You’re in your early twenties and your best girlfriend and you have just met a couple of gorgeous guys. It is obvious that you both want to make a great impression. One of you has a leftover black bean from an earlier stir fry stuck to her front tooth. Well, if you are my dear friend, you think it is waaaay funnier to “not” say anything. After some giggles that confuse me, she did finally let me in on the joke. Sigh. I still feel my cheeks burn when I think of it, but I have to admit it was funny. So, in my opinion, yes!!, please tell her if she has food in her teeth. Same goes for too much makeup, toilet paper stuck to her shoe, the list goes on. If you are very close and really care for your friend then yes, tell her you think her boyfriend is not good enough for her. Just be prepared for her not to listen to your advise until she’s darn well ready to.
However, this also depends on how close you are with your girlfriend. I know that I can safely give my closest friends an honest opinion as long as I approach the subject with their best interests at heart. You may have to weigh in whether your advise could be hurtful rather than helpful. My intention would never be to hurt anyone’s feelings. Just be kind to each other and keep your sense of humour.
Jacquie’s 2 cents…
My feeling on the subject is a little bit different than yours, Bonnie, though I agree in principle with what you’re saying. Maybe it’s my own insecurities but I have a really hard time telling someone else that they should do something differently because I know I don’t take critiques very well. I’ll be less cryptic. I’ve been told a couple of times in the recent past that I looked tired. What the …! I then feel like I have to justify why I might not be looking my best and it makes me self conscious and I get defensive.
Don’t EVER tell a friend she’s looking tired! Tired is a nasty word and has all sorts of connotations like worn out, old, deflated, colorless, can’t handle your life, stressed out. The reality is I’m staying up late every night to pick up my daughter from work or I’m writing or doing some painting. If the end result is that I look less vibrant for my friends the next day I don’t want one of them bringing it to my attention. I want to feel safe with my friends and believe that how I look isn’t a concern of theirs (unless flames spontaneous erupt from my orifices. Then tell me). If I start to look like I’m smuggling bags of bark mulch under my clothes I don’t want my friends telling me I need to start exercising or watching what I eat. You can bet I’m probably aware of the extra few pounds and won’t appreciate a reminder.
I do think there are plenty of ways to let a friend know she could be doing something differently or better but you have to be finely tuned in to your female powers of intuition to know when the right moment is to bring something up. I have a friend who for years wore her make up too boldly. So often I wanted to say “do you mind if I show you how to apply your blush?” (I used to teach make up artistry so I felt I had some expertise in that area) but someone else finally mentioned it in a nice, matter o’ fact way and it was no big deal. I did learn from this that most women WANT input from a trusted friend. Maybe it was the way I was raised, but for me I have a hard time accepting ‘helpful’ advice so I prefer not to give it unless asked directly. Live and let live.
I know you’re waiting to jump in here so I’ll pass this on to you, T.
Tracy weighs in…
First off, is there a reason that I am the ‘weighs in’ title this week? I am still giggling at both your posts. Two great views!
Note to self, tell Bonnie (from now on) when she has food in her teeth. It’s not a game to try to figure out who will step up in the crowd to say something. And Jacquie, you have NEVER looked tired to me! I love that both of you have such a great sense of humor and also have the confidence to speak up when you might feel sensitive about something. I think there is a line, and although I love to cross that line, here is where I don’t. When it comes to telling your friend something, I agree that it should be weighed if you are going to hurt any feelings ( there is nothing worse than hurting a friend’s feelings). I think a friend tucks in the tag of your shirt, fixes your hair, wipes your face of the unknown, but when it comes to things that you can’t change with a simple wipe or tuck, then I think you should be very careful with how you choose your words of advice.
I still laugh when I think back at Jacquie taking my picture in Cabo, laying by the pool in my bikini, when she said “you’re not going to like that one!” The southern accent she used really helped!
Bonnie will tell me she really likes a certain picture of me. It’s a nice way of giving her opinion without choosing the opposite “I don’t like that one”. If a friend asks me for my advice directly then yes, I do give them my honest opinion but still choose my words carefully. I personally would tell my friend something of the more serious nature, like a boyfriend cheating, before I would tell them their ass looks fat in those pants. Friends come in all different sizes, styles, with makeup, without makeup and I think you should just embrace them for who they are. After all, it’s just your opinion of how they should be.