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How to Tell a Friend They're Making a Big Mistake by Getting Married

You just know your pal is making a terrible mistake. But you’re going to need more than your intuition to stop the wedding.


  • Step 1: Time it Find a time when you can speak with your friend privately, in a quiet setting. Don’t wait until the last minute (like a week before the wedding)—one to six months before the big day would be ideal.
  • Step 2: Stay calm Broach the subject calmly. Your argument is not going to hold much sway if you’re on the verge of hysteria when you deliver it.
  • Step 3: Be reasonable Present all the reasons you believe your pal will regret it if he or she walks down that aisle. Deliver them as you would a well-thought-out work presentation.
  • TIP: 'You’ll no longer be able to screw other people,' is not really a valid argument.
  • Step 4: Anticipate objections Anticipate the betrothed’s objections so you’re prepared to answer protests like, 'But my parents will lose ten grand if we cancel the reception hall this late.'
  • Step 5: Paint a picture Paint a vivid picture of the grim life you foresee for your friend if he or she goes ahead with the wedding.
  • TIP: Keep referring to the wedding as a 'travesty.' Research shows that if you repeat something enough, people start to believe it.
  • Step 6: Offer support Offer to support the person with the fallout that accompanies canceling a wedding.
  • Step 7: Offer a compromise Offer a compromise. Suggest that the person at least postpone the wedding for a while.
  • Step 8: Accept it If, despite your best efforts, the person decides to ignore your advice and say 'I do,' accept the decision and put on a happy face. Hey, maybe your friend really does know best.
  • FACT: About 20% of engaged couples end up calling off their wedding.

You Will Need

  • A calm approach
  • Reasoned arguments
  • Acceptance of the final decision

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