a girl ever just modestly state something like, “James and I are engaged, and I couldn’t be happier!” and end it at that? And yes I picked the name James because I know for certain that I do not know anyone with that name, so #nohomo.
A delivery like that is short, sincere, concise, and it wouldn’t infuriate anybody.
And the worst — the absolute worst — remark a girl could make is when they say that they are “marrying their best friend.”
You know how in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life there is that line about, how, every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings? Well I am convinced that every time somebody utters this line, an angel kills itself.
First of all, there is nothing romantic about saying you are marrying your best friend. To me, it’s one step away from saying that you are marrying your brother. It sounds incestual.
Secondly, you are not marrying your best friend. The guy you are marrying is the person who you have sex with. There is nothing friendly about that. If you were marrying your best friend, then you’d be marrying the fat guy who you correspond with all the time who has secretly been in love with you for seven years.
Thirdly, just no.
Once there is penetration, the “friend” label is gone. It’s nonexistent. Your best friend is the guy you whine to after you had a bad day at work, or missed your connecting train on the subway, or need advice from a “guy’s perspective.” If you are actually marrying him, then that is a problem.
After third grade, nobody even calls anybody their best friend. That’s a title that an 8-year-old gives to somebody after they give them those orange-colored thumb bracelets that we all used to wear because we thought they were cool.
Your best friend was the person whose house you’d go to after an elementary school class day ended to hang out with for two hours playing Nintento 64 until your mom picked you up at 5 o’clock.
Your best friend was the person who you’d pick first when you were designated as the captain on the basketball court during recess, and thus were responsible for picking your teammates. And for girls, your best friend was the one you’d share a swing set with while telling each other the boy that you had a crush on.
When you’re marrying your best friend, do you exchange friendship bracelets at the altar instead of wedding rings?
As with every post I make, I have to reflect back and ask myself, “Am I being a little harsh?” And the answer is pretty much always yes. When a girl becomes engaged, it’s the moment she’s been waiting for her entire life. She’s exuberant, she’s thrilled, she’s excited, and rightfully so. After bearing the endless engagement announcements as a spectator, she is finally the one who gets to distribute the good news.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it with class. All you have to do is pause a moment, take a deep breath, think, and avoid using the caps lock and the words “best friend.” And you’re good. Also, three exclamation marks will suffice. Anything more than that is tacky.
I’m not saying that people genuinely dislike it when their friends become engaged. But we’d all be lying if — when we first saw or heard the news — we said our immediate reaction was not one of utter sorrow and dismay. But that only lasts a second. Then we’re happy.
But if you mention the words “best friend” anywhere, that feeling of dismay will probably linger a bit longer.