Mar 2014
Josie Bungert

How to be happy for your friends even when you’re not (part 1)

Over spring break, I grabbed a drink with a friend of mine from high school. We caught up, chit-chatted, and eventually began talking about a girl from our class that recently got engaged. I pulled up the Facebook page of the girl to show my friend, as one often does, and we sat at the bar, becoming engrossed in the posts.

As two girls in relationships (and two girls who love weddings) our initial reactions to the all-over-the-internet posts were “Aw!” and “They are so precious” and “They will have the cutest kids!” You know, the typical reactions.

However, probably less than a minute later, we were fifteen photos deep in their “I SAID YES” engagement photo album, saying things like “ugh” and “you’re joking me” and “okay, they are so annoying”.

The truth of the matter was, as adorable and exciting their impending nuptials were, we hated it. For me, I am in no rush to get to the alter, so it wasn’t really jealousy of the impending marriage I was feeling, but instead a sense of hatred for their happiness, because they were so blissfully, unabashedly, blushingly, happy.

Why would I hate their happiness? I think there are endless reasons for these feelings,  and I think the reactions my friend and I had are common ones (you’re jealous of them, don’t like the situation/think they are making a bad decision, love one of them but not the other, just think it’s overall awkward, love them to pieces, etc.). With any friend, it’s pretty likely you have a love/hate relationship with what’s happening in their lives.

So, to get myself through the inevitable continuation of posts like these, I came up with a list of ways to be happy for those about to walk down the aisle, even if I am just kidding myself.

10.) Think about why you aren’t happy, and work through it. If it’s a personal issue you have with one or both of the two, put those feelings aside to momentarily bask in their joy with them. Even if you have to eat an entire carton of Haagen Dazs and cry a little before you face them, know that eventually you will have to. When you see them, tell them congratulations, and be genuine. If you can’t do this, don’t talk to them about their nuptials, if you can avoid it. Your negative attitude toward them will be noticeable.

9.) Keep your bitterness to yourself. If you realize you are crabby about the couple because you are jealous of them, keep this to yourself. The couple will be meeting many like you on their way to the alter, and  they don’t need someone else’s unhappiness with their life to be the reason they shouldn’t be happy with theirs. This is their day and their moment; let them have it.

8.) Don’t torture yourself. If seeing their happiness put you in a fowl mood, for whatever reason, don’t relive it. You saw their Facebook post or scrolled and came across the Instagram of the ring, but leave it at that. Don’t repeatedly go back and creep all their social media if it’s just going to make you upset. Not good for your mental health.

7.) Remember that their life has nothing to do with yours. No matter your proximity to the couple, you still have your own life to live, so keep on living it. Don’t let their biggest moment become your biggest moment. If you’re incessantly talking about the couple, especially in an over-the-top or negative connotation, it could not only get back to the couple, but could be taken as strange by your friends. Even if their future together does impact you in some way (especially if they are joining your family), don’t let it take over your own life.

6.) Think about your own future. Eventually, you’ll probably have a life event you will want people to be happy for you about. How would you like it if, when the time came, a friend you once were not fully happy for, showered you with congratulatory remarks and pure joy at your success? You would feel awful. Simply, “treat those as you would like to be treated.”


Come back tomorrow for the rest of my list and thoughts on this topic!