Av 5759 – Relating to Engaged Friends

1 Menachem Av 5759

Dear Chana,

My question is one that many girls at this stage in life ask. How are we to deal with our newly engaged friends? Now, I know that there isn’t one general answer, because every friendship is different, and every kallah behaves differently.

My closest friend is newly engaged. As her friend I feel such a mix of emotions that get really confusing at times. On the one hand, I am so, so happy for her, and I am thrilled to share in her simcha, but, on the other hand, I can’t help but feel sad over the fact that our friendship will never be the same. All the things that she once shared with me are now being shared with her chosson. I am left with a deep void. I understand that it is important for a chosson and kallah to share their innermost thoughts and feelings in order to develop a deep connection. But, how should I be dealing with the loss that I feel. Suddenly, I find myself hesitating before picking up the phone to call my “best” friend, for fear that the voice on the other end will sound dissappointed that it is “only” me calling. I find myself holding back all that I’d love to share with her, because it just doesn’t seem important to her anymore. I can’t help but feel hurt that I miss her so much, and she doesn’t seem to miss me at all. I also find myself feeling guilty, that I am not 1000% happy for her.

From talking to other girls, this scenario seems to be the “norm” to some degree, but each individual situation is different. It seems that the closer the friendship, the more painful it is. Everyone has their own way of dealing with this, and I know that “this too shall pass”, and there will be a time that the “tables will turn”. What is your advice on dealing with kallahs while still remaining a true and giving friend? Is there a place for a friend, during engagement and in the years to follow?

[Name & seminary withheld to protect privacy]

The 1st thing that I would like to do is to commend you for being honest with yourself and recognizing that you are feeling these kind of emotions! The feelings of loss and hurt are very real and very normal. By acknowledging them on some level and not pushing them away – you are in fact helping yourself to deal with them.

So what advice can I give you about this? A lot of the solution comes through exactly what YOU said. To be a true and giving friend. In life there is much give and take one to another. A big part of the concept of friendship is giving, as we are well aware from Michtav M’Eliyahu. What you are feeling right now is the fact that she is pulling back from giving to you right now because of her engagement and all that that involves – but what you must realize is that this most probably does not mean that she wants less of a friendship with you. You are still very important to her. Just because someone gets engaged and married doesn’t mean that they dump their friends and that their chassan/husband is the only one in the world! It only SEEMS that way because it is a very exciting time and there are a flurry of emotions. The truth is even though the Kallah has found a mate and they will be starting a new life together, she still very much needs her friends to go through it all with her. In our Simcha times as well as our Sad times, we really do need others to join in with us. With others celebrating with us in our Simcha times, it so very much enhances our joy [as in all the guests and well-wishers, the notes and phone calls with a Bris, Kiddush, or Wedding]. And for those sad times having people around you who care about you can really help a person cope.

So, it is Bein Adom L’chavero time in a big way! Here is your big chance to really work on it! Be there for her, be enthusiastic, offer to go shopping with her for the myriad of things that she needs. Be there to share in her joy. Be happy for her like you would like her to be happy for you. Help with pre-wedding things. Run errands. Dance with her at the wedding with great happiness and emotion. Become part of her Simcha, it DOES enhance it for her. That is what truly caring for another means, even if some of this hurts.

Remember Dovid and Yonason? Well, they were both married, and the Navi shows us what a beautiful and true friendship they had. When things die down, and life gets into a routine, even though she will be married, you can still have a wonderful and deep friendship with her. The fact is girls still need their girlfriends and guys still need their guy friends – that really doesn’t change.

So if you focus on really giving in a lot of ways during this time in her life, not only are you enhancing yourself by working on this Middah, but you are also deepening her joy. After all the dust settles, and she can appreciate how much you were really there for her, you should be able to enjoy a long and enduring friendship! So the answer to your final question is MOST CERTAINLY, ABSOLUTELY, there is a place for a friend during the engagement and in the years to follow! The topics of conversation may change and shift some, [throughout the years] but the sharing in each others lives can continue to bring you closer and closer.