Never thought we’d ever post something about this, but here it goes. My biggest Instagram peeve is the over-celebration of engagements. I have some very specific examples I will share here. This post will cover the etiquette (and lack thereof) around announcing “I said yes” 🙄
Okay so he proposed. Well done you! Chances are you weren’t going to stay single all your life, but welcome to a world without having to force yourself to go to parties you don’t really want to be at, sit through Tinder date small talk and being sat at the kids table anyway. I’m so happy for you. But you know who isn’t? Your college dorm floormate you never really spoke to but stayed Facebook friends with since 2004. Sorry, it’s not that she isn’t happy for you, she probably doesn’t remember you as much more than a blip in her consciousness from well over a decade ago. Ditto your bridal shower, bachelorette party and just about every other inane industry invented lead-up party to your wedding.
My hatred of the wedding industry deserves a whole separate post, but I will say that any celebratory industry that preys on the insecurities of others by feeding into the superiorities of brides and their mothers should not exist to begin with. We as a society need to dig deeper. I say this as someone who’s not even single. I wouldn’t dare comment on the subject if I were. I’d just be written off as bitter.
Okay I digress. Let’s get back to the rock and social media. A little less than ten years ago my friends started getting engaged. Most of their engagements were completely off the radar and I wouldn’t hear about them unless they told me. A very good friend of mine Whatsapped me one day and said, “Did you see my Facebook post?” No, I hadn’t. “Brett* proposed!” That’s great! It was early on enough on the wedding train that I was happy to go to her transatlantic do in the South of France.
Since that wedding I went to one more then went completely cold turkey on the whole institution – especially destination/not-in-my-country ones. Besides being cripplingly expensive, these friendships didn’t seem long-lasting enough to warrant the effort involved with going. I know, it sounds like I’m betraying my gender by speaking my truth but I think I’d had enough when I started hearing about brides expecting their bridesmaids to not only give up their spare time to help plan the wedding, but also foot the bill for their matching (and oftentimes hideous) bridesmaid dresses. Are you out of your mind? No one is a good enough friend to expect me to do something like that.
I’m still digressing! This is why I work in social media now and not publishing. But perhaps it’s within my profession where the problem lies. What’s the deal with people posting their damn rings on social media when they get engaged? “I said yes!” or “Put a ring on it💍”. You smug asshole, someone’s going to steal that thing Kim Kardashian in Paris-style. Let’s also think about the people you’re informing via this OTT post. First there’s your close family – can we focus on the fact that if you post this shit on social media before telling them they’ll be pissed? Okay, so let’s assume you’ve already told them. They already know so it’s not them you’re putting it on social media for. Then there’s your close friends, who you may or may not have already told about this blessed news. They either know and don’t need to see it, or don’t and will be informed impersonally. That may or may not be hurtful. Then there are your not-so-close friends and acquaintances. These people either do not care, or may care but you probably won’t be inviting them to the wedding so rubbing their faces in how he proposed is pretty done deaf.
There’s one group I mentioned above that I’d like to highlight here. Those friend you consider not-so-close. About a year ago a friend of mine got engaged. Fairly good friend I thought. She didn’t tell me, I saw it on social media. I congratulated her wholeheartedly. In the weeks and months that followed she posted her bachelorette party and then wedding – both of which I wasn’t invited to. I should probably note we live in the same city, so I would have gone had I been extended an invite. When I congratulated her on her wedding, less wholeheartedly because by this point I was feeling deliberately left out, she informed me she was 8 months pregnant. That was shocking. My friend had completely cut me out of her life and it took her social media timeline for me to realise it. It was really hurtful. And unnecessarily so.
There was no fallout. No fight. Just a decision to not include me in her life milestones. Had I had one in that time, of course she would have been a part of it.
This begs the question, who was she posting all these photos for? Surely it’s not her super close friends as they’re still a part of her life. Surely it’s not her semi-close friends as some of us are not invited to anything anymore. The engagement/wedding thing on social media is FOMO on steroids. Or perhaps it’s why the term FOMO was coined at all.
I’ve since unfollowed this friend on all platforms as clearly I’m no longer a welcome part of her life. But for some reason she still likes every photo I post. It’s perplexing and infuriating. If I went so far as to leave a friend off my wedding guest list, you can bet I wouldn’t be interacting with their social posts in the future.
Here’s another situation. My younger brother’s engagement. He’s only 18 months younger than me and has frankly not been single since the age of 12, so I’m not terribly distraught by him beating me to the punch. But here’s what grates me more than anything. The way he announced his damn proposal. He was in a relationship with Katy* for 10 years. Katy dumped him in the summer of 2016 because my brother is a massive momma’s boy with a serious case of daddy issues (or because of one of the other 100s of hangups that comes with those dispositions). I told my mother that mark my word, he was going to end up romantically with his business partner. She said that would never happen. Guess what happened! Instagram became their own personal episode of “The Bachelor”. Here they are riding horses. Now here they are grabbing a post-Soul Cycle kambucha with their rescue dog. Check them out on the beach in Hawaii after a long hike. It was just a long stream of barf-inducing couples’ shit.
Then came the proposal. He had the decency to give me a heads up, but what he failed to do was pre-inform our parents. So when he told me and I immediately called my mother, she knew nothing. Why had he told me first? We’re not even that close. After having spoiled the surprise for my mother, I opened my bedroom door to discover my foster puppy shat all over my living room. Although completely irrelevant to my rant, it was a euphemism for the current state of my life.
He then posted the engagement photos. It was literally his fiancée giving what looked to be the middle finger to the camera (it was actually her ring finger) with a massive three carat rock on it. Oh, I wonder who she’s giving the finger to? Is it Katy? Because that’s totally healthy and normal. Check out this massive rock you could have had. Flipping forward you could see him getting down onto one knee. Coulda been you, girl. Why do we even do this? We’re not living in medieval times where you have to get on one knee because that’s how people used to communicate. It’s so cringe. My brother needs therapy STAT.
And again, who was he posting this for? His family knew. He doesn’t have many friends anymore. He was SUPER popular in high school. As mentioned he was never really single, had a two seater convertible and was on every varsity sports team the school had. He even started his own ice hockey team because it wasn’t offered on campus. Everyone wanted to be friends with him. He dropped all those hangers on in the late 2000s for reasons I still don’t fully understand. Who else is he friends with that he wouldn’t have already told? The photo garnered around 2,000 likes. WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?
I’m going to stop talking about my own feelings now but it helps to put this situation into context. At the end of the day, engagement photos on social media don’t make people feel good. It reminds them they don’t have all that and are less complete because of it. The people who need to know and would be happy for you will find out, likely through you directly. The hundreds if not thousands of acquaintances you’ve made since the advent of social media do not give a shit about the person you’re marrying, the size of the rock and how they proposed. And you’re crazy to think they should. Get over yourself. Your life isn’t a TLC wedding special watched by sad housewives reliving the glory days of their wedding that ultimately led up to their unsatisfactory marriage. That ring isn’t that nice and the thousands of likes you’re probably going to get on that photo will not make up for any of your relationships’ shortcomings that are probably as clear as day to everyone around you.
Your engagement photos on social media are in bad taste and I’m not here for any of them.
*Names have been changed for privacy