17 Things You Shouldn’t Say When Someone is Asking For Your Hand in Marriage

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By Jonathan Trent

Getting engaged is one of the most monumental and exciting times in your life, yet there are many ways you can spoil this magical moment and ruin it forever. Here are 17 things you should avoid saying when someone is asking you to marry them.

“I guess so…”

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The phrase ‘I guess so…’ typically indicates uncertainty or lack of enthusiasm. For the person asking you to marry them, it will, understandably, feel disheartening to hear this, as it shows that you are hesitant or doubtful about the proposal. It’s really not the best choice of words!

“I don’t know what to say…”

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A person proposing will normally expect an immediate response from their partner, so being speechless can indicate avoidance. Psych Central notes that avoidant partners tend to focus on independence rather than closeness, so saying something like, “I don’t know what to say’ doesn’t give off the best message.

“Are you sure?”

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Questioning your partner when they propose by asking, “Are you sure?” implies that you are skeptical about their proposal. It may come across to them as questioning the sincerity of the proposal, making for an awkward moment instead of a romantic one, which will totally ruin the moment.

“Let me think about it…”

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For the person popping the question, the moment between asking someone to marry them and that person answering can feel like a lifetime. Asking your partner for time to think about it may make them anxious or insecure as it gives the impression that you are unsure. They may even develop second thoughts!

“Can we talk about this later?”

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Similarly to asking for time to think, asking, “Can we talk about this later?” Instead of replying immediately, it’s a sure way to make the proposer feel uncomfortable and dismissed. By suggesting that the conversation be delayed, it shows that you are avoiding the question and are unwilling to address the proposal immediately.

“Is this really happening?”

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Questioning your reality is normal when you are getting proposed to, especially if it comes as a surprise. However, asking, “Is this really happening?” can make the proposer feel invalidated or unappreciated, undermining the gesture of the proposal. This is especially true if your tone isn’t positive or excited.

“I need time to process…”

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Psychology Today suggests that if you are thinking of committing for life, you should contemplate issues that can frequently drive a wedge in long-term relationships. However, asking for time to process a proposal indicates that you are unsure, especially if you have already discussed important topics beforehand.

“What took you so long?”

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The words “what took you so long” can dampen a proposal as it implies that you are impatient or frustrated. Usually, the proposer is asking for your hand in marriage out of their own free will, so this may make the proposer feel inadequate or pressured. You may think it’s amusing, but it’s not!

“I never saw this coming.”

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In a romantic moment such as a proposal, saying “I never saw this coming” can indicate surprise or shock. However, it can also make the proposer feel misunderstood or unappreciated. This can diminish the sense of anticipation or excitement, making the encounter seem uneasy or awkward rather than exciting.

“Is this a joke?”

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Suggesting that a proposal is a joke is a terrible idea! It will make the proposer feel stupid, suggesting that you are suspicious of the proposal. It will only serve to urge your partner to feel hurt or rejected, especially if they have been planning to propose to you for quite a while.

“Are you serious right now?”

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Someone who is in the act of proposing can feel invalidated or unappreciated if you question the sincerity of their intentions. What is supposed to be a romantic moment can quickly turn into a disappointing one as it insinuates that you are doubtful of the proposal.

“I’m not ready for this…”

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According to CNBC, millennials are getting married later in life than prior generations for various reasons. This is why it is common for younger people to feel unprepared for a proposal, but if someone has made the decision to propose, saying, “I’m not ready for this,” could make them feel taken for granted.

“Can we just stay how we are?”

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A proposal is a significant milestone, marking your journey from a couple to a married pair. If you imply that you don’t want to progress this by suggesting you stay as an unmarried couple, it shows you are reluctant or resistant to change. You would rather maintain normality rather than move forward.

“I need more time.”

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There is nothing worse than when a proposer hears the words “I need more time.” This signals that you are undecided about your feelings for them or uncertain about your future as a couple. It can make your partner panic as you aren’t on the same page, potentially retracting their proposal.

“Let’s just be friends…”

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Suggesting friendship when someone proposes to you completely undermines the proposer’s intentions of spending a lifetime with you. Rather than progressing the relationship, it implies that you would rather revert to a platonic relationship, breaking their heart and eradicating their romantic intentions in the process.

“What about my career?”

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Asking, “What about my career?” is a terrible response to someone asking for your hand in marriage. The New York Times highlights that going into marriage, most people aim to keep their autonomy in certain areas of life, so asking this question is selfish, suggesting it’s only your career that matters. 

“I don’t know if I love you enough.”

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Last but not least, revealing your lack of feelings for someone during a proposal can be soul-destroying for the proposer. Words such as “I don’t know if I love you enough” hint that you are happy to be in a relationship with them but don’t want anything more. It’s a surefire way to end a relationship!