There are very few rules when it comes to how to propose. A successful proposal can be spontaneous or planned to the minute, at home or a far-off location, simple or elaborate. However, there are certain times when it’s not the best idea to pop the question for a variety of reasons. To ensure that you get the response you desire (an excited “yes!” in most cases), avoid proposing during these times.
A particularly sad or stressful time for your partner.
You might think that proposing during a sad or stressful time (for example, after the death in the family, an illness, a car accident, etc.) might “cheer up” your partner, but it can actually have the opposite effect. When negative emotions like anger, fear, or sadness are at an all-time high, it can be difficult for a person to completely switch gears and celebrate something positive. Allow your partner time to recover from a difficult experience before popping the question.
While celebrating someone else.
Stealing a friend or family member’s thunder is a major no-no. For example, don’t pop the question at your cousin’s baby shower or your best friend’s wedding. Let your relative or friend have the spotlight during these times, and save your proposal for a different time. This includes proposing immediately after a close friend or relative proposes. While you might be disappointed that you didn’t propose first, don’t pop the question immediately after a loved one—give it a few additional months before proposing.
During a work-related event.
In most cases, it’s not the best idea to mix business with the personal. Don’t barge in the middle of your partner’s important presentation or a work conference and get down on one knee. Your partner’s colleagues might think the spectacle is unprofessional. At the same time, try to avoid proposing during a particularly stressful time at the office. Your partner might not be able to fully celebrate your engagement if he or she has to head to the office immediately after saying yes.
In the middle of or right after a fight.
If you and your partner in the midst of a disagreement, whether it’s a minor tiff or something major, don’t propose just to “make things better.” You and your partner should hash out your issues first and take the time to cool down after a fight. You don’t want your partner to have any lingering feelings of resentment or anger when you pop the question—you might not get the answer you desire.
When she is distracted.
There are times when your partner will be intensely focused on a task or an event—her favorite team is movie may be showing, a concert she has been waiting months for, a project that requires attention, etc. While popping the question may make an already exciting event even more exciting, we say let your partner enjoy the event at hand, and then propose afterward. You want your partner’s focus to be completely on your proposal, not trying to look at the TV and the ring at the same time!
When it’s not a good time for you.
Proposing may be nerve-wracking, but in the end, it should be an enjoyable experience for both you and your partner. If circumstances, whether it’s feeling under the weather, dealing with a work crisis or family troubles, or being stressed for a different reason, will prevent you from focusing on your partner and being truly happy during the proposal, we recommend waiting. Don’t let yourself feel pressured into proposing at a particular time. Waiting for the right time to propose will make the experience that much sweeter.