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Old 12-30-2012, 04:30 PM
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Default Friend advice or: how shallow am I?

I have a very good friend who I have known for about 15 years. We drifted apart a bit over the years with me being in the States (she lives in Germany), but we're still pretty close.

She's in her 30s and has been complaining a bit lately that all guys she meets only see her as a friend and don't want to get romantically involved. She has been a single forever and I know she'd really like to have someone special in her life.

Here's the deal: she is a very smart, funny, great person with a huge heart, but she's a total tomboy. And to be honest, not in the cute way. She has had the same unflattering haircut since I've known her (she's had it all her life). She grew up in the country with brothers and I think her parents simply always sent her out to play with the boys, get a haircut at the same place, etc.

Now, I like her just the way she is, but I have been contemplating telling her the truth about her looks. It's not that she is ugly, at all, she would be adorable with a different, longer cut and some style. I am only thinking about intervening like this because she has expressed unhappiness about her situation. I wouldn't want her to change for anybody, but, at the same time, I feel like someone should tell her that she looks like a 16 year old boy (not that harsh, of course).

Am I completely out of line? Should I just stay quiet? I know that looks aren't everything, but at the same time, they are important.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:40 PM
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Maybe you could suggest new flattering clothes, make up and a new haircut if she's going to hang out with a guy she likes or something ('so he'd get the hint').

That being said... I don't really believe in changing yourself just to get a date. I was never super feminine and my best friend isn't either, and we both found someone who loved us the way we are. I'm thinking if a guy won't ask her out because of her haircut, it's probably not a good match in the first place. That's coming from someone who got told 'I wanted to go out with you, then decided I didn't really want to date a girl who's like a guy' (there's no way I would have considered that guy though and the comment made me laugh).
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:41 PM
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Unless she's willing to keep up a charade for the rest of her life, she's better off waiting until she finds a guy who likes tomboys. IMO.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:55 PM
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Nope, you shouldn't say something. If she downright doesn't take care of herself or her looks, maybe...but having a short, boyish haircut isn't going to stop someone from getting a boyfriend. If she's lacking confidence and is fearful of branching out her looks, encouraging her to make a change is ok, but if she hasn't indicated she doesn't like her hair, you shouldn't mention it.

Instead, suggest she join a group or do something to meet more people, especially one with similar interests. I guarantee guys aren't friend zoning her because of her hairstyle...
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:00 PM
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See, and that's where I am not sure whether to go ahead or not. It's not that I want or suggest she should change for someone or to get a date... I don't think she has to wear makeup or start running around in heels - she can stay the tomboy she is, the point is that her "updo" is very unflattering. She is upset that she isn't asked out (at all in the last 10 years, really) and I wonder how much good I will do by keeping to tell her that she'll meet the right guy. Eventually.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:02 PM
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I can understand where you're coming from, Jules.

I'm a tomboy, always have been. Since I've been in construction I can feel it get more pronounced, it really can produce 'manly' behavior. Not that is inherently bad, but we have our gender roles and 'rules' that a lot of people like to abide by. The feminine charm can be ruined in mens' eyes by the way you carry yourself (gruff and rough), swearing, burping/farting, being a 'maneater' (which is not the point of being a tomboy..), and not putting an effort into one's appearance. Like finding a flattering hairstyle, clothes, etc. I'm just repeating what I've heard from my male friends. A lot of them were complaining about a ex co-worker, who did all those things and more. Most men were turned off and even though she wasn't being fake, being a bit more feminine would've gained her several men after her.

No, you shouldn't change yourself to get men. But when you're single and unhappy, change can be for the better. I don't think that's completely shallow.

I can't really help on how to approach the subject, though. That's really difficult and I know I would get defensive initially if someone were to say something like that to me. At the same time though, I would consider their advice especially if it came from a close friend.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:03 PM
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I totally, completely understand where you're coming from, Jules. You are describing my sister. She's never had a date, and always been "one of the boys" from the time she was a little girl. She would rather wear jeans and a sweatshirt than anything else, often throws on a hat or pulls her hair into a ponytail straight out of the shower instead of brushing her hair, and the only time in the last 10 or 15 years that she's worn a dress was to my wedding (she was a bridesmaid, she kind of had to...)

Every time I go home, she whines about not having a boyfriend, no one liking her, etc. Several times I've tried to help. One year for Christmas I took her shopping and we bought her a whole pile of clothes (she needed something to wear to work). Another time I showed her how to dry and brush out her hair quickly (literally, 5 minutes) on days she needed to look more presentable. 2 years later, all those clothes she picked out that I bought for her have either been given to good will or are pulled out for funerals or weddings only.

I keep waiting for the day when she will realize that her choices are keeping guys away, but it hasn't happened yet, and hearing it from me is only going to make her hate me more (we don't have the greatest relationship to begin with...)
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sassafras View Post
Unless she's willing to keep up a charade for the rest of her life, she's better off waiting until she finds a guy who likes tomboys. IMO.
Yep.

I'm honestly not a big fan of giving unsolicited advice of this sort, there are just way way too many ways it can go wrong and come out hurtful.

I've had lots of friends/family try to 'help me' like this in the past and all it really accomplished was making me feel like crap for days at a time. Either I was already self conscious of my look and they made it worse or I was having a rare burst of confidence and they ruined it. Neither is really a good outcome.

Instead I would recommend helping to increase her overall confidence. Encourage her to be social, join clubs, etc. She may change on her own as she starts to feel better about herself (if that's even an issue) or she may already love the way she is and stay the same, though hopefully with some new social connections.

Bottom line - taking it upon yourself to question/critique/etc. someone else's appearance? Not really okay IMO
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:07 PM
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I still dress like that, I still have a short haircut, but I'm married, so it can happen. Theres nothing wrong with wanting to wear comfortable clothing (mens, even) and not have to dress up. She needs to meet people with similar interest though, I agree.

If she's dressing like a slob though, or her haircut is ridiculous, then yeah, I can see that lol, but I wore mens jeans and had a really short haircut when DH asked me out. I mean, I was presentable, rather. The issue also might be (I don't know how it is in Germany, but in Atlanta) they might think she's batting for the other team...
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:07 PM
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Some people will be appreciative of the advice, others won't be.
You know your friend best, and I think if she has expressed being unhappy with her situation, a light hearted suggestion of maybe updating her wardrobe or changing her hairstyle might really help her out.

I had a friend in highschool who really struggled in the style department (not that I was any better really). I suggested we go shopping after school one day, and she was over the moon! It really changed her mood and confidence level. Even when she wasn't wearing her "new" clothes, she had that needed boost to help her deal with the arseholes who picked on her.

I'm a tomboy somedays and a bit girly other days. It's not a charade when I'm boyish or girlish, it's just how I feel like dressing/presenting myself that day. Sometimes people dress the same way they have been for years because they don't know how to make the leap to something new. It's scary, but having someone there to support you makes a huge difference.

I think there's a huge difference between suggesting she change her hair/clothing and suggesting she act more feminine (which is not what the OP was saying).
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