What To Do When Your Friend Gets Engaged to Someone You Went Out With

15 Sep

Proven Falsehoods:

1) The earth is flat.

2) The continent Columbus stumbled upon is India.

3) Liver is good for you.

5) Your friends won’t go out with and/or get engaged to people you went out with.

6) You won’t go out with/get engaged to someone a friend (or friends) went out with.

Sure, you know in your head that this is a small world and the likeliness of dating the same people as your friends is quite high, but the fact doesn’t quite hit until the news has been dispatched, the phone calls have been made and the pictures of the proposal have been magniloquently plastered across the internet. That’s when the matter of going to the L’Chaim becomes less about “do I really have to change,” and more about “how awkward would it be for me to go.”

Let us examine The Four Categories of Awkwardness:

Normal: You went out with the person once, maybe twice. Nothing went wrong, nothing went right– it just wasn’t a good match, so, you cut your losses (all that wasted make up for you and all that extra Ohel money from last shabbos for him) and move on. It just so happens, he moved on to your friend,  they hit it off, the mirthful cadence of Married Life started diddling in their heads and…bada bing bada boom, they want to spend the rest of their lives together. The level of awkwardness lies within your imagination. Honestly, once you get to the L’Chaim and realize he can barely remember your name, you’ll feel a lot better…in a strange yet refreshing way.

Prehypertension: You went out with him a couple of times and there was actually some potential there. But somewhere between the point of acquaintanceship and serious relationship, the shidduch went kaput.  Maybe it was due to the fact that he took you to Kosher Castle for the third date or that you let your eyebrows grow out to the length of a caveman’s to test him, but either way the courtship came to a screeching halt. It was SO over. Now you can be a little nervous. You were never going to marry the guy but still, you didn’t end on good terms. Now you’re supposed to go to his L’Chaim? That’s just a little uncomfortable. Well, all I can say to you is that you gotta suck up your pride, suit up, and give your friend a huge Mazal Tov hug when you get there. She is your friend after all. You have been looking forward to the day you could celebrate the omega of her single life and the alpha of couple-hood. Just think, will this matter to you in five years? Will this matter in a year? Most likely not, so go ahead, be there for your friend, wish them both a mazal tov and enjoy the free food.

Stage 1 Hypertension: You went out with this guy seriously. Maybe you even thought he was the one…but he wasn’t. That’s gotta hurt a bit. Why your friend went out with him in the first place is somewhat questionable, but the Truth of All Truths is, Hashem is mezaveg zivugim, and if He predestined your friend and Mr. Wrong-For-You for each other, then that is what was, is and will always be bashert. I’m not going to lie, it takes someone with seriously sterling middot to attend such a L’Chaim with true ahava and simcha. Maybe that’s the test. Maybe Hashem wants you to look deep within yourself and discover the true Avahat Yisrael you have; to overcome hurt and anger and truly be b’simcha. It’s undoubtedly difficult, but possible. Use your judgment. If you are going to be happy and add to your friend’s simcha, then go. But if you think that you will not be in the proper spirit during this occasion, don’t feel obligated to be there. It takes time to digest such news and construct a healthy, grounded mindset, so don’t beat yourself up if you just don’t feel like going.

Stage 2 Hypertension: You were engaged to him. Now, this has got to be a lot worse than awkward. Generally if your friend was serious with your ex-fiance, she would hopefully let you know way before the engagement. Clearly, it is not my place to tell you what to do. I really don’t have an answer. Maybe you need new friends? Does this even happen in real life?

Fear not Shidduch Searchers, these things happen, and just as it was proven that the world is indeed round, that America is in fact America and that eating liver every day is an angioplasty waiting to happen, so too it will be proven that your shidduch came at just the right time and just the right place.

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5 Responses to “What To Do When Your Friend Gets Engaged to Someone You Went Out With”

  1. ZZB September 16, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    Assuming that M used to date F1 and is marrying F2, should he tell F2 that he used to date F1?

  2. Bluestcoking September 16, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    “Why your friend went out with him in the first place is somewhat questionable . . .”

    I had heard recently of a married fellow who no longer speaks to his best friend because the latter married the former’s ex-girlfriend. I just don’t get how observant Jews can behave like that. We are a bashert-believing people. He didn’t marry her; he married someone else. Why should it matter?

    It happens often enough with me that I go out with someone and think I should set him up with my friend. And friends have told me that they want to set me up with someone they went out with (it’s never actualized in my case, but I tried on others’ behalves).

    • coralcap September 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

      ZZB- I don’t think that M has to tell F2 that he dated F1, but chances are if M and F1 dated for a while then F2 already knows, don’t you think? Unless both F2 and M are going to share the entire list of people each went out with before meeting each other, I don’t see why it’s information that has to be shared.Focus on the present and the future, not the past.

      Bluestocking- I 100% agree with you. G-d is in charge and if He wants F2 to marry a friend F1 went out with beforehand, then that is His will and we must accept it. I feel like sometimes we forget just how much we can learn from our role models in Tanach. Rivka let Leah marry Yakov. She understood how crucial it is to maintain the dignity of others. I’m not suggesting girls should start giving their intendeds away, but the essence of the lesson is still the same– this world isn’t all about you. Sometimes Hashem gives us tests such as seeing our friend happy with a person we once dated, but guess what, it’s a great opportunity to learn true simcha. Hashem helped her find her match and He will help you find yours. It’s a true test of character.

  3. Shades of Grey September 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    Great post – I really appreciate hearing the female perspective on this. I wrote two posts about the topic a little while ago. One on this exact issue called “The Mixed Mazal Tov”: http://walkingthegreyline.blogspot.com/2010/05/mixed-mazal-tov.html and the more recent one (post-engagement for me) about bumping into someone I went out with who got married “Don’t I Know You From Somewhere?”: http://walkingthegreyline.blogspot.com/2010/08/dont-i-know-you-from-somewhere.html

  4. Shades of Grey September 19, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    And I see you actually commented on the first post – didn’t notice that when I scanned the comments since your little icon isn’t there… sorry for re-pointing that out to you.

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