Need suggestions with a friend

hoerlelAugust 22, 2006

I lurk here often but I have not posted. I am asking for your help with a friend of mine that I meet once a week for lunch. She always seems to be saying negative about my hair or my make up and I just do not know what to do about it. I don't want to lose her as a friend, but these meeting are becoming hurtful to me.

I am the complete opposite of my friend with makeup and hair. She is completely gray and does not wear makeup....not even lipstick and she thinks that it is about time I let myself go since I am 63 to her 60. It is just not me to go into town "naked" and feel well groomed and feeling good about myself. My makeup (Bare Minerals) is low key and my hair color is soft and natural looking and colored by a professional, and I am comfortable with my look. I usually get compliments on my appearance which is very flattering to me from other friends.

What would you do or say in a situation like this.

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My guess is that your friend is a little insecure and a little jealous. I would try not to let it become hurtful to you, I think I'd try to think of her a bit more kindly, there is some reason why she needs to criticize you. Maybe her husband doesn't like makeup and hair color and she would truly like to fix herself up more, but doesn't and this is kind of a coverup for her true feelings. This isn't really an excuse for her to be unkind towards you, but I'd guess that she just doesn't know what else to do or say and she probably doesn't even realize it.

See if you can just smile the next time and say 'oh gee, we're so different aren't we' and let it roll off your back. (Yes, I know its easy to say and maybe not so easy to actually do and say, LOL. Wish I could make it easier for you!)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 10:53AM
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Thanks, Woodie! I seem to think she may feel a little insecure and because of that I have tried to over look the things that she says, but her body language seems to say so much more. I know why she would feel a bit insecure because she has been divorced for a number of years and a constant companion that she had left and she is by herself now for a long time. I am widowed and I have been with my companion for a number of years and I sometimes feel that is part of the problem and maybe not so much the makeup and hair.

I was with her yesterday and she seemed just fine. So, maybe I am possibly thinking there is more then there really is.

I did find out that the hairdresser that cuts her hair is now part of the group that I go to. My friend goes on Wednesdays....the same day that I go and I really do not need her to be there when I get my hair colored because I know I will feel uncomfortable and judged. Especially, since I am going to get my hair highlighted and it will be different then my original look. So, I will have to make some changes to my plans because I will not put myself in that position, for sure!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 8:41AM
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That is a perfect example of what I don't understand about the 'friend' concept.

I would never put down someone that I considered a friend. It is obvious to me that she would feel better if you looked as bad as she does. I think I would want to hang out with someone who was a little more 'friendly'.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 7:54PM
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Hoerelel, I read your post yesterday and needed some time to think about it. It was my impression that this woman was probably long divorced and profoundly lonely---so I was not surprised to read today your response to Woody that this is exactly the case. As far as how terribly women treat each other, I recently read a review on a couple of books on that very topic (which I haven't read)

Here is a link that might be useful: Mean Women

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 9:49PM
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Maybe this was not the place to post this issue, but it really is about beauty and fashion because that is what seems to bother my friend the most. I don't always agree or like what someone else may be wearing or how they 'do' themselves up, but they must like it and that is a good thing and I always admire a woman who takes care of themselves.

I guess I have either been sheltered or pretty darn lucky because I have never had to deal with a situation such as this. I like to keep up with fashion and I am always changing my hair to what is currently in fashion because I know a lot of woman who have had the same hairdo forever. If they are happy, then that is what counts. I am the type that gets tired of my hair and need a change periodically. As far as make up is concerned, I do keep up with what is being used and I love it. I'm a Bare Minerals gal now!

Gurly, this friend is one of many in our long time group (that I love) and I do not want to create waves or conflict. I am not one for confrontation and I somehow feel this may be part of the problem because she knows that she can say things and get away with it.

I cannot and will not discuss this amongst the group because I do not like that sort of thing, although I have caught eye contact from someone when she says things to me, so they obviously noticed. Everyone else keeps themselves well groomed and beautiful, but she seems to zero in on me.

I guess what I am looking for is something to say to her that would not be rude or nasty, but make her think that she just "ain't" going to get away with it anymore.

And...what else is so funny....she compliments me on everything else that I do. She loves my home and how I decorate it and is always complimenting me on my crafts or sewing, green thumb or whatever else that I have done. So, where does this other stuff come from???

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 10:26AM
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Perhaps when she says something negative, just tell her how much you LOVE whatever it is she is criticizing. Like if she says "oh those new highlights, they're terrible..." Say "Well I just love them" emphasizing the I. Or if she says "I would never wear that kind of lipstick..." Say nicely (but firmly if necessary) "oh I know for sure you wouldn't, but IIIIII just love it!"

In response to Gurley's post, I understand your point, really I do. But the truth is, nobody's perfect. This lady may not even realize what she is doing. Or she may truly believe that the things she says are not put downs, but sincere efforts to help a friend. You never know.

At any rate, I hope my suggestion helps.

Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 1:07AM
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Meeting once a week with someone who criticizes your looks is not something to look forward to, is it?

I think you should talk to her outside those meetings and tell her how you feel; plainly just as you've explained in this post. Clear the air with her, you could also write her a letter if that is easier for you; it's probably tainting your friendship anyway. It's almost as if she wants to drag you down with her, not a good thing to experience at this stage of your life.

You are letting her get away with this, so she'll continue unless you just gently state: " I'd rather you did not make comments like this, it annoys me."
There will be an uncomfortable silence for a moment, then it will pass.

I know it's not easy but you must respect yourself and speak up.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 6:23AM
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You have all given me great advice and I really appreciate your help.

As time goes on, things seem to get more strained between us and I can't believe that she does not notice. So, I guess by saying something it certainly can't hurt at this point.

I did make a new hair appointment for my next visit, so I know we will not be there at the same time. As I just wrote that I realized that I would really love having a friend at the beauty parlor at the same would be such fun. Just not her. How sad is that?!?!

I am going to try Jamie's suggestion first and if necessary and I have to go further, I will just have to have a heart to heart with her and tell her just how I feel. She will then have to make the next move.

You have all been really great and supportive and I thank you for your concerns. I will definitely let you know results of my finally speaking up.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 10:09AM
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I have a similar situation with someone that once I considered my best friend. It became evident that she viewed everything as a competition and she put down everything I did. When I started a business on my own, it was more than she could take and she even refused to attend (I put on antique shows). I realized she had been used to being Johnny and I was her Ed McMahon! She was always in the limelight and I was her supporting sidekick. But as she aged and got heavy and I stayed thin (well, thinner than her anyway!), it angered her. Then she saw me having success and that added to the stress. While I understand where she is coming from, it is still not acceptable. A true friend celebrates your accomplishments and builds you up, not tears you down. Once I accepted that she didn't have "unconditional love" in our friendship, I grieved and then I came to accept it. I still care for her, but it is on a much more surface basis now. She doesn't watch my back for me and that hurts, but I am not angry. It is more sadness that her insecurities ruined a very long friendship.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 5:15PM
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