Pinterest is great, but it gives no indication of the engagement ring style you want. The first few pictures are of rose gold oval rings and after a few scrolls, you’re in yellow gold territory. If there’s anything more stressful than being a maid of honor, it’s helping your best friend’s significant other pick out the perfect engagement ring. All of the pressure is on you (you know her best, right?!), and this poor soul is trying SO HARD. Get ahead of the game with these five tips on how to survey the ring situation before it’s too late!

1. Start Early

Think about the earliest date your friend could possibly get engaged. Now back that up about a year. In order to establish ring dialogue, you need to do it months in advance. Otherwise, you’ll give away the surprise! Start with a casual conversation about weddings and talk to your bestie about your ring preferences. Then, bring up the big question: “What kinds of rings do you like?” She may suspect something at first, but when months go by with no question-popping, she’ll totally forget about it.

2. Look at the Rest of her Jewelry 

Unless you’re dealing with a fashion guru who changes up her look on a daily basis, you can probably conclude ring preferences by looking through your friend’s closet. Pay attention to her usual bling, taking into account the colors, type of gold, and size. If you feel like your friend wears a lot of bold jewelry, that’s a sign that she’ll want a sizable ring. On the flip side, minimal jewelry is a telltale sign that your friend prefers a simple ring style.

3. Do Your Homework

Sometimes, it comes down to listening. Chances are, your friend knows a proposal is in the foreseeable future—so she’s going to drop hints every now and then! Keep your eyes out for any hints that she likes a certain ring style or color.

4. Take a Trip to the Mall

It would be too obvious to go straight to an upscale jeweler, but a trip to the mall is fairly inconspicuous. Frame your outing as a casual shopping day and take some time to stop at one of the jewelry stores. You can use an excuse like, “I broke my watch and need to get it repaired,” or “I want to get my mom a nice pair of earrings for her birthday,” to keep it on the down-low. While you’re there, pay attention to the section she browses. She’ll definitely be perusing the engagement section!

5. Talk to the Family

You never know who a future bride/groom will confide in, so if it happens to be family, you should be in tune with that. Reach out to your friend’s family members and let them know that you’re trying to stay on top of wedding wishes. If they hear anything, they’ll be sure to let you know—and you can relay that message to your friend’s significant other when you go ring shopping!