Friday, November 15, 2013

Knowing What To Say When You're Asked To Be The Best Man

What to say when you’re asked to be his right hand man and you can’t imagine this marriage actually going down…

Whether you’ve known him for years, or he’s a roommate you’ve known not quite a semester, when another guy asks you to be his best man, you need to know what to say—and how to say it… especially if you just can’t say, “Sure, Man, I’d love to.”

There are some points of reluctance for most men.  Remember, the best man usually has to give a speech and is traditionally in charge of the bachelor party—duties you might or might not feel comfortable handling, and while these are surmountable, they are legitimate worries.

Then there’s the possibility that you aren’t behind the marriage from the beginning, a worst possible scenario being that you know it’s not going to last, and the reasons for that could be anything from the bride’s immaturity to your buddy’s philandering ways.  Remember, a wedding is a life-changing event and not an inexpensive one. A marriage ended, however quickly, leaves hard feelings and worse collateral damage in its wake almost every single time.  As much as people talk about amicable divorce, if there is such a thing it’s incredibly rare and no one ever escapes in quite the way they went in.

If you’re faced with having to say, “No,” here are a few pointers:

Be sure this is what you want to say. Declining the invitation to be someone’s best man can have its own consequences, sometimes even leading your friend to wonder about the status of your relationship as bros. If you aren’t sure, take some time to find out why he’s decided to pop the question and further, get to know more about the bride to be from people who aren’t the groom and can give an objective opinion.

Do it now.  Once you’ve made a firm decision, tell him immediately.  He is your friend and deserves time to ask someone else who might be appropriate for the job.  Don’t lead him to believe you’ll be the best man if you’ll end up breaking that promise later.  It’s better to pull off the band-aid quickly and move on.

Tell him why. Your friend has asked you to hold a position of great importance, and while your reasoning may be perfectly solid, he deserves an explanation as to why you’re turning him down.  Explain why you feel the way you feel, that you care about him and want the best, and that no matter what, you will respect his decision and be there for him in the future.  You never know-- giving him specifics now might just save a lot of hurt and heartache in the long run.

Appreciate that doing something that goes against your grain isn’t good for anyone.
Don’t beat yourself up over the decision to say no.  Standing up next to your friend and making a speech to tell the world you support a decision that you don’t isn’t fair to you, to him, or to his bride to be.  Be honest—both with the couple and with yourself—and understand that saying no isn’t the end of anyone’s world.  There will be someone else who is willing to take on the task and you won’t feel as though you’ve supported a relationship you shouldn’t have.

Be there for your buddy, even if you can’t stand up beside him. Tell your friend what he means to you, even if you can’t be the best man.  A good friend will understand your reluctance based on your reasons even if he doesn’t agree with them.

In the end, remember, even if you can’t be the best man, you can be a better man by being honest and open and respectful, as difficult as that will certainly be. Stand your ground, be a good friend, and welcome the new bride for the benefit of your buddy if the marriage does indeed come to fruition. Everyone involved will come out on the other side better for it.