Very few choices in life are as difficult or as crucial as when and how to propose to that special someone.

It’s a choice that could make or break a relationship, so you want to make sure the time is just right. That “right time” is different for each person, but there are a few key times and places that are almost universally wrong. Times like:

  • Valentine’s Day. It may seem to you like a day meant for love and romance is the perfect day to propose, but in actuality, it’s the most overdone and cliché. You’d be much better off picking a day that means something between the two of you. The anniversary of your first date, as an example.
  • Anywhere that leaves your significant other no room to say, “no.” That may not be the ideal answer, but the recipient should at least be given the choice. Places like the Jumbo-tron at a sports game put entirely too much pressure on your significant other to accept, whether or not that’s the answer they’d honestly like to give. It may lead to a “false positive”, in which a person agrees in public so as to save face but privately withdraws it later. Make sure you know the answer if you’re going to go big. On that note, don’t let what happened to reality TV star Danny Bonaduce happen to the love of your life: He was informed one morning that he’d be walking down the aisle that evening, and while he was a very good sport about it, he admits to feeling a little bit kidnapped.
  • Before you’ve even purchased the ring. You may think that spur-of-the-moment is romantic, but it comes off as incredibly unprepared and possibly even says, “I’m not taking this seriously.” Plan a little in advance and pick up a ring, even if you’re on a budget–there are many rings on the market that aren’t too pricey, like affordable tungsten wedding bands for men and women.
  • On any form of social media. Not Twitter, not Facebook, not even YouTube. It turns what should be a sweet, tender moment between two individuals into a public spectacle. And on top of that, nothing says, “I’m too lazy to get up and do it in person” like proposing over the internet in any shape or form. There’s also the added consequence that dozens of acquaintances and possibly even total strangers know about the engagement even before much of your close family does, which may spur a few negative feelings.
  • To talk your significant other out of a break-up. If you’ve made a mistake, work through it first before proposing. This sort of proposal just seems false and underhanded, however genuine you may have meant it. On top of that, he or she won’t be able to look at the engagement ring without thinking of the negative emotions surrounding the proposal.

There are some proposal mishaps that even tungsten wedding bands for men can’t salvage. Follow these tips, and you’ll make sure yours isn’t one of them.

This piece was composed by Gerald Sampson, a freelance writer based in the great city of Nashville, Tennessee.