How (Not) To Announce Your Engagement On Facebook

We've lost our collective manners

Q:Dear Amy,

A close friend recently got engaged. How did I find out? Oh, you know, by seeing her Facebook post. I feel silly about all of this. At the end of the day I’m happy she’s happy, but also actually I am really hurt!

I thought we were pretty close! We don’t live nearby, but we still manage to see each other every couple of months, we talk on the phone every other week or so, and we text and Instagram and just generally communicate. I knew she was expecting to get engaged soon, but I also expected that she’d actually tell me! Finding out on Facebook just, idk, sucks? Like I am, apparently, of equal importance in her life to our eleventh grade English teacher and her cousin’s second wife.

I’m obviously not ending a long friendship over this, but what now? Do I tell her how I feel? Do I just need to let it go? And please tell me if I’m being really unreasonable to even feel this way?

—Found Out on Facebook

A: Dear Facebook friend,

Ugh I hate this so much. Yes, absolutely, this is not worth ending your friendship, but I don’t think you are unreasonable at all to feel this way. And not in a “feel your feelings” kind of way, but in a “we’ve collectively lost our damn minds” kind of way. Because of course you’re hurt!

An engagement is a really important life moment, and not so long ago, we all got that we owed it to our loved ones to share huge life changing joyful news person to person.  It seems like somewhere along the line we lost the plot on this. (And I’m not just blaming millennials. Plenty of sixty-year-olds are Facebook abusers as well—let’s not let the Baby Boomers off the hook here.) So let’s have a little restart, and discuss:

How You Should Share Your Engagement With Loved Ones Before You Blast Facebook

Step 1: If actual in-person time isn’t possible, reach for the next best option: The Phone. I know, people have an irrational hatred of the phone, but a text just isn’t good enough for someone who is special to you. If you have their phone number, use it! Who cares if you’ve never spoken on the phone before? Who cares if they don’t answer? Who cares if it is a little weird? It’s still the most personal option you’ve got, and people just don’t walk around feeling offended you called to tell them important happy news instead of texted. (But yes, if calling is a thing that just isn’t going to happen, texting someone the good news directly is vastly preferable to a generic Facebook blast… so at the very least, use your phone to do that.)

Step 2: Once you’ve called everyone you are close to, keep thinking and make sure you really, really have, and that you haven’t missed someone. And then maybe text some more distant people. And then think again. Only after all of that is it time for a social media announcement.

Step 3: Now, and only now, you can post the news on Facebook.

But, back to you. Your friend didn’t do that, and you feel hurt and sad, and that’s okay.

I think you could go one of two equally valid ways here. You could say something like, “Hey I was surprised to find out about your engagement on Facebook! It would have meant a lot to me to hear that directly from you!” Or you could just accept that this is one of those things—no one is perfectly thoughtful at all times, your friend messed up here, but oh well, she’s great in other ways. I’d probably choose the second myself, but if you’re leaning toward saying something, that’s fine. Just keep it kind and focused on your friendship.

A Word About #RingSelfies

Oh and will y’all just indulge me for a minute on a tangential point? #ringselfies. I love them. I really do. They’re pretty and sparkly and ya know what? If you want to show that thing off, I will like it with genuine enthusiasm. But. Please. Please. Do not announce your engagement with just a #ringselfie. At least squeeze the two of you in the picture! The ring should be playing second fiddle to the people involved.

Allright, let’s have it. Who wants to debate Facebook etiquette? And who’s here for more real conversations with friends?

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  • Kaitlyn

    Honestly, telling everyone you need to tell is EXHAUSTING. I think I notified like 60 people prior to the Facebook post. It’s possible your notification got lost in the shuffle or your friend was just generally overwhelmed by telling everyone and said eff it, it’s going on Facebook. I was already so overwhelmed by the mere fact of being engaged and then telling people was even more overwhelming because you’re dealing with their emotions as well. (Pro-tip: waiting a couple days to savor it before telling everyone is probably a good idea). And full disclosure, I made the conscious decision of letting someone find out on Facebook rather than personally telling her because I found her reaction to even the possibility of me being engaged a few months incredibly overwhelming and knew I couldn’t add that on top of everything I was feeling with her personal reaction. I acknowledge it wasn’t a great move, but she wasn’t one of my absolute closest friends/family (who you should definitely not let find out on Facebook, my brother did this to me haha).

    • penguin

      Yeah it’s exhausting – we told family right away, and I can see why people wait. Once you start telling people, you have to worry about if they are going to out you on Facebook or tell your other close people before you do. I specifically asked family members who I know to be Facebook people NOT to post about it, and some of them were offended that I’d even think that they might post about it. Sorry Aunt Glenda, I know you and the weird oversharing stuff you post, this didn’t come out of nowhere.

      • penguin

        Also, we told family right away, then mass texted our close group of friends (since that’s how we talk to them). I texted a few other friends individually, and then it went on Facebook.

      • sofar

        And it was mostly the Boomers we had to tell multiple times, VERY explicitly, “Do not post about this on Facebook.” Like, I’ve seen the stuff they post, and they have no filter.

        • Eh

          My inlaws don’t get the difference between them telling all their family and friends on the phone/in person, and sharing the same news on FB. When I was venting today to a friend about my FIL’s FB comment about me being pregnant, her response was to jokingly say that their whole hometown knows I’m pregnant by now. The thing is, my friends and aunts/uncles/cousins don’t live in their hometown and don’t know I’m pregnant.

        • penguin

          Yep! One of my grandmas was all “Oh I wouldn’t, I’m never even on Facebook” and it’s like …. I see you post stuff all the time, but OK we’ll play that game.

        • Elizabeth

          Ugh my dad posted a pregnancy announcement before my brother and SIL did….I had to call him and tell him to take it down, and he didn’t understand how to take it down so he was yelling and screaming on the phone at me in a blind panic.

        • YummieYummie

          My mom called me at work very hurt and upset that I hadn’t sent her or elopement photos yet. I tried to explain (again) that we wanted to make something special with the photos to announce the reception and hadn’t put it all together yet (or even finished contacting the people we wanted to tell personally…we hardcore suck at anything social). She was pretty upset, so I caved and gave her two photos with the specific instructions of THESE ARE FOR YOU AND NO ONE ELSE.

          The time delay between me sending the photos and seeing them all over Facebook/family Groupme was about 1.5 minutes…

          • sofar

            WOW.

          • Lisa

            I would be so angry about that!

          • YummieYummie

            LIVID. I left work early that day just to vent. Power tools and anger don’t mix.

    • Annie

      Yes, exactly!! I was surprised how exhausting it was – esp when certain key people were, shall we say, not the most reachable.

      I was in graduate school when I got engaged, which means I was running into a lot more friends and acquaintances on a daily basis than I do now. The thing I found most intimidating was figuring out how to “casually” bring up the fact that I’d gotten engaged. That’s what ended up prompting the Facebook post – just so everyone could find out and I wouldn’t have to worry about bringing it up every time. So I do think that’s one legitimate function of the Facebook post, once all of the no-brainers (family, close friends, roommates, etc) have been excitedly told in person, with celebratory drinks or what have you ;)

      • angela

        My BFF was traveling when I got engaged, and then he rescheduled our phone dates like four times, so I didn’t end up telling him that I got engaged until a month after. When we finally talked, he was like “WELL IF YOU’D TOLD ME THAT’S WHY YOU WANTED TO TALK, I WOULD HAVE REARRANGED MY SCHEDULE!”

        Anyway. Yes, totally exhausting. I quit Facebook a while ago but I thought about re-joining so many times during the first weeks/months of my engagement because there was just a never-ending parade of people to run into who didn’t know.

        • Annie

          Hahaha yep happened to me with a few people, one in particular who I had to insist that she actually answer her phone right before I pressed publish on FB… lol.

      • Nell

        My mom was abroad and 8 hours ahead of us when we got engaged. It took us almost a whole week to get her on the phone! And I felt pretty strongly that we couldn’t announce to anyone else until we announced to her.

    • MC

      This is what I was going to say – I was emotionally exhausted enough calling our families and closest families, and I loved that I could just announce it to most everyone on Facebook without having to have the same conversation over and over. I also wasn’t super-squealy-excited about being engaged – I was happy to make the commitment to my partner, but I had very mixed feelings about the wedding industrial complex and I felt like the whole “getting engaged” experience was weird and performative. It was actually lovely to put it on Facebook and get so many messages of love and support for our relationship because then the burden wasn’t on me to respond in an un-nuanced and uncomplicated way.

      • MC

        Whoops – should say “families and closest friends” at the beginning!

      • penguin

        That’s a great way to put it, I felt like getting engaged was performative too. People who had known me my whole life suddenly expected me to turn into this Bride person and behave differently, and it made me uncomfortable. It also makes your relationship feel like public property – people dove right into asking us questions that were NONE of their business (including my favorite, “Are you pregnant?”).

        • NA

          I think my mom still suspects I’m secretly pregnant and this whole thing is a ruse. Which is completely insane, because there is no shame in my family for having kids out of wedlock.

        • Zoya

          YES. Women are people; “brides” are public figures. I hated that feeling so much.

      • sofar

        Yep. And, because there’s a bit of a time crunch, you have to call everyone back to back in quick succession. While constantly thinking, “Who would be the most hurt if they didn’t hear this from me personally?” so you can make sure they know before Gossip Aunt finds out.

        • kktea

          Ugh. Wish I had thought to do this. One of my aunts posted a photo of my ring (which I sent to my non-Facebook using mom, who sent it to the offending aunt).

          She’s not getting any dress pictures.

      • NA

        Yes, for me the weird performative part went for myself, my fiancé, and also my friends. I knew it would be weird for everyone involved, which made me more nervous about it but also made me feel okay with going low key and not having a personal Announcement Meeting with everyone in my life about it.

    • Her Lindsayship

      I agree, I had no idea how difficult I would find that until we were doing it. And I have a pretty small network so I probably only actually made a dozen phone calls! That said, even though I’m an introvert and hated having so much emotion directed at me (even happy emotions), I would’ve felt so guilty letting a close friend find out through a mass announcement like that. Because emotional exhaustion just doesn’t play well as an excuse there – from their perspective it’s like, you have this great thing happening in your life that you couldn’t be bothered to tell me and you want me to feel bad for you because of how happy everyone is for you?? So I definitely get where LW is coming from.

      • Amy March

        Yup. It’s like complaining about the burden of writing thank you notes. Even if people rationally do understand the issue it just doesn’t play well.

      • NA

        I also hate making big announcements about myself. I really dreaded calling my parents, grandparents, sister, etc. to tell them the news, as weird as that sounds. So friends? No, I dropped it into casual conversation within the context of telling them they should save our date. Some friends and distant family still don’t know, and will be receiving save the date cards shortly. Ideally I wanted to tell no one except our parents and surprise everyone with invitations in the mail, but our friends and family live all over and we couldn’t get our invitations made early enough to ensure that people would be able to make it to the wedding.

      • Abs

        This. I get why it would hurt from a friend’s perspective, but also…the phone calls were a lot. I will just say that texting the news is totally okay in my social circle. Almost all of my friends knew when I was going to propose because I had been bouncing proposal ideas off of them non-stop, so I just texted them real quick that it happened and he said yes, and we followed up with an actual conversation when I wasn’t exhausted from calling my estranged relatives.

        I would say don’t get hung up on needing to call everyone if it feels like too much. Aside from parents/older relatives, better to text people sooner than put off calling them because you’re overwhelmed.

    • L.

      I personally really love the idea of waiting. We’ll see what happens – I know BF wants to propose when it’s just the two of us, so he may be up for quietly celebrating between the two of us for at least a day or two before we start telling people via phone/video call (we live halfway across the country from our families and most of our friends). Perhaps we could use that quiet time before we tell anyone else to come up with a list, like Amy wrote about, of those Important People we want to be sure hear it from us and not social media. You make a good point about it being exhausting, though – I hadn’t really thought about that, but now that you say it, I absolutely see how it will definitely be that way. *mentally prepares*

      • Sonnie

        Waiting to tell everyone was the BEST. My parents were somewhere out of cell range and I didn’t want to tell anyone before we told them so we got fancy pizza drank a bottle of champagne and basked in our engagedness for 24 hours. That also helped with a lot of the internal processing before allllll of the external processing started.

        • L.

          OMG, that sounds SO fun! And you’re so right about the processing – too much stimuli!

    • PAJane

      It was exhausting! And time consuming. We were home and had people over, and I spent some time calling immediate family and close friends who weren’t there, and at some point I had to make the decision that no, I’m going back to hang out with my new fiancé now, because that’s how I want to spend this delightful evening. (Also, everyone there was awesome about not outing us. I will always be thankful for that.)

    • CII

      Once we were ready to share, we (1) phoned parents and grandparents – they told other family members, (2) each sent an email to our out-of-town friends who would be invited to the wedding, coupled with a “please send me your address so I can send a save-the-date,” and (3) each made phone calls to one or two close friends. That was it. For everyone else —
      including co-workers and in-town friends, we just mentioned it when it came up naturally in conversation or when people asked about my ring. Neither my spouse nor I share personal updates on Facebook generally, so it wouldn’t have occurred to me to announce there.

      Turns out that although I’m happy to loudly tell stories or dance wildly or otherwise make a fool of myself, I actually hate my personal life being the focus of attention. So I actually dreaded making the few phone calls we did make.

      • Annie

        The grandparent gossip train is key! There were a few family members whom I personally texted, but I found that telling grandmothers pretty much got the job done ;)

    • Jan

      I found it exhausting too. We initially only told his family for the first 5 or 6 days because we were on vacation with them in another country when he proposed. That time of keeping it pretty quiet was so nice. Once we got back it was just a whirlwind of informing people (guys, I have, like, five thousand siblings). Even though we really thought we connected with everyone we needed to, there was still one person who was pretty miffed we didn’t tell her personally. She’s a friend of both of ours but we probably only see her six times a year, and I honestly didn’t even think of her name when we made our list of people to tell. I felt pretty bad about it.

  • Cdn icecube

    Just going to pipe in and say that sometimes you can’t control everything with Facebook. When we got engaged FI’s mom informed us that we would have one day to tell people before SHE would post something on Facebook. We were pissed and told her that she would have to wait to say anything on Facebook until we announced it. She was extremely unhappy, but did respect our wishes and waited until we posted. That didn’t stop her from telling people that we had wanted to tell ourselves but i know that it was because she was so excited for us. Also telling people is super exciting but it is also exhausting. We spent the first few hours of being engaged telling people and man I had a great nap afterward because I was so pooped. Perhaps she thought that she had already told you?
    Also – I agree so much with @AmyMarch and her opinion on ring selfies. I love my ring, but didn’t want to post a close-up of it on Facebook. It’s beautiful and I love it but I didn’t want to and I’m very glad that I didn’t. I did text one person a picture of it and I regret it to be honest. Just my $0.02.

    • Engaged Chicago

      Seconding. I had like 5 people post before we had the chance to – it was a little upsetting and not ideal. I was lucky to be surprised by 30 or so of our friends the night of so that took much of the work out. But my step siblings stilll found out via Facebook. To be fair, I also found out about each of theirs via Facebook. They called me for their pregnancies so it’s now a funny precedent.

    • Eh

      When we got engaged my MIL announced it on FB (I think it was about a week later) before we had a chance to tell some extended family that we wanted to tell personally. We did not ask her to remove it but we did mention to her that we hadn’t had the chance to tell some people before she posted it and that we’d appreciate her not sharing our news on FB (especially before we’ve shared it on FB). Then when we were pregnant with our daughter my inlaws clarified that we didn’t want them saying anything about it on FB. And then when she was born they again clarified that we didn’t want them sharing the news until we had shared it on FB but we asked them not to post any pictures. We have repeatedly told them to not post pictures of our daughter (but they still do). We just announced a yesterday that I’m pregnant again. Last night, I posted a cute post about our daughter singing Wheels on the Bus on the bus ride home, and then today my FIL commented “Hopefully she will sing to her baby brother or sister. Congrats again!” Which I quickly deleted. And then sent him a PM saying that we’ve only announced it to our families and that we won’t want them posting on FB about it. He said “ok thanks” (no apology).

      • Cdn icecube

        OMG that would drive me bananas.

        • Eh

          It drives me nuts! It’s annoying constantly having to remind them not to post things on FB. They also complain that they don’t understand the ‘rules’ about FB (we suggested a good rule was not sharing things about other people and not posting pictures of other people’s children).

    • ChiAnon

      My fiancé and I actually temporarily deactivated both our Facebook accounts in an attempt to prevent someone spoiling the news before we called everyone that we wanted to. I suppose if someone noticed we had both deactivated our accounts, they might have guessed what was up, but it worked well for us.

      • PAJane

        You could also maybe change your settings so people can’t tag you/tags require approval, but of course people could still post anyway and mutual friends might see.

        • Eh

          We have our privacy settings set so we have to approve tags. The bigger issue is that my inlaws either post on their FB or they post on one of our walls. Obviously if they post on their FB then it’s only an issue of mutual friends finding out which is annoying but they would probably tell them if they saw them anyways. However, after today, I am seriously considering making it so my inlaws can’t comment on my posts or post on my FB.

          • penguin

            This makes me extra glad my in-laws are not on Facebook, cause I could see them being the same way.

          • Eh

            I was talking to my SIL (brother’s wife) and she said that she really “lucked out” on getting awesome inlaws – yep my dad and step-mom are really awesome!

          • Eenie

            We’ve mutually agreed my husband got the better in law deal in the marriage. Your in laws sound even more exhausting than mine.

      • Cdn icecube

        That is a brilliant idea. I might do that if I decide that I want to have kids and am in the pregnant-but-not-telling-stage.

    • Jan

      I took a shameless ring selfie and posted it, but this was weeks after we got engaged (we got the ring online after the actual engagement, so I’d just received it in the mail and was all “LOOK HOW SHINY!”). I regret nothing. I look flawless in that pic. The lighting was on point.

  • Leah

    Not to change the subject slightly but pregnancy is the WORST with this one. The fact is that pregnancy is something you roll out to different people in your life at different times – there are bffs I told the second my peestick came back with a plus sign, cause if I miscarried I knew I’d want their support anyway, there were people I told around 12ish weeks when things seemed to be going well, and people I wanted to tell later because, well, things happen. I FOR SURE didn’t want a lot of my friends to find out via facebook, especially not before I was damn well ready.

    But other people kept trying to out me! Once I started telling people, they would comment on my FB page ‘oh you looked so cute today with your baby bump’ or whatever stupid thing and I would frantically hide the post, tell them to delete their comment, whatever. I finally ‘announced’ on social media before I wanted to, and before I’d gotten to tell everyone I wanted to personally, because I figured if people were going to find out on social media it should at least be from me and not some rando comment from a friend.

    Sorry for the rant, but just to say: be thoughtful about what you put out there on other people’s social media as well, be it for engagement (hi mom), pregnancy, or any other big thing.

    /end rant

    • Annie Lord

      UGH yes. We have all forgotten how to interact with one another without Facebook, and then subsequently abuse FB. Back when Facebook was pretty much just high school and college friends, and everybody didn’t see everyone else’s activity on their feed, little goofy posts were fine. When it comes to big life events (or, honestly, even birthdays!!), at least make it a private message…

    • Eh

      I think people have a hard time understanding that you tell people you are pregnant at different times. When I was pregnant with my daughter there was a small FB slip up (if you read between the lines you could figure out that I was pregnant). One cousin and one friend figured it out. The slip up resulted in us telling everyone (emailing friends and cousins, and calling aunts and uncles that didn’t know yet). One of my friends was really upset that she found out on FB instead of from my email. Her husband had to talk her down and convinced her to talk it out with me instead of bottling it up. When I talked to her I explained that we were planning on telling people after our 20 week ultrasound (which was the next week). We just wanted to make sure everything was ok since my SIL had miscarriage a few months earlier and found out at 16 weeks, and a year earlier my BFF found out that her baby had a serious medical issue at the 20 week ultrasound. When she realized I was only 19 weeks (for some reason she had assumed I was further along) and the fact she only told me she was pregnant after her 20 week ultrasound she no longer was mad at me.

    • Ashweck

      Yeah I found out my nephew had been born because my friend called after she saw it on facebook. Then my brother and sil threw a fit that I didn’t make a bigger deal about his birth (besides, you know, buying him art for his nursery the Christmas before he was born) despite not ranking as important enough to get a text (we are not fb friends for a variety of reasons, but he is still my nephew)

      That really helped me decide not to invite them to the wedding. (Obviously that was a much bigger mess of factors than just this and it’s all symptomatic but…)

    • GCDC

      I felt the same way you did, so I never posted anything about being pregnant or having a kid. I told the people I talked to (which in it’s own way was weird, turns out I’m a very private person when it comes to my innards), and figured that if I didn’t talk to you in the nine months I was pregnant then you didn’t need to know that I had a kid. After my daughter was born, I had two separate friends tell me they had assumed I miscarried because I had never posted anything on Facebook about being pregnant. That’s when I realized we’ve collectively lost our damn minds. Like, reality isn’t reality until it’s on social media??

      • Eh

        Yep I’ve been told that things aren’t official until they are FB official. Ummm nope! We never posted about our engagement only a wedding announcement after we got married. I’ve never posted about my pregnancies. I only posted when my daughter was born. I only do this because I know that if I don’t my MIL will do it anyways. I’ve had people comment on the announcement post with that they didn’t know I was engaged or they didn’t know I was pregnant. In my head I thought, that’s because we aren’t really friends.

        • Leah

          I actually think that’s a little harsher than I would put it.
          I’ve moved a lot in my life, and there a lot of people out there in the world that I have very warm feelings for and care a lot about, but don’t actually see or speak with very often. I love that social media lets them share with me that they are engaged, married, pregnant, had a baby, because I am happy for them. And there a lot of people I don’t see in a year who were thrilled to send me warm wishes on my marriage/baby/whatever after they found out on Facebook – and I appreciated hearing from them.

          It’s totally fine to not use social media at all for personal stuff, a lot of my friends don’t, but there are real lovely relationships that I have with people all over the world (with people I would call friends) that I think are strengthened by the fact that we can celebrate each others’ milestones.

          • Eh

            I love being able to share things with my friends all over the world on FB. I would have lost contact with a lot of them if it wasn’t for social media. The specific people that posted those comments aren’t people that I would consider friends (for example, one is the sister of my brother’s best friend). Yes some people found out from those posts but they also understand that’s our relationship (i.e., celebrating milestones on FB).

          • Jan

            I love social media, in part because I have family and friends scattered across the country and love to keep up with the mundane parts of their lives and celebrate the big things with them too. I still connect one-on-one with those people I’m closest to via text or phone or whatever.

        • Antonia

          I never posted my first pregnancy to FB, and I’m So. Damn. Glad. I didn’t. I just didn’t want to be that “public” with it, and some folks I knew were dealing with infertility at the time, so I thought a low-key approach would be best. We actually ended up losing our baby in the third trimester, and it was such a relief and a blessing not to have to navigate the social-media waters during that difficult time.

          I also never posted about my second (successful) pregnancy on FB, and I didn’t make any mention of my son until he was about a year old.

          I also find it odd when people post their ultrasound photos to social media. Like, your kid has an online presence before s/he likely even has a name?!

          Really, really think about when and how you announce milestone events like pregnancy. You may want the love and support of all 300 of your FB “friends” should something go wrong (and to be frank, it’s likely that not all of them will offer love and support), but you may not. You can’t unscramble an egg – once the news is out there, it’s out there.

          • Leah

            (as an internet stranger, I’m sorry about your loss. a good friend went through that recently, and she does for sure need all the love and support we can muster, but among all the emotions she is cycling through relief that she never ‘announced’ her pregnancy on social media is in the mix)

          • Zoya

            I have a good friend who NEVER mentions her son on Facebook, despite being a very active user. If I hadn’t known her in real life, there’s no way I’d have known that she was pregnant, gave birth, etc. Honestly, I kind of admire that.

          • Eh

            I am sorry for your loss.

            I know some people who have very curated FB lists and would feel ok with posting very personal things (that would be the only way that I would share my pregnancy on FB – if the only people on my list were close friends and family).

            I also have a friend who had a miscarriage. In our friends group she was one of the first people to be pregnant so when she turned to us she felt very alone. So she posted on FB about her loss and lots of women posted about their miscarriages. Family members and friends who she never knew had miscarriages.

          • RNLindsay

            Everyone has their own feelings on pregnancy sharing and miscarriages which is fine, people process those emotions differently. I do think the silence around miscarriages is so damaging for women though – it creates this myth that it’s something you did wrong, or something you could’ve prevented which the majority of the time is just not the case. For some women, opening up about miscarriage and hearing other women’s experiences can be really helpful. It helps you to see that although very unfortunate, it is a very common aspect of pregnancy and nature taking its course. I think the more women are open about, the more it will help others not feel so alone and help dispel the myths that it’s somehow the woman’s fault.

          • Another Meg

            That’s how it’s been for me with postpartum depression, anxiety, and psychosis. Being open made me feel better. But it took a while before I felt strong enough to be that vulnerable.

            I think overall it’s much less lonely when we all start talking about this kind of stuff, but everyone has their own level of comfort with social media exposure and that’s ok.

        • Jan

          My husband and I are not now, nor have we ever been “Facebook official”. Somehow people have still managed to figure out that we are, in fact, married.

      • Ros

        Yeah, this. Both times, we started telling people I was pregnant around 6 weeks (including at work… because I kept having to leave meetings to go throw up, it wasn’t very subtle). So basically: anyone who saw me while I was pregnant knew, but I never announced my pregnancy on facebook, because the state of my insides isn’t public knowledge. I had people get super insulted when I posted a baby picture once the kid was born, but… y’know what? If I haven’t talked to/texted/seen you in 9 months? You can find out on FB.

        • Antonia

          This.

      • Violet

        Yes. My kid will exist on FB when and if he signs up for an account of his own. ‘Til then, nope.

        • Antonia

          I’ve posted a few pics of my 2 year old, mostly just from birthdays and camping trips. But nothing that could potentially be embarrassing in the future, like nudity or underwear, and I’ve never talked “about” him — he’s so funny, feisty, adventurous, athletic, etc. His online persona is for him to craft, if and when he chooses. And I’ve never left any commentary, like “I love this kid!” Yes, I love my kid. Just like all parents. #ThankYouCaptainObvious

          • penguin

            Yeah some of the stuff I’ve seen parents post on Facebook is pretty cringe-y. Although there is one parent who I really want to message just because all the pictures she posts of her kid make the child look green.

      • Sara

        When my boss had her 2nd baby, she had a scheduled c section and she posted ‘Looks like a good day to have a baby’ and checked in at the hospital. She said she never posted about being pregnant prior to this, so a bunch of people she’s just social media friends with were blowing up her phone while she was in the hospital. She found it hilarious.

        • rg223

          That IS hilarious!

    • Another Leah

      I think you’re totally right, but I just want to add – I think it’s totally bizarre when people name their future kid and post about it constantly on FB. like, “Jayden wouldn’t stop kicking today!!”. It makes my skin crawl – that and ultrasound pics are just too much for me.

      • Leah

        Oh, for sure. We were afraid to name our kid even AFTER he was born. The nurses were all ‘do you have a name for him?’ and even though we had a name picked out, we couldn’t even bring ourselves to say it out loud for like 8 hours after he was born. It was super scary for some reason! But this making-a-human thing is a crazy process, so whatever people need to do to get through it feeling sane, ok.

      • penguin

        Yeah that weirds me out too. So do bump pics, but that’s mostly because I wouldn’t normally be seeing that person’s stomach so it feels weird. I usually end up unfollowing people on Facebook with small children/babies.

        • GCDC

          All of the performative aspects of pregnancy weird me out. Pregnancy announcements, baby showers, “gender” reveal parties, bump pictures, you name it. Conversely, none of that stuff about weddings weird me out. There’s probably some long-ingrained Puritanical reason for my reaction. But also my experience with getting married was almost singularly positive, whereas my experience as a parent seems way too complex to flatten down to a Facebook post.

          • Antonia

            Saaaaame… “Gender” reveal parties (the correct term is “sex,” as it denotes biology and not social construct), why. Just, why.

        • Antonia

          I have a small child, and I usually end up unfollowing people on social media with small children/babies.

        • Violet

          There exist about three photos of me visibly pregnant, which I took so I can show the kiddo if he cares when he’s older. That’s it. Pregnancy was a horrible experience for me and not one I want to commemorate or show people the photographic evidence of. It had to happen, it did, it’s done. Moving on.

    • macrain

      See- we didn’t tell a damn soul until we were good and ready for the world to know. Our families found out around 14 weeks. I knew once the floodgates were open, this stuff would happen, and people cannot help themselves, so I just mitigated it myself by telling no one (ok- except 2 close friends I knew wouldn’t spill and certainly wouldn’t post about it on FB). I hate to say it, but- if you want that secret kept, don’t spill till your good and ready.

    • Siggy sassypants

      My FB wall is deactivated, and I post on FB once every 6 months or so. So, we don’t plan to do any big pregnancy or baby announcement – we’re just not into it. I have been trying to tell as many of my close friends and family in person as I can, though that means that a lot of people still don’t know because we were all traveling/busy over the holidays. I’ve been telling close friends and family who I can’t see in person by greeting card, or text message in some cases (we did make an announcement video, but we are not planning to post it, but we have been sharing that privately/individually). So far, no one has said anything on social media, which I was really surprised about, but they probably don’t have anywhere to post it (no recent posts from me or my husband AND our walls are deactivated – I recommend this approach if you are really trying to keep it private).

      Once baby is here, we’ll probably post something, only because it will have been 6 months from the last post and time to post something… ha! And we will probably send out new born pictures to our close friends and family. But definitely no pics of baby on social media… but I can’t control what other people post after visiting us – any suggestions how to deal with that?

      I agree that it’s weird to post ultrasounds and bump pics, but I do share them privately with people when they ask me “how’s the tummy” or specifically “send me an ultrasound pic!” I think it’s weird that they ask, but I don’t feel weird sharing if that’s what they want to know. Only close friends and family have asked that so far which is probably why I don’t feel weird sharing with them – but I never just randomly send them that stuff. And my husband and I like documenting the growth of the bump just for ourselves.

      I’m sorry to hear about everyone else’s losses, honestly it kind of freaks me out hearing these stories, being pregnant right now. My heart goes out to all of you.

  • Maggie

    We used email instead of calling or texting for the majority of our people. Our process went something like this:
    -We called immediate family and super super close friends.
    -We then emailed our wider group of friends (aka not my 3 best friends but people we were likely going to invite to the wedding). This move allowed us to tell everyone in a more-personal-than-facebook-but-not-50-phone-calls way. Plus, my friends and I mostly keep in touch over email, not the phone, so it was much more in line with our typical mode of communication (no one saw a missed call from me and went, “oh no, who died?”). I’ve gotten a bunch of “we got engaged!” texts an demails from friends, too, and was basically never sad that I didn’t get a phone call instead, so clearly this method works for my people.
    -And then we posted it on facebook for the rest of the world to see.

  • Sara

    I would let it go. It sucks, but there’s nothing she can do to reverse it. I’ve had some friends that ‘forgot’ to tell me they were engaged before the social media world. I think there’s a flurry of notifying but also panic someone else is going to spoil it before you can tell people. I’ve seen sisters that announced it before the couple got to or worse, a future grandma spoiling the baby announcement. Call her to congratulate her and try to be excited for her!

    Tangentially, I have a close friend that ‘announced’ her pregnancy and subsequent quickie wedding through Facebook (this was very early facebook, so it was more her joining baby/new mom groups that told people and then a few people guessed on her wall and she put a ‘official’ announcement). Seriously zero warning and I saw her daily! I used to tease her all the time that if I wanted to know anything about her life, I’d have to check Facebook first. When she got remarried last year, she eloped and called me beforehand to say “Just so you don’t find out on Facebook this time, I’m married again”

    • Violet

      I agree with you about letting go in that there’s nothing the friend can do to reverse it. I’m usually very pro-share-my-feelings, especially with close friends. But in this case, to what end? So friend can feel bad, wish she’d done it differently, and wonder how many other people she upset? Eh. Maybe if this friend is also planning some other major life events OP can let her know beforehand, “Hey, no pressure, but I’d love a call when you find out about grad school/pass the bar/get pregnant/etc,” as a way to avoid hurt feelings in future.

      • Sara

        I am usually pro ‘honestly is the best policy’, but not when there’s nothing to gain besides hurt feelings.

  • Cellistec

    I’ve been on both sides of this, and I have to agree with Amy. When Mr. Cellistec and I got engaged, we planned it out–no spontaneity–and I still told only a few people: our respective parents, my grandma, and the half dozen friends I asked to participate in the scavenger hunt. I texted a whole lot of loved ones after the fact and called a couple others. But most found one from Facebook, I admit. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some feelings were hurt.

    On the other hand (ring pun?), two friends each called me right after they got engaged, and I was really touched that they took the effort to do that. We kept the conversations short because they had other people to call, but I’ll never forget how they took the time to include me in their excitement.

    • Sara

      I have been called a few times after an engagement and it made me feel really special. I was excited by the group text version as well, but the calls made me really happy.

      One of my friends called me to tell me literally “We went to Jared’s!” (like the lame commercial we used to joke about). But her boyfriend’s name is Jared so it was a very confusing couple of minutes where I said “Don’t you basically live at his place? What is this call about?” Its one of my favorite memories.

      • Cellistec

        Ahahahahahaha.

      • Jonquil

        One of my best friends came to my house for dinner the day after the (extremely low-key) proposal, and I was the first person she told after her family. It was extremely sweet and confirmed how much she cared about me, and honestly strengthened our friendship. Another friend (in a different time zone) texted me a gif of her flashing the ring and while I assume she sent the same to other friends, I was so glad I got to squee with her over text instead of seeing it over Facebook.

    • Annie

      Two of my good friends got engaged to each other when I was living abroad, and they sent me a (really sweet, really awkward, haha) video of them telling me the news with our other friends being dumb in the background. I was so touched! And they specifically made sure that I’d seen it before they posted their engagement on Facebook. It was the best.

    • L.

      My best friend called me first after she called her mom and sister to tell them the news. She made a point of telling me this but also asked me not to mention it to any of her other friends, because she didn’t want anyone’s feelings to be hurt – I think she wanted me to know that she considered me important enough to be the first of her friends to hear the news while simultaneously protecting the feelings of other friends. It was a fairly short call, as she wanted to call other people (and it was around 10:00-10:30 at night), but I appreciated it all the same! She was super giggly, told me where they were (camping) and how he proposed, and sent me a video of the ring in the light from the campfire afterward. :)

  • sofar

    And, if you remember to do so, ask the loved ones you tell on the phone/in person to hold off on social media posts until your post goes up.

    People don’t really think these things through, and you’ll otherwise end up tagged in a post that says, “OMG I’m so happy for @friend and her FIANCE! Was so thrilled to get the news 5 minutes ago, I started crying” before you get to tell your best friend.

    • Leah

      This for sure :) my mom LOVES facebook (and so do all her friends) and whenever I tell her some news (personal, job-related, whatever) I also note the relevant facebook embargo (ie wait a couple of days, or wait until i post first, or please don’t post at all). sigh.

    • L.

      So true. I’m definitely going to have to clearly state this for some people. Personally, I always wait until the couple or person in question has announced the news on social media before I post anything about it, but not everyone thinks that way. My mom wouldn’t ever post anything like that on Facebook before I did, but she does have a habit of telling some family members my news before I can, so I’m definitely going to have to make a request that she gives me the opportunity to share engagement news myself!

    • Mrrpaderp

      I do not understand people who have to be the first to share someone else’s news. It’s such a huge violation of privacy. Like, inviting yourself to my honeymoon, level of violation. I’m a pretty private person, maybe more so than most, and this would be pretty close to a friendship-ending event, or at least a your-place-in-my-life-is-getting-seriously-downgraded event.

      • sofar

        OMG did anyone invite themselves on your honeymoon?

        We were surprised when we honeymooned in a large U.S. city and people who lived there kept trying to make plans with us throughout our honeymoon. No. It’s our honeymoon. Go away.

        • penguin

          You would think people would understand that! That was like when my FIL called our hotel room on our wedding night and asked us to come out and say goodbye to my husband’s grandfather before he left. My husband said “I guess we can but we have to get dressed first” and all of a sudden my FIL decided that we could just call him the next day.

          • sofar

            OMG are you serious?? No to infinity.

          • penguin

            Yep! It was mostly just hilarious because we were sitting in our bathrobes eating snacks but he assumed the worst.

          • Jan

            O.O

        • Mrrpaderp

          No, fortunately! I think I read about it on Carolyn Hax or something.

        • Sara

          I had a friend couple that invited our group on their honeymoon. We should have seen it as a red flag for things to come. They separated like a month later.

      • Sara

        Oh one of my friend’s besties announced another friend (S) ‘s birth (Congrats to my friend S and her beautiful baby K! She’s so beautiful) before S had told most people. She had been sent a picture and posted it to FB. S was LIVID.

        • penguin

          Stuff like that burns me up – it isn’t their news to share!

          • Sara

            I already thought this person was the worst. This just confirmed it for me.

        • Lisa

          Oh, that makes me so angry. My SIL thought I was weird for asking if I could share a photo of my husband with my nephew on Facebook, but I can’t imagine posting about other people’s children/minors without getting permission first!

    • AmandaBee

      Yup. We were somewhat outed on Facebook when my husband’s aunt posted a random “Congrats! So happy for you!” on his wall and thankfully at that point we had told everyone important (also, she didn’t say what she was congratulating us FOR, so nosey people had to guess). You’d think this kind of thing is general social media etiquette now, but apparently not everyone has caught on.

      • kazeegeyser

        One of my friends decided to have a bunch of people start flooding another friend’s facebook wall with “congrats! so excited/happy/thrilled for you!” as a joke. She had all these distant relatives seeing these posts and congratulating her on her “engagement”.

        • penguin

          My dad did something similar to one of my aunts (who already has two young-ish kids), so a bunch of people thought she was pregnant. He thought it was hilarious, she did not. (I thought it was kind of dickish).

          • kazeegeyser

            Oh I agree. I did not participate.

        • AmandaBee

          I can see how that’d be funny in theory. But realistically I would be super mad if someone did that to me.

    • Jan

      Yeah, we asked everyone explicitly not to share anything. Especially my mom, who has been told by not one but TWO sets of new parents to kindly take down the picture of their newborn baby until after they’ve posted one themselves.

  • Charlotte

    I had a very, very close friend recently neglect to tell me she was moving across the country. I found out via twitter. it hurt me a lot, and our friendship hasn’t recovered from me pointing out that, you know, it kinda sucked. So on this one, you might want to just stay quiet and celebrate with her – unless you have a good track record of honest conversations.

  • Zoya

    As someone who skipped the Facebook announcement entirely, here was our process:
    – Immediately: phone calls to immediate family and the friend who originally introduced us
    – Over the next day or two: phone calls to grandparents, emails to aunts/uncles, group email to my college friends, IMed a few close friends
    – Over the next week: deputized parents to tell extended family members, started telling friends in person as we saw them

    We deliberately kept phone calls to a minimum, and relied on email/text/IM/face-to-face as much as possible. We also didn’t worry super-much about making sure everyone knew at exactly the same time–the overall “announcement” took a couple weeks.

    • Amie

      Same here! We didn’t want any social media around it at all, but my parents really really wanted to post on Facebook. We compromised and constructed an email announcement that they sent around to any family and friends of their choosing. Before that, though, we phoned all siblings and my best friend. Over the next month or so, we told people about it as we saw them. I didn’t announce it at work, but people figured it out from my new hand jewelry.

      • Zoya

        Oh yeah! Example of how my husband’s and my work cultures differ: I sent an email to all my colleagues the first workday after we got engaged, with a photo of our rings. I also sent them wedding photos a few months after the fact. Meanwhile, my husband said not a word to his colleagues, and waited for them to notice his ring. Most of them didn’t, so they never even knew he’d gotten engaged (or, later, married)!

        • penguin

          I kept expecting it to come up naturally at work, like if people asked how my holidays went (we got engaged over Christmas break) or someone would ask about my ring. It never came up, so all of a sudden it was no joke like 5 months later so I just decided to send my boss an IM to let her know. It was kind of funny, and also really showed how NOT close I am to people I work with.

          • Eh

            The first time I wore my ring to work people noticed it. One of my coworkers dragged me around the office by my hand to show it to everyone.

          • penguin

            Oh no

          • Eh

            At the time, there were a few of us in our mid- to late-20s with long term boyfriends. A few older women (e.g., women who were old enough to be our mothers) would do “ring checks” while we were in the break room having lunch. It was very degrading. After we were married they then started pestering us about having babies.

          • Lisa

            Ugh. That’s just so… ew. Ick.

          • Eh

            Yep! Our CEO takes pride that after a recent sexual harassment poster campaign (that HR did in response to #metoo) that there were no reports of sexual harassment to HR. But women still have to put up with this crap from other women!

          • Zoya

            WHAT. I sure hope they’ve knocked that off by now.

          • Eh

            So I’m now pregnant with #2 and for about the last year (probably more) they have been pestering me to have a second. A women just returned to work after an extended Mat leave (17 months) and three people asked her her first week back when she was having another.

          • Zoya

            NOOOOOOOO

  • ManderGimlet

    Hmmm, I dunno, I don’t like this whole “this is how it SHOULD be done” thing or the repeated idea that the bride “messed up”. I think everyone has their own communication style and sometimes those styles don’t jive the same for everyone. Just the same as we ask brides to put their expectations in check surrounding their engagement and wedding, so should everyone else. Not to say LW doesn’t have a right to her feelings, she definitely does and this is a great opportunity to express to her friend how much she means to her and how closely involved LW wants to be in her life. Because honestly she may not have known LW would want to be notified in that way (like, LW could be my bf and talking about me , no joke, I didn’t text anyone but my parents and have not thought twice about that decision until right now). Long story short: everyone gets to announce their engagement however they feel comfortable. If you want a personal message, express that to your friends, both through action (is your friend the first person you contact when important things happen?) and your words.

    • Amy March

      If you want to keep close to close friends though, I actually don’t think it is as simple as announce however you want. Actually telling people personally things that are important is one really good way to actually be close to them and demonstrate that you think they are important. If announcing you engagement personally just isn’t a thing you’re gonna do, I think that’s fine I’m not saying you’re horrible and going to wind up friendless or anything! But I do think it’s potentially a bigger deal than you are giving it credit for.

      • ManderGimlet

        I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, I’m saying it doesn’t matter universally to everyone and thus a universal standard of how certain information should be conveyed is, to me, flawed. Everyone has a different way of showing appreciation to their loved ones.

        • MC

          And what people consider “close” can vary so wildly – the LW said she’s “pretty close” with her friend, but when I got engaged the only friends I told personally were my BEST friends (who would end up being in my wedding party) and my current and former roommates. The friendship tier below that, it would have been so hard to distinguish who was “close enough” for me to tell personally and who wasn’t, and also, I just didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to be thinking about that.

          • ManderGimlet

            I think communication is trickier now as there are more ways to convey information but we haven’t decided on the “validity” of those varying platforms culturally. So many people view FB as like this alternate space where you sometimes go for fun. Other people (I would include myself in this) utilize FB as their PRIMARY source for relaying info, making plans, posting invitations, and generally letting the world know what’s going on in their lives. Toss in multiple time zones, weird work hours, kids, and everything else, you make it work in whatever way you can.

          • quiet000001

            Exactly. My SO and I have friends and family all over. Many of us in the friends groups have different fb filters for info, so you CAN post more personal stuff without putting it all over fb. So announcing an engagement on fb would really be pretty normal – it’s just an easier way of communicating than trying to keep track of exactly where everyone is in the world and what the time zone is and so on.

            But that’s a normal way of interacting for us already – so it’s a know your people thing.

          • Nell

            I agree! I got really overwhelmed when a friend of mine (who I hadn’t seen for years) put me on a group text with some of her closest friends to announce her engagement. I got really worried that she had unspoken expectations about our friendship. I would have been just as happy to hear about her engagement on social media – and it wouldn’t have kept me up at night!

      • sofar

        Right. And there is sort of a high-level “best practices” scenario here.

        It’s OK for LW to chalk it up to the bride not being communicative and ignoring it for the sake of friendship while still being hurt. And it’s totally fine to put the word out there that, if you’re close to someone and you don’t tell them the big life news but put it on Facebook, they might be hurt, even if it’s “not your style” to call them on the phone.

        Everyone has different preferences and communication styles. But weddings, like it or not, are kind of a “community” thing, and there are bigger-than-normal consequences for decisions.

    • Her Lindsayship

      I see your point and will openly admit there were close friends that I texted/emailed with the news rather than called, because that’s how I communicate with them and it felt insincere to do it any other way. So with that part of Amy’s advice, I’d also say there’s a little wiggle room. But this idea that you should inform your friends ahead of time that you’d like to be notified personally of life events, that’s a bit much isn’t it? If you’re really close with someone, the expectation is that you’d *want* to share big news with them, not that you’re obligated to. If you don’t want to, that’s your choice, but it doesn’t make sense to put the onus on your friends to let you know in advance how they expect your news to be shared.

      • Amy March

        How are you close friends at all if you don’t want to tell each other about things going on in your life? And maybe that’s the answer here- they just aren’t, but I think more likely it was just a bit thoughtless and ultimately not going to be a big deal in their friendship.

      • ManderGimlet

        If you have expectations in a relationship of any kind and you don’t want to be disappointed by those expectations not being met, i mean, yeah? LW is not saying she is going to end this friendship, she’s asking if she’s being irrational, which of course she isn’t, it sucks to have an idea of something and then the reality is something very different. But if even LW didn’t know how much this oversight would hurt her feelings, how would her friend? Letter after letter after letter is printed here by brides talking about how lonely and ignored they feel, and every time the advice is: did you tell your friends what you wanted and how important this was to you? I don’t see how this would be different.

    • littleinfinity

      Yeah, I agree with you on this. I called my immediate family, texted a couple of my very closest friends, and then just put it up on FB. It doesn’t mean I’m not also close to some of the people who I didn’t call or text directly! Just… if we don’t talk personally on a very frequent basis and update each other on our relationship struggles/ victories, then you should probably not expect to get a personal phone call with the news. Plus, I don’t even know where this ruling came from… in The Olden Days (Emily Post), didn’t people usually find out via a mailed announcement or the newspaper anyway? It’s not till super recently that people have started expecting an immediate, personalized notification, as far as I know (also goes for baby announcements).

      • Amy March

        I think in Ye Olden Days most people actually saw their close friends in person more! So you would actually tell your close friends in person when you saw them.

        • SS Express

          Yep, you’d tell your close friends in person first then put an announcement in the newspaper – it was basically the Olden Days Versionne of a social media post.

          • Jenny

            Right, but like it was unlikely that someone else would submit your engagement announcement to the paper, especially without you knowing. We definitely felt the pressure of doing things quickly because we wanted to share our own news with people. So you have to balance between ok, group text or email to this group of friends, or like 10 individual calls/call backs, do you leave a message. Amy March often says if you tell someone else, it’s no longer a secret and you can’t expect them to keep it, so it feels like if that applies here, then you do have to balance speed of any kind of personal notification (seeing in person, calling, texting, emailing, facebook post) vs. the disappointment of hearing the news second hand.

        • quiet000001

          In Ye Olden Days people were also less likely to have widely distributed friends and family groups they stayed in touch with often, too.

      • ManderGimlet

        Exactly, where did the ruling come from? Why are all of us expected to perform friendship in the same way? Again, I don’t think the LW is wrong for her feelings or that she shouldn’t address it with her friend, but I think it’s unfair to say that this is what MUST be done if you care about your friends and that this bride is “wrong” for the decision she made. This entire website is dedicated to helping brides navigate their personal realities in an oppressive wedding industry, why doesn’t that apply here?

    • laddibugg

      ” (like, LW could be my bf and talking about me , no joke, I didn’t text anyone but my parents and have not thought twice about that decision until right now)”
      Same. Well, my mom was in the room, and when we got back to the house I told my dad. Everyone else pretty much found out on Facebook.

  • rg223

    Oh! This happened to me! A few years ago, when the newsfeed was still kind of new. One of my best friend’s now-husband announced on facebook. It was a similar situation where we keep in touch but don’t live close to each other, but I had expected her to call. I saw it, and it was definitely deflating. I think I reached out to her to say congrats and she was like, “Oh… I didn’t realize people would SEE it right away” (again, early days of newsfeed). Honestly, I had some sad feelings for a little while, but time made it better, and it hasn’t had a big effect on our relationship at all. It’s a bummer, OP, but your friendship can move on from this – just feel your feelings and then try to let it go.

  • Jane

    My only caveat to Amy’s excellent advice is that I think there is a lot of pressure to invite people to your wedding if you singled them out to tell them about your engagement. And that usually makes a ton of sense – your close friends are probably people you’d call abs invite – but if you have a longer engagement, it can mean setting yourself up to invite people you might not have. Or if you end up planning a much smaller wedding than you imagined right when you got engaged and before you realized how big your family really was. I’ve been on both sides of this coin and it’s fine – but it’s worth thinking about.

    • sage

      Seconded. I ran into this with my 18 month engagement. I still made sure to invite everyone I personally shared the engagement news with, but I may not have invited them otherwise since some of us grew apart in that time.

      • PAJane

        It’s amazing how much friendships can grow or wane over a year or two. We’ve been engaged for about a year and a half, and aren’t getting married until September, and we’ve had to fiddle with the guest list more than I expected.

        • sage

          Yeah, it wasn’t even so much that the friendships had waned (it’s always fun to reconnect with old friends at a wedding!), but more that these people had moved away and lost touch and new burgeoning friendships were becoming bigger and so deciding how to make the numbers work with venue and budget limitations was annoying. I think at one point I told my fiance that we could not make any new friends until after the wedding.

          • PAJane

            A big one for us is coworkers. I work in a small office, boss + coworker and call it a day, but PADude’s work buddies are many, and they turn over with some frequency. When they work together, though, they get pretty tight. It’s been a logistical issue.

          • sage

            Ah, I can see how that would be an issue. And coworker territory can often be one of those scenarios where if you invite one you kind of have to invite all. Best of luck in navigating that!

          • PAJane

            THANKS, we need it.

        • Lisa

          Oh, yeah. Weddings, like everything, are but a snapshot of a moment in time. By the time our wedding rolled around, we were nowhere near as close with our grad school friends, especially once people started moving away in the year after graduation. I just saw one over Christmas for the first time since our wedding, and she didn’t even quite remember where I lived anymore. And then there were the people we’d just met in our new city who felt like they would become good friends, but it felt weird to invite them when we’d only known them for a month. They’re some of our closest people now. Life can change a lot over a few months!

          • PAJane

            Right. Your dress is immediately dated. So is your guest list.

    • Amy March

      That’s completely not a rule though. So if you just feel like you had to, then pay attention to it. But it’s not the same as sending a save the date.

      • Jane

        I agree it’s not a rule – but I do think people expect it because they feel like they were singled out. So you may end up dealing with people’s disappointment on one end of your engagement instead of the other. And, as the engaged person, I definitely felt like I had to. No idea exactly where that pressure / feeling came from, which is true for lots of wedding pressures – but it was there.

    • CeCe_R

      Mehh.. I don’t know about that. I just got a phone call from a university friend I haven’t spoken to in… gosh.. two or three years? telling me that she was engaged. I don’t even know the fiance’s name. I don’t expect an invite to the wedding at all – I think she was just excited and wanted to tell everyone.

      • Jane

        Yeah – I wouldn’t expect an invite under those circumstances either. But I also would have been really surprised to get the personal call. Although – now that I think k about it, one of the times I was invited to a wedding after being called about the engagement was for a college friend I hadn’t spoken to in 3 years. That was like 6 years ago and I’m still kind of surprised I was invited. So, hey, maybe you will be invited. Who knows? But probably not.

    • Tera

      Agreed. I had a friend share the news with me, later ask for suggestions on where to have her rehearsal dinner since it was in my hometown, and then not invite me to the wedding. It was…awkward. Not a big deal of course but awkward. My understanding is it’s good manners to not bring up the wedding to ppl who aren’t invited. So it was weird being asked to help plan the rehearsal dinner.

      • Jane

        Oh man – that’s taking it to a whole next level.

      • Cleo

        I had a friend invite me to her engagement party, send me a save the date, made sure I put the date in my calendar and then… no invitation. I have no idea what happened between the save the date and the wedding, but she hasn’t spoken to me since she insisted I reserve the date.

        • Tera

          Wow! That’s cold!

        • Diuch you eck though? Because I’ve had wedding invitations vanish before. (Although the not speaking to you part seems like it could be something else)

        • laddibugg

          I think it’s appropriate to ask then…you had a reasonable expectation that you were going to be attending the wedding…why else would you need to save the date?

  • Erica

    We did our best to notify the inner circle before going “facebook official” but, yknow, my mom is the youngest of 9 children. I’m one of 14 cousins just on that side! And we’re all extremely close. And my fiance’s family is nothing to shake a stick at, either…

    We called parents and grandparents, absolute very closest Best Friends, the friends who introduced us, and a frankly random smattering of other relatives and then texted or fb messaged the rest (nobody has everyone’s phone numbers these days!) and trusted the grapevine to spread the word to any stragglers. We gave it a week before starting to talk about it on social media.

    Each of those phone calls lasted an hour or more and involved happy tears and heartfelt discussions and emotional overwhelm & I just couldn’t have managed that for each of my many, many loved ones. It would’ve taken months!

    • MC

      Hey mom is also the youngest of nine! And she was itching to post our engagement news on social media :)

    • PAJane

      Sometimes a family gossip tree can be a useful thing.

    • RNLindsay

      My mom is one of 8! I knew I only wanted to wait till the next day to post on fb (it was close to midnight the night we got engaged) so I told her she could tell whoever she wanted except one particular brother of hers. Even though I would just be posting the next day, I knew he would’ve beat me to it even then! Otherwise, family gossip tree for the win.

  • sofar

    I get the ring-only shot, in certain circumstances. My husband proposed in a really pretty spot with a smoking volcano in the background, so I snapped a picture of the ring on my hand held up the view of the smoking volcano.

    We knew our FB announcement picture would be shared to approximately 2,348 members of my fiance’s Auntie Network across the world. I’ve heard said Aunties pick apart the appearance of women the men in their community get engaged/married to (and let’s face it, they’ve picked apart my appearance).

    So, we used the ring-on-hand-with-volcano in the background ONLY.

    I can totally get doing that if you’re self-conscious and you don’t want your face getting shared to the feeds of people you’ve never met.

    • CeCe_R

      Haha yeah.. I think there is one very blurry photo from the actual day we got engaged that has likely been lost in cyberspace now but I was bawling my eyes out and it was not a cute look (plus, we were at home in the living room so I didn’t NEED to have a ‘in the moment’ photo). We waited a couple days and took our engagement photos ourselves and used those to announce on social media. In the meantime we contacted most people we were close with.

      • Sonnie

        We did a similar thing. We got engaged after a very long bike ride and neither of us was looking all that cute. I took a couple shots for us but then took a more posed picture a couple days later to share on Facebook.

    • littleinfinity

      Yep, and I think the ring picture ruling is pretty arbitrary. I’ve never seen anything else on APW that says not to post pictures of your ring… everyone does it, it’s basically like a genre of photography… so I don’t really get the sudden hard line against it.

      • Amy March

        It’s not a ruling. It isn’t official APW Word From High. It’s my opinion. If that doesn’t work for you totally fine! Also my advice was not “don’t post ring pictures” it was “don’t announce your engagement with just a ring picture” to be clear.

  • What Amy just told yall not to do, is basically what I did – in my defense, I was just so damn excited.

    LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES YALL.

    • emilyg25

      Same here! I called my parents and my brother and my best friend. I even asked my mom to call extended family so I could post it the next day. But then I just got so excited! And I jumped my own gun!! I don’t even feel that bad about it tbh.

      • Lexipedia

        Yep. Text thread with my best girlfriends right after, calls to parents that night, siblings and grandparents the next day, and encouraged parents to spread the information to the rest of the family. We posted on Sunday after the VIPs knew.

        Honestly, I’d probably be more ok with finding out close friends got engaged on Facebook right after than finding out from them a week later and realizing I *really* wasn’t on the VIP list.

    • Catherine Schepp

      Ditto. I had a zillion reasons for posting shortly after getting engaged (e.g. I was moving 2 states away and starting a new job in 2 days and didn’t have the time to call everyone and their brother until about 5 weeks after the proposal, many people were there for the proposal and all wanted to post about it, etc.) But at the end of the day I really hurt some people’s feelings, which I regret. That being said, one friend texted me that I hurt her feelings and then refused to pick up my calls or respond to my apology texts for days. I spent an hour of what should have been one of the happiest weekends of my life sobbing into a pillow and beating myself up about it. So LW, if you do talk to your friend, be gracious and understand she was probably just really really excited. Giving her the chance to apologize and explain how important you are to her is great, but the proposal and her feelings about it aren’t about you. She loves you and is honored to have you in her life and can’t wait to share all the smiles with you. She may just want to hitch a ride on a blimp, throw confetti in the air, and scream that she’s engaged to the entire world first.

  • QuietlyEngaged

    We’ve kept our engagement very quiet – we have not been public about it at all. I don’t wear a ring (I strongly dislike engagement rings, although I know not everyone feels that way). We’ve mostly only told people we plan on inviting, since we’re going to do a very small ceremony and reception (35 people including us). How do you tell people with whom you’re friends but whom you don’t plan to invite to the wedding? I’m worried about raising expectations for an invitation when I know some people won’t be getting them.

    • Amy March

      I think that there’s nothing wrong with working “we are planning an extremely small wedding” into a “we got engaged” convo- whether you have that conversation in person or on the phone.

    • Angela’s Back

      Honestly, I think you just tell them! The more pressure you put on yourself to keep it low key and not tell people who aren’t invited, the more those people will sense that there are Feelings surrounding it whenever they do find out. Keep in mind too that you can tell said people you’re engaged and in the same breath talk about how excited you are to be planning your itty bitty teeny tiny wedding with very few invited guests. My husband and I also had a very small wedding–just family so it was literally 10 people including us–and I made sure to bring that up with all my friends so they wouldn’t feel like it was just them being excluded or anything. Most people will probably just be excited for you, and if they’re your friends, they’ll understand if you’re doing something smaller that probably makes more sense for you all as a couple.

    • LazyMountain

      You could even frame it a bit differently as “we decided to get married” rather than “we got engaged” since the latter does tend to come with an announcement. That phrasing helps drive the conversation toward what you’ve planned (a small wedding) and nobody feels too bad as a result!

  • L.

    I have a friend whom I used to consider myself pretty close to, make time to visit every time I’m home, etc. etc. who has made a couple of these big life announcements on social media before I found out. The first was her engagement, and I was pretty hurt, and I did say something to her about it. I didn’t particularly appreciate her response (it included telling me to “shush”), I think she admitted that she “forgot” or didn’t think to tell me or something along those lines. We have mutual friends (I was actually friends with them first and came to know her through them), so it kind of hurt.

    As a separate story, one of my boyfriend’s good friends got engaged back in 2014. He didn’t even tell my boyfriend that he was *thinking* about proposing, let alone that he actually did it. I found out first when it was blasted all over Facebook, got upset, yelled the news to my boyfriend, and then cried (jealousy is a bitch – their relationship has been going on almost as long as ours has – they got married about a year later in 2015…and here we are, about to celebrate six years, and still no engagement…but each relationship is different, and I know that).

    So, yeah. I agree with Amy’s advice. Really think about your family and friends and who’s close enough to you to deserve to know before it gets shared all over social media. Those experiences, as well as reading many posts here on APW, have really helped me to think through how my boyfriend and I should handle this when he proposes (which I think will be soon – he’s had my ring since before Christmas!). Thank you to Amy and to all of you other APW readers and commenters for your sage, thoughtful advice!

    • Zoya

      Your second story makes me think: there’s an impulse sometimes, when you’re blindsided by ugly feelings, to look for ways that the person provoking those feelings has done something wrong, so that you have a place to direct that emotion. This is definitely something I’m susceptible to, and it has taken a lot of practice and mindfulness to break out of it. (In a way, it helps that one of my hot-button issues is unexpected pregnancy announcements, where it’s *really* hard to blame the other person for, what, accidentally getting knocked up and being excited about it?)

      • L.

        So true. I know my feelings were irrational, but I was really upset about it…for quite a while, honestly. But I finally let it go. They’re happy, so they deserve to be celebrated by their friends!

  • pdxatheart

    Oh no! LW, so sorry it happened! I would go with Amy’s option #2 though, in order to keep closeness intact and to avoid a blow up into larger issues. In case, of course, there are larger ones!
    Totally possible it was an innocent oversight or there was too much pressure. My future sister in law posted our engagement on FB before I was ready, so then I just got it over with to avoid any further offenses. Congratulations to your friend and to you for supporting her through her relationship!

  • Mrrpaderp

    Oh yes I have some Thoughts on this topic.

    First and foremost – presume good intentions. Things happen FAST nowadays. It’s very possible that someone she told before you (ahem, mom) went right to Facebook and posted the happy news. When that happens, people generally make their own post so their friends find out from them (even if on fb) rather than mom’s fb. This actually happened to a friend of mine about her husband’s death. One of her husband’s friends posted a long RIP message on husband’s wall BEFORE THE DECEASED’S WIFE OR PARENTS had said anything publicly. So that’s how a bunch of the guy’s friends and relatives found out about his death. People are un-freaking-believable.

    That said. It’s hard to not take this personally. I agree with Amy’s script – if you must say something then make it about your feelings. See what your friend says. Is there a reason (like above)? Is she dismissive? Many times, someone’s reaction to learning that they’ve hurt your feelings is a lot more instructive than whatever they did to hurt you in the first place.

    • penguin

      Ugh that’s so awful about the RIP post – wow!

    • Kate

      A similar thing happened in my family and it was incredibly traumatic for the person’s parents/other family members. The cherry on top were the “friends” probing for information on social media and dismissing family requests for privacy/space. This led me to have the Very Strong Feelings about deaths/social media I mention in my comment.

    • PAJane

      Holy hell, I have so many thoughts about social media etiquette when it comes to deaths. If you’re asking on the person’s facebook wall for the details of how they died, you’re not on the list of people who gets to know. And there’s a very, very good chance you’re not on the short list of people who gets to post said details for others to read.

    • flashphase

      yeah, a relative’s fiance posted on facebook like immediately after they got engaged while she was still calling her parents, siblings etc. she didn’t get a chance to call her BFFs before they saw on FB.

      • PAJane

        AGGGG, they didn’t even talk about that, the two of them?

        • flashphase

          yeah……… I think it didn’t occur to her he would go ahead and do that?

      • Mrrpaderp

        Yes super important to be on the same page as your SO. Some people just don’t think about it. My ex isn’t on social media at all but his family is. He didn’t think it was important to tell them right away when we got engaged. Uh no news travels fast and you didn’t tell me not to tell anyone, your family is going to find out through the grapevine if you don’t tell them yourself right away.

    • Emei

      Unexpected deaths really intensify people’s weird behaviour sometimes. I found out that a fairly close friend had suddenly died through a group chat meant for silly things on Facebook. The one who posted knew his colleagues, who’d been told the same day. But none of the really close people had found the energy to tell everyone yet. It was awful.

      Still, after the first shock everyone got the message not to post anything publicly until the widow did, and hundreds of people in our international sub-cultural scene were told while the whole thing stayed of social media. So – both terrible and really good manners I guess.

    • Jan

      I am continually horrified by how thoughtless people are when they post on social media about a death. I found out my grandfather died because my aunt (who is my father’s sister; this was my mother’s father, so NOT EVEN ACTUALLY RELATED TO HIM) posted about it on Facebook as soon as she heard the news. I went from heartbroken to furious real quick.

      Also, I wholeheartedly agree with this: “Many times, someone’s reaction to learning that they’ve hurt your feelings is a lot more instructive than whatever they did to hurt you in the first place.”

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        A family member posted about her brother’s death BEFORE SOME OF THE OTHER SIBLINGS FOUND OUT. I still can’t think about it without roiling rage in my heart. It was horrible.

  • Kate

    I am someone who has Very Strong Feelings about the ways people share news of a death or other traumatic events on social media, but I don’t think you’re required to reach out to everyone you’re close with before announcing an engagement on social media. I would be hurt if my sisters didn’t tell me directly or if it turns out I was the only friend who didn’t get a phone call/text, but otherwise you never know why people make certain choices. For example, maybe the conversation with parents didn’t go as they hoped and they don’t have the emotional energy left for phone calls/texts. Maybe they know a family member is going to spill the beans asap and they want to do it on their own terms.

  • PAJane

    If you’re gonna say something, maybe start with, “Congratulations, I’m so excited for you!” before you launch into the part about your feelings being hurt.

    • Ashweck

      Yes this! Such incredibly important advice to remember. I understand being hurt but do NOT let it override your joy for her.

      I told one of my best friends in person and he didn’t say “Congratulaions!” He just talked about how it made him feel (apparently not like other friends’ engagements.)

      Spoiler: we barely speak now.

      • Jenny

        Yes! The second or third friend call I made had a less than great reaction, and it sort of sucked the joy out of it. We ended up just hanging out for the rest of the day and not calling anyone else after that, and then sending a few group texts that evening before posting it on facebook (because we thought “hearing it from us on facebook is better than hearing from others on Facebook”).

    • Catherine Schepp

      FOR REAL. We announced our engagement on facebook shortly after the proposal for a number of reasons including we were moving and starting new jobs in a couple of days and didn’t have the time to call everyone until about 5 weeks after the proposal, my fiancé planned a big camp out with lots of people for the proposal so more than a handful of people were yammering on about how badly they wanted to post pictures, etc! I regret that I hurt people’s feelings but I had one friend text me about how hurt she was and then ignore my apology texts and calls for days. I ended up crying during one of the happiest weekends of my life over it. If you talk to your friend about it, be gracious and ready to accept an apology rather than start a fight. Your friendship will be stronger for it and she will probably love having the chance to validate how special you are to her while gleefully recounting the proposal.

    • Jotpe

      Yeah; I feel like this is an easy thing to mess up. Full disclosure, I definitely didn’t do this right. I called and texted a close circle of people, but a much smaller group than he did. Right or wrong, I just got overwhelmed. We posted on social media the Friday after the Sunday we got engaged and while I had time to reach out to more people it just felt like so much, and for every person I did call I felt like I was leaving more people out, and it didn’t seem like a big deal since only one of my friends had ever told me about her engagement before the facebook post. I think I did hurt some feelings but it was certainly not intentional. I’m grateful that people (seem to) have cut me some slack.

  • Emily

    Agreed on the #ringselfies! I don’t have one damn picture from the night we got engaged, even though it was also my birthday party. I’ve at least 3 pictures of my stupid, pretty (stupid pretty?) ring.

    • Jotpe

      We don’t have any pictures of the actual question-popping (which I kind of love that he got down on one knee with a ring for just my benefit). My mom took a couple of pictures the next morning — one of us grinning like idiots at breakfast, and a paparazzi picture of us each on our phones doing calls/texts. Those photos are actually kind of precious to me but not all that attractive, so when we posted on Facebook we used a cute selfie we had taken the day before. I put a ring picture third in the stack on instagram. I think my ring is gorgeous so I’m happy to share but I agree a people picture is much much better :)

  • flashphase

    A generalization about social media: there are people who see certain kinds of information as more private/special/needing to be told person to person; and people who generally see facebook as a way to share in which all forms of information are equally relevant and shareable (from “I have a cold” to “I’m engaged”). Generally the two groups do not see eye to eye on sharing online. To the extent that you can shrug it off as “they have a different approach to information and social media than I do,” and not take it personally, I think it’ll help.

  • Katelyn

    So apparently I did everything wrong on this one… ring selfie (we took a REALLY BAD photo of ourselves suuuper drunk later that night which was wholly inappropriate to share with anyone), only told our absolute nearest and dearest – and just posted it up on Facebook/Instagram (and Snapchat).

    It never even OCCURRED to me that this was anything non-normal/rude. Maybe because my friends have done the same? Like people I see on a regular basis and consider close. Now I’m worried about having offended people 15 months ago, and I’m a little upset that APW of all places has decided to add that to my long list of things I’ve fucked up, both real and imagined.

    Then again as a hot mess of a person who doesn’t have her home life together and a complicated shared finance structure, I am obviously not the target demographic this week…

    • littleinfinity

      Hahaha… hard same on all of the above, dude. IT ME. No 3-tiered financial analyst-driven 5-year plan, messy floors, ring selfie, social media announcement, the works. And all of my friends are the same way! Come join me in hell (pats comfy chair next to me)

    • Amy March

      Or just move on? It’s advice not a condemnation. I’m not telling you or anyone else to add this to your list of “mistakes.” You don’t have to internalize it- you did what you wanted, your relationships are fine, that is all great. Not all advice is going to work for everyone.

      • littleinfinity

        Well… you did say “of course you’re hurt”, “we’ve lost the plot”, “a text just isn’t good enough”, etc, etc. It feels like you are characterizing her friend’s way of sharing the news as unequivocally a mistake. Obviously, not everyone is going to agree with all your advice and that’s ok! But your wording definitely did give the impression that LW’s friend (and by extension, anyone doing the same) was in the wrong.

      • Katelyn

        Well, as a person I respect and enjoy reading, I do take your words to heart. And when they are directly and bluntly criticizing people who do the same things I’ve done, I feel bad. I’m sorry if your intention wasn’t condemnation, but it certainly came across like that to me. Sorry for feeling feelings and commenting about them. I’ll go fuck off.

        • Amy March

          Wow okay that’s not at all what I meant. Just that I’m not suggesting you or anyone else need to feel those feelings or that I’m trying to add to your list of failure.

        • penguin

          I try to take advice from Amy March with a grain of salt, just because she does write reaallllly bluntly. I’m sure your engagement announcement worked well for you, and anyone who was offended by it either got over it by now or talked to you about it. Those are people who love you! This is just advice from internet strangers.

          • Amy March

            And you should! Everyone should!

    • Violet

      I certainly don’t agree with 100% of what is posted on APW, mainly because that’s impossible. (And if I did, there’d be a strong case for brainwashing going on.) It’s totally okay for people to have wildly different opinions of what they think is right or wrong, without someone being right and the other person being wrong. I’d go so far to say as it’s okay for someone to voice their opinion bluntly, strongly, and in no uncertain terms, all the while fully understanding that other people’s opinions will differ.
      In your friend circle, how you went about it is the norm, and thus, unlikely to be “wrong.” No one’s going to put you in Friend Jail or slap you with a Friend Fine.

    • Jess

      Just like not everybody feels the need to call their friends to tell them, I’m gonna go ahead and say that not every person would be the LW in this situation. Some people really would just feel happy for their friend and not feel sad they didn’t get their own personal notification.

      There’s really only so much “OMG CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!?” I can perform for people and I was pretty over it after calling my parents, brother, and a few of my favorite friends.

      Plus, I’ve never in my life felt like I deserved to know something intimate about someone in my life in a certain way or before anyone else, with exception of my partner.

      However friends choose to announce something, to whoever they choose to announce it to, that’s fine by me.

    • I also posted it on Facebook before I went to bed that night without texting (or goodness gracious calling ANYONE except my parents) anyone but my closest friends(bridesmaids). I think this is very friend-group-specific and so if this is what your friends also do, it seems very much 100% fine

  • Ros

    It’s rare that I categorically disagree with advice given? But, yeah. This time, I’m on the other side.

    If you usually have a communication style with your friends that involves calling each other, talking about emotions, sharing things over the phone, and that that’s a pattern you have and so sharing news on facebook goes outside that pattern, that’s one thing. For some of us (ahem: me)… look. Being blunt? My engagement was a major decision for my life, but people seem to expect a performative display about it. They expect Excitement! Joy! Vibrating at the other end of the phone! Excitement about plans! Oh boy! Let’s lay out all our emotions on the table and talk about love and desires and bliss and and and (and oh god you’ll find me under the table with the whiskey please fetch me when the feelings talk is over I’m too WASPy for this shit). (Note that I needed to be convinced to have a wedding at all because the idea of talking about my emotions, AKA reciting standard wedding vows in public, basically borderline gave me a panic attack. I don’t. Do. This. Shit.) (Emotions in private? In detailed discussion with my husband? Yes. But public displays of excitement and emotion are NOPE)

    … which is to say that we told our parents and grandparents over the course of about a month, I discussed it with my dudes who were in my d&d group, and we changed FB statuses and didn’t say much else about it until the wedding. And, y’know, some people might have had expectations about How Things Work and been upset with us, but in that case I’m going to assume they’re terminally disappointed with all the other ways I fall short of Ideal Womanhood and so one extra mark won’t matter much. *shrugs*

    Which is a long-winded way to say: your expectations depend strongly on the personality of the people involved and the standards for communication you’ve set in your relationship with them in the past.

  • NA

    You’re entitled to your feelings, but I have to say it’s not worth being upset with your friend over this. Ultimately your friend did share her news with you—over Facebook. Maybe it’s not what you would have preferred, but it’s her engagement. Maybe she’s shy about talking about herself and gushing with her friends one-by-one and just wanted to get it out of the way. Maybe she was so excited she couldn’t help but tell the whole world all in one go. Or maybe she was stressed out by the prospecting of deciding who to tell in what order, she decided to just throw it online, call it a day, and celebrate with her fiancé. So what?

    It’s normal to feel sad and left out because of this (I know, my best friend is like this with all major life events), but you should try to get used to it. Because weddings are one thing, but once your friends start getting pregnant and having babies you’ll be even more in the dark. Three of my close friends have had babies, and each friend took a couple days to tell me that they’d delivered their baby safely. Even my best friend. They’re exhausted, they’re excited, they’re surrounded by family, and they’re just trying to enjoy an important moment of their lives. It’s not about me.

    It’s also worth keeping in mind that people have wildly different ideas of what sort of communication is appropriate or necessary for what. I haven’t written a thing about our engagement on Facebook, and I don’t plan to. I’ve told some close friends and relatives, but most of my friends won’t find out until they receive save the date cards. I don’t like making dramatic announcements about myself, and neither does my fiancé, so we’re just not doing that.

    • Anon

      I posted this above – but I had a situation where I just had *so* much good news at once, since I got engaged and a week later got into my dream grad program. It was just so much sharing and bragging, I just eventually decided to throw it all online and let the cards fall. I honestly think this is a thing people need to get over – this is basically what social media is for

    • Jonquil

      I have to politely disagree on your first point. Posting on Facebook is not the same as sharing news with someone. Particularly since (darn kids get off my lawn) sometimes people don’t go on Facebook for weeks or months or ever. My friend’s husband just doesn’t have a Facebook account. If I sent him a text and he didn’t read it, then it’s on him. If I posted about something and he didn’t happen to see it on Facebook, that’s only slightly above not telling him at all.

      But re: realizing it’s not about you – yes, 100% on this. You don’t want to announce, but would rather wait until Save the Dates? Good on you. And yes, people have different levels of communication. Sometimes you have to realize that your friend just doesn’t communicate a lot of stuff, and they still love you and that’s ok. And sometimes you recontextualize your friendships because you have a hard time feeling close to someone who doesn’t share news with you. And that’s also ok.

      • NA

        But… LW DID see the Facebook post! And if she hadn’t, she would have just found out about it the next time they talked. To me it sounded like she was less upset about the method of notification than about having been lumped in with casual acquaintances rather than her friend’s inner circle.

    • Ros

      ‘ Maybe she’s shy about talking about herself and gushing with her friends one-by-one and just wanted to get it out of the way’ YES THIS OH GOD

      The expected performative display of emotion about it just felt like the most uncomfortable attention grab of all time, and one I didn’t want.

  • Pingback: How (Not) To Announce Your Engagement On Facebook | Wedding Warriors TC | Wedding Planner | Kennewick, Richland, Pasco()

  • Anon

    I got engaged, and then a week later got into my dream grad school and I got so embarrassed calling people with just like abundant good news I kind of just stopped. It wasn’t my finest moment, but it was just *so* much. Lucky for me, Mom and FMIL took care of the announcing on FB for me. I feel guilty I didn’t tell certain people in person, but it was just….so….much….

  • mjh

    I think some of this is probably (micro)cultural, though. I’m not a facebook user, so I can’t talk about there, but news of engagement making its way through the grapevine is totally normal and fine in my social circles, as is the engaged person telling their friend/family member whenever they next normally interact (as opposed to calling to deliver the news or setting up a meetup just for that purpose).

    I have since learned that it’s very much a thing to a lot of people/in a lot of social circles.I think it’s worth considering that maybe someone who doesn’t share their news with you personally isn’t less invested in your relationship than you are or than you thought they were. Maybe they just look at the whole concept of sharing engagement news differently, and they may have no idea that it’d make you feel less important to them.

    • Yeah I called my parents/home (one sister was in high school and the other was hiding in the bushes taking pictures) then my grandparents almost immediately after and somehow my mom had managed to call them in between. (although I think my family in general already knew because of the planning). I didn’t call or text any other family members because I assumed the weird would get around very quickly (and I’m very close to my cousins) and to my knowledge that was fine.

  • Jonquil

    I am wryly amused that when I recounted a similar story on the Happy Hour last week, I was told in no uncertain terms that an announcement on Facebook was equal to texting or calling. What really ended up happening is that I realized the friend who didn’t tell me she eloped (but did tell our mutual friend) maybe isn’t as close of a friend as I thought we were, and I probably shouldn’t ask her to be a bridesmaid as I had been planning to do.

    We’ve been engaged for a month now, and the only people who know are our jeweler and a few venues. Our plan is to wait until the ring is done, tell people in person or over phone/text, and ask everyone not to post about it on social media so we can tell everyone in person. Eventually, maybe, we’ll post it on Facebook. Maybe. But we have 18 months, so we’ve got awhile to get to it.

    • Amy March

      I was also wryly amused when I saw that knowing this column was scheduled :)

    • Lisa

      Whoa, I definitely missed that. I would never put a text or call in the same realm as a Facebook announcement. I might give leeway if it was a personalized Facebook message, but even then, it would strike me as weird unless that was my primary means of communication with a person.

      • penguin

        Personally I put a text on the same level as a call, at least for people I text all the time. Like a text to my grandma I wouldn’t count (cause we talk on the phone only), but texts to my friends I’d say counts. Agree on the Facebook announcement though.

        • Zoya

          Yeah, I think at least part of this is following whatever precedent you’ve already set. For our crowd of friends, text/IM is a totally normal way to receive life news.

          • Jenny

            I agree, I have a group of 8 college friends, we email the gmail thread almost daily. While gun to my head I guess I could rank those friendships from closest to least close, I’d rather not. So I call my 2 main people from the group and then email them all. It’s been totally acceptable to announce life news in this manner, and is slightly preferable to like individual communication, since it allows us all the see everyone’s excitement. But it’s definitely not the same with my group of 3 high school friends.

        • Lisa

          Yeah, it really depends on how I usually communicate with those people. For example, I have a couple groups of friends with standing text message threads–they got the engagement news that way so that everyone theoretically heard at once. Closer friends and family got individual calls.

    • suchbrightlights

      Yes, this one made me think of you, Jonquil!

      I stand by the distinction I made between the communication tiers: telling a person (direct synchronous 1:1 communication in person or over the phone; direct asynchronous communication over text or IM); telling a group (asynchronous- Facebook); and letting someone else do the telling (the grapevine.)

  • Anne

    I generally agree with Amy’s advice on this one. We were spared this dilemma in a way because we got engaged while visiting our home state. We already had plans to see a bunch of our family and friends anyway on that trip and so ended up having some great conversations and moments telling people. I think it felt very natural since normally those visits involve a lot of catching up on life excitement and this was just one extra-large piece of that. I found making the Facebook post (and yes, there was a ring photo but it wasn’t the only one) to be much more performative than the experience of just talking to our favorite people about it. We were also pretty clear on who we wanted to have in our wedding party, so we were able to bring that up and not just talk about our own excitement. We did wait to post until resolving a few days of phone tag with my grandma, and we sent an email to a wider group of college and other non-local friends before posting.

  • Lauren

    I think that we should not police how people choose to share their happy news.

    If you want to post a ring selfie, post a pic of your ring! If you want to post instead of personally calling every single person who may feel entitled to special treatment on the occasion of your engagement, post a pic!

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  • Emei

    All the opinions on this are so interesting. And so confusing.

    Our engagement is not on social media at all. We decided to keep it to ourselves for the first little while, and to tell our families when we saw them in person – which ended up meaning it took a month before we told my parents (we booked our venue that same day), and two months before we told fiancées parents. We were super clear with everyone we told about it not being public news yet and to please not post on Facebook – they respected it, thankfully. I’ve told close friends in person, too, and let the grapevine do its work for extended family. One of my best friends was still hurt when I told her in person after about a week – though I think that it was more about her fear that our different choices/paths in life will make us less close, not really about it being late.

    I want to do some kind of FB-announcement when we actually get married because I do have friends all over the world that I want to give a chance to see the news, even though we don’t regularly talk. Haven’t figured out yet how to handle that my fiancée would rather keep everything offline… any tips?

    • Amy March

      If your fiancée is really against anything on social media, you could do a wedding announcement in the mail or via PaperlessPost?

      • Emei

        Yeah, I guess. There are people I’d like to give the chance to find out that I don’t have addresses for, so it would be a lot more work. Potentially worth it though.

    • penguin

      I mean if you want to post about your wedding, I think you should talk to your fiancé about it and post it. I understand compromising, so maybe you don’t post pictures, but it’s your news too.

      • Emei

        Yeah, it is. Part of her privacy desire is job-related, but we haven’t really gotten into detail on what that actually means. Maybe the compromise could be in privacy settings or how long it stays up.

    • I am that half of the relationship who likes to keep everything off social media. I’m a private person and hate how when things get posted onto my partner’s facebook, it often goes up without my consent or review. whether it’s a photo of me or some life-milestone announcement, i want to have looked thought about first before it goes up and our mutual friends see it on his account. i suggest sending out emails, or a private facebook message for those you don’t have email for. that way you guys can talk about who the message goes to specifically as opposed to a social media blast.

  • TOTALLY.

  • TOTALLY. my husband was hurt that i didn’t want to share the news on facebook when we got engaged (and similarly with pregnancy) and this whole not wanting to accidentally hurt someone’s feelings is precisely why i wanted to stay the hell away from facebook. you might get around to telling your extended family in the first couple of days, but if you’re at least in your late 20s or 30s by the time you get engaged, and most of your friends don’t live in the same city, chances are you’re not going to get around to calling every single person you’ve been close to over the years. (hello roommate from my semester abroad, we need to skype for at least an hour the next time we catch up.)

  • laddibugg

    I announced my engagement on Facebook and I announced I was pregnant on Facebook to 99% of the people I knew. If I get engaged or knocked up again, I’d do the same. My mom was present for the engagement (we told my father when we got back to the house) and I told my parents and 2 best friends when I found out I was pregnant. That’s it. I don’t call anyone else for other reasons (and I barely call my friends) so why would I *just* call them to brag?

    • Violet

      One of the great joys of having friends is to share happy news with them and have them be excited for you. How is that bragging?

      • Lisa

        Right. Presumably your friends are there to be your emotional support when times are bad and to celebrate with you when things go well. I’m assuming you’re not calling and rubbing it in their faces with a “I’m getting married, and you’re not, nyah nyah nyah nyah!”

      • laddibugg

        I did say that I don’t normally call my friends, so I wouldn’t call them *just* to talk about me. We’re not a group that hangs on the phone. Everyone’s friend circle is different, you don’t have to understand the dynamics of mine.

        • Violet

          I’m referring to the sharing of positive news with friends as “bragging,” not the mode of sharing. Obviously everyone’s friendships are different. Sharing happy news is one of the main joys of my friendships (along with having shared interests and supporting one another through tough times). It needn’t be part of yours.

  • Kelly

    I would put in a vote for not saying anything to the friend. I agree with the other posters, it’s EXHAUSTING telling everyone individually and trying to make sure you include everyone who you think will be butt-hurt about finding out on FB, so my assumption would be that something got crossed along the way and not that you were left out of the notifications on purpose.

    To speak from experience, I had a friend make a similar comment to me when we got a new dog (for the record, she WAS on the “hey we got engaged” text list, but I thought the “we adopted a senior dog” announcement was less of a milestone) and I found it very hurtful that she would put me in a position to feel I needed to apologize for my actions. It made me feel guilty for something that I didn’t feel I did wrong, and it made me feel a bit annoyed at her for putting me in that position. I chose to ignore the comment and move on, but it’s still something that’s in the back of my mind at times when I see her, and if I were you I wouldn’t want to cast a cloud on your relationship with this friend.

  • bananafanafofana

    I think a lot of these norms differ based on your lifestyle. I’ve moved a LOT because of my work. That is to say, I’ve moved on average to a different city every other year for 15 years. And I live in a different city than my fiancee, so we are always scattered about seeing other people. There are a LOT of people I care about deeply that I don’t talk to very often. I feel like in cases like mine, social media is a better way to tell people these things than otherwise– I DIDNT use it and that meant there were people I love who were really hurt they didn’t find out for 8 months.

  • Rachel

    I feel like a weirdo because we… just… didn’t put it on Facebook. At all. We’ve been engaged since July and my relationship status is still “married” to one of my high school best friends, which we set it to when we were in college in, like, 2006. It initially started because my family was coming to visit the week after he proposed, so I wanted to wait and tell them in person (they live in another state and so does his family, who we called)… that was super fun and awesome and I’m glad it worked out. But then after that I just couldn’t think of a way to put it online that didn’t seem… tacky? Weird? Self-absorbed? Which is silly because I don’t think that when other people do it, but I guess I’m that person who’s like “no one possibly cares about my life this much, right?!?” And another part of it is that I was ready to be married YEARS before he was, and in that terrible waiting period where I was constantly deciding whether I should keep waiting for him or not, every time I saw another social media engagement announcement was a major punch to the gut, so why do I need to do that to a whole bunch of random acquaintances/Facebook friends? And along those same lines, we had been together for so long I felt like no one would care that we were finally getting married (people we didn’t know very well usually assumed we WERE married). So those are maybe kind of silly reasons, but that was part of it.

    Our in-town friends got to find out in real life as we saw them, which was fun, and I sent texts and goofy snapchats to long-distance friends as befitted our normal primary ways of staying in touch. It worked out. I guess we’ll change our relationship status on Facebook when we actually get married, LOL.

  • lostinthestacks

    Posting from the perspective of the bride, because this was me when I got engaged. I made sure I called my family – parents, sibling, grandparents, etc., but my future MIL was absolutely losing her shit and harassing us about posting on social media. I ended up doing it before I got to my friends because there was a very real possibility she would post something first! I felt awful about it, and promised myself that I would never cave on something like that again, but I can’t take it back and just hoped my friends would forgive me. I sympathize with the LW and understand why she felt bad, but I hope she can also remind herself that brides feel pressure from all kinds of parties about everything – including social media posts – from the minute they get engaged. I’m sure her friend wasn’t try to hurt anyone’s feelings, and that she can move on from this incident.

  • Another Meg

    I’m on the fence about this.

    When we got engaged, we were very careful to tell everyone in an appropriate way based on our relationship. And I’m not on FB, so that wasn’t really an issue for us and we usually find out stuff via text because of that.

    But I’m pretty much never going to make a judgment call about how someone shares THEIR major life news with me. I’m not the center of that circle, and I think it’s kind of shitty to tell someone that your feelings were hurt by their choice of communication. They’re excited, they may be overwhelmed, and it’s not about me.

    When I told my sister I was pregnant, she was upset that I told her (in person) the same time as our parents and she didn’t feel special. I very kindly reminded her that we were navigating completely new territory, and our people are rarely in the same place. I simply didn’t have room on my plate to manage her emotions.

    If you’re upset by how someone tells you something huge, even if it’s a reasonable feeling, share it with someone else. Don’t share it with the person in the center of the circle.

  • Katherine

    Here was the order of our engagement.
    1) SO proposed at the door, as I was ready to head out with him because we had dinner plans with friends.
    2) I FaceTimed my sister, who lives on another continent, because SO said she insisted.
    3) I called my parents.
    4) I hit up my besties in the group chat, our major mode of communication.
    5) I messaged my nosey, easily offended aunties I live near.
    6) SO called his parents and informed his brother on this continent, chatted his brother on another continent.
    7) It went up on Facebook (SO works for Facebook, I’m never on it). WE HAD TO GET TO DINNER.

    I relate with the Letter Writer. I found out my longest-time best friend was pregnant like halfway through the pregnancy, which feels a little late, and it stung. But it’s her news and she gets to share it how she wants.

    I think there are a MILLION reasons she might have posted on Facebook first. I think we can all agree she wasn’t cackling maniacally over a glass of Merlot, thinking of how she wanted to hurt your feelings.

    My advice would be:
    1) If you want to being it up, do it soon, or it’ll feel like you’re dredging up something old. You might want to let it linger, to see if the feeling goes away, but if someone spoke to me now about my behavior after getting engaged MONTHS ago, it would feel odd.
    2) Do go with your feelings when discussing it with her. Just that it hurt.
    3) See how she responds. She might have a reason, but mostly, she should feel bad she hurt your feelings.

    I’d let it go. But if it’s something that’s going to grind you for a while, bring it up now and clear the air. That’s better for everyone.

  • KRS887

    Oh man I feel this so hard. I would also add to know the people you are telling. There was a situation a few months before I got engaged where an extended family member blew up another family members engagement on facebook. The couple was telling everyone and waited a week or so to post on facebook. During that time one overly excited family member went onto their Facebook walls (or whatever they’re called now) and posted about how excited they were before they were ready to tell everyone. I know for a fact that this family member has both of their phone numbers.

    It really wigged me out because I didn’t want anyone I love finding out via an extended future in law on facebook. We told a few people not to share the info online. Crazy that you actually have to do that now.

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  • cara

    I know this is kind of radical but hear me out–I don’t think you should post your engagement on social media at all. I know it takes a long time to get the news out the old fashion way. At first, my fiancee and I didn’t post anything on social media just because it took forever to notify his friends and family. (He’s from Australia, so there was a lot of trying to coordinate calls at 5 am.) We planned to post something eventually, but after the moment had passed and we had some time to be engaged, I didn’t care, and we never ended up posting anything. We’re inviting 150 people to the wedding, and other than extended family like younger cousins, those people all know we’re engaged because we told them. I do not need the hundreds of other people I am connected with on Facebook and Instagram to know this level of detail about my life. And the upside of never posting it is that when I eventually saw people that I don’t see frequently but who I love and will invite to the wedding, they didn’t know and were excited to find out! I realize I’m in the minority here (or maybe I’m literally the only person) with not posting engagement announcements on social media, but I encourage people to resist! At first I also wanted the world to know because I was so happy and all those feelings were gushing out of me, but now I am so glad that every person we want there on our wedding day heard from us. And no one was insulted if they heard it from me directly but it was a little later. Whereas I have heard so many stories (and also been there) of people being hurt because they found out quickly but in an impersonal way. Admittedly, I too wanted to post, so I’m not judging those who do! But because of our circumstances forcing us to wait, I am now so grateful I never did!