When one of the happiest times in your life falls right in line with one of the saddest moments for a close friend, it's hard to know how to react. That's why getting engaged just as your best friend ends a serious relationship can feel incredibly tricky to navigate. On one hand, you want to celebrate this exciting moment; on the other hand, you want to be there for your pal. What's a newly-engaged woman to do? Luckily, relationship experts Shula Melamed, MA MPH, and Kathy Dawson are two professionals who know exactly what to do should you find yourself in this tricky situation. Here, they share a step-by-step guide on how to get through it with grace.
First and foremost, according to Dawson? "Don't hide your light!" This is an exciting time in your life, so there's no reason to downplay it—and this advice isn't just to benefit you. "It might be tempting to withhold the news from your friend because of what they are going through," explains Melamed. "But nobody wants to feel like they are being tip-toed around or left out on top of the heartache of a break up." Especially in our hyper-connected culture, there's a good chance your friend will find out secondhand, making her feel worse.
Once you're ready to share the news, Dawson encourages paying close attention to how you do so. "There is a difference between showing happiness and excitement and rubbing it in her friend's face," the pro explains. You can still let your excitement shine, but do so gently. You want to share the news in person and without a large group present, too. Melamed also reminds the newly-engaged to understand that your friend may not react the way you had always imagined—at least not right away—and that's okay. "They might not be in a place to jump up and down with happiness for you this very minute," she explains. "Do not take it personally."
Even though your friend is going through a tough time, odds are good that she'll be thrilled for you. It might not be right away, but with a little compassion and a little space she'll be beaming with joy on your behalf. And if she doesn't? It may be time to rethink the relationship. After all, a friend who can't be happy for you despite their own situation isn't much of a friend.