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Engagement Issues: 10 Tips for Defusing Jealousy

What to do when someone greets your engagement news with envy, not elation? Read our guide to taming the green-eyed monster.

One moment you're on Cloud 9, sharing the news of your engagement, savoring every juicy detail of the proposal, then boom -- you look up and your best friend/brother/sister looks positively ashen. Suddenly your feelings of pure elation curdle into muddled guilt. Some women are amazed to find their friends turning into catty competitors, goading their boyfriends into proposing, too, and trying to outdo your every wedding move. What's a flustered fiancee to do?

Don't Be Shy

You have the right to be excited and share your happiness with people important to you. Don't hesitate to share the good news with a good friend. If you don't talk about it, your friend or sibling may feel insulted and it may damage your friendship further.

Don't Play Dumb

Acknowledge that your friend is jealous. Not sure? When you talk about your wedding, do you feel guilty or does he or she act rude, dismissive, or bored? Assuming that you're not talking about the big day 24/7, trust your gut reaction. Good friends should be affirmative, not negative.

Edit Yourself

Speaking of wedding talk, don't overdo it! Remember that even people happy for you don't want to hear about every little detail (yawn). Divert conversation to what's going on in their lives and be a riveted listener.

Confront the Problem

If someone makes a nasty crack about your plans, respond to the slight right away by gently asking, "What do you mean by that?" Another tactic is to tell the person how you feel with statements such as, "I'm confused why you said that" or "I'm hurt that you see it that way." Focus on how you feel, not on what they did.

Share the Spotlight

Sometimes the problem is simply that your parents are perceived to be ignoring the sibling that is jealous and slathering all of their attention and bragging on you. Acknowledge this inequity by saying, "I realize I'm getting a lot the attention and I hope it's not bothering you." If the sibling is married, point out that he or she has had the spotlight; for those that haven't yet made the trip down the aisle, reassure them that their time is coming! Either way, turn to your siblings for advice in dealing with family dilemmas and be sure to spend quality playtime with them sans mom and dad.

Stroke Egos

When a person is jealous, she or he craves acknowledgement. Your mission? Play to the person's strengths. Remind them (often!) of all their positive qualities and accomplishments: great job, dynamite figure, whatever. Better yet, ask your friend for advice in his or her areas of expertise. If your workmate has a great fashion sense, tell her you'd love her opinion on your dress. If your brother's a savvy globetrotter, pick his brain about destinations and travel tips.

Show Your Love

Make sure your friends get the message loud and clear that their friendship is extremely important to you. Tell them how much happiness you wish for them and, if single, try to assure them that their perfect partner is out there somewhere.

Be Humble

While you're stroking his ego and showering her with love, don't forget to share your own wedding-related woes: arguments with your fiance, etiquette blunders, cold feet, and in-law conflicts. Even if you're ecstatic despite it all, you'll be able to bond over your vulnerability.

Get It Out in the Open

When push comes to shove, acknowledge the awkwardness between you and your friend. Perhaps open with something like, "I wonder how you feel about my getting married?" or "I feel awkward about this situation because we've always shared our dreams about getting married�I wish this could be happening to us both at the same time." Never say that you know how he or she feels (you don't) but opening the door for a friend to vent can ease a lot of pressure.

Invest in the Future

Slot a singles table into your seating chart and ask your friend to help you fill it -- positioning him or her between two sexy singles is obviously the game plan! Why not? Lots of people meet their spouses at weddings. After all, love is in the air.

-- Lori Seto

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