When Are You Close Enough?

By Cougarbaby


Making friends as an adult can be very difficult for women. In a previous article I made some suggestions as to how to go about it. Did you try any of these ideas? Did you make a friend? If so, please share how.

Why is it so difficult? Maybe it’s because women can be sooooo catty. Ugh! As women, we need to build each other up, not push each other down. I like to offer simple, yet heartfelt compliments to random women I see in public. Cute hair! Love the shoes! That color is gorgeous on you! etc. Usually they respond with a smile and a thank-you. Sometimes this comes with a surprised face. Sometimes they give me the silent treatment with what I call a “smell the fart” face. Pffft, whatev. Rather than get annoyed with them, I just smile and continue on my way.

Casual friends, good friends, work friends, besties, and long term/long distance friendships all come with different levels of familiarity. Some are fairly superficial, while some are very deep and personal. Casual friends will be on kind of a ‘Hey, how ya doing?’ level. Good friends will chat about boyfriends, trouble at work, your period and whatnot. You and your bestie will discuss anything, no matter how gross or intimate.

Here is my query. At what point is it okay, even encouraged to be frank? And to what degree?

For example:

“Ahem, you have something in your teeth.” To me, this can be said to a complete stranger. It’s only polite and could save them from embarrassment later.

“Will you please go shopping with me and help me find something that looks good?” This is good friends, or better.

“Does this make me look fat?” This is the million dollar question. Most people will lie and say, “No of course not, you look great!” This is NOT helpful. A true friend will be truthful. I don’t mean hurtful…I mean honest. “Welllll…it is not the most flattering thing you have.” Your bestie will be like, “Oh good lord!! Take it off! Take it off now!!”

What if a woman has facial hair? Chin whiskers. A little (or perhaps not so little) mustache. Sideburns. Hmmm. What if you aren’t good friends with this woman? Can you mention it to her? HOW??

To be honest, I’m actually looking for advice with this one. I know a hairy faced woman. She’s also a terrible dresser. She’s sort of a train wreck and she has no close girlfriends. I am a fan of the underdog and have tried to befriend her, but it has been uncomfortable and personality differences make us incompatible. On the one hand, I feel bad for her and want to help. Should I? On the other hand, she has access to mirrors so she’s gotta know. She’s gotta see. Right? HELP ME!!.




  1. Did she ask for your help/advice?

    Reminds me of a story about an assistant city manager’s wife. She and hubby moved to Rangely, the town next to where he worked. Being a woman of habit (and a lover of over-easy eggs) she daily took breakfast in the Home On The Range cafe’. Being a chatty helpful type with good intentions to boot, one day she made a suggestion to a waitress how Rangely could improve. Waitress’ response: “It’s a dirty little town and just the way we like it.” The same is true for the “train wreck” in your life. It’s a choice she’s makes.

    Mind reading – I’ve very good at it and occasionally right – I’d say Ms. Trainwreck takes great pains to look shabby. Shabby is essential: a lure for kindhearted people to take on the role of “I’m Only Trying To Help You”. Sign up for that role and in the end you may find yourself with a bewildering feeling of inadequacy. 🙂

  2. Yeah I think the rule is that you don’t give unsolicited advice. It’s possible that someone might take it well and appreciate it, but unlikely, and most people will just shoot the messenger. If someone asks you for your frank assessment or seeks your opinion, then fire away. But most people will take offense at unsolicited advice. Not everyone, but honestly not worth the risk. I wouldn’t break this rule without knowing someone REALLY well and knowing they’ll take it okay. I know the instinct to help can be overwhelming…

    My aunt has not spoken to my step-mom for years because my step-mom gave her some completely well-meaning and good-hearted (but unsolicited) weight-loss advice, lol.

  3. Sometimes you can help someone by pretending you are talking about your own flaws. Mention how you were having issues with growing little hairs on your face until you started using Veet or waxing or plucking them or whatever. Sideburns- how do you even grow sideburns without purposefully cutting your hair that way? I don’t know, lol. Best scenario is that you find a way to sandwich the “help” between compliments.
    You can also throw out compliments and wait until she says something derogatory about herself (she will). Then offer advice, because at this point it is somewhat asked for. Everyone has something you can find to compliment and go from there.
    Terrible dresser? Find something she has on that you DO like and say something nice about it. Then talk about where you like to shop. Ask her to go shopping with you and tell her what you think is cute. Or “you know what would be REALLY cute on you?” and show her things you think would look good. Ask her if she wants to come to the department store makeup counter with you and get free makeovers for fun! Of course, all that is ONLY if you have the time, energy and desire to really be a fixer upper for someone else.

  4. To answer the question of how close do you have to be- I would say if you see the person in a one on one context regularly, that is close enough to say something. You don’t want to embarrass anyone in front of others.
    Still, some things, something in your teeth, fly unzipped, etc. can be said to strangers. If you are standing next to a stranger in the restroom and she has something on her shirt, you would say something, wouldn’t you? I would.
    Women I work with, I would say something, most of the time. There is this one woman that sometimes doesn’t blend her foundation in well enough and it makes that “line” at the edge of her face. I almost said something to her the other day. I probably should have.
    The guys, I’m probably not QUITE as comfortable saying something. My boss got onto me the other day because I didn’t tell him his fly was unzipped, lol. Only, I probably would have if I had SEEN it. I just wasn’t looking at his dick, sheesh! Another guy sometimes has dandruff, and what can you say about that? Men I think are actually more sensitive than women when a woman criticizes them, so I’m even more careful.

  5. I’m not a diva by any means, but I am a little vain. How can you go about in life with hair on your face as a woman?! And I agree, she obviously must look in the mirror each morning and knows it’s there. If I had to guess I’d say she’s just really stuck in a rut and has stopped caring, probably due to some mental block where she may feel it’s impossible or too hard to be any way else. Since you’ve been so nice to her thus far, maybe just go for it and suggest a makeover day at a salon where they do the waxing, facials, hair, nails and all that stuff? But the thing is, people will only accept advice if they truly want to change. If they don’t want to change then they just get defensive and upset. If you suggest it, she won’t go for it most likely, so maybe don’t even bother……but what do you have to lose anyways? Because you said you’ve tried to befriend her and that she doesn’t seem very receptive. What’s the worst that can happen? She’ll never speak to you again? But you said she is cold and aloof anyways. I’d like to think that she’d consider it and think about it at least.

    Can you describe what kind of clothes she wears and also how old is she?

  6. As long as you two aren´t on the same page (“it has been uncomfortable and personality differences make us incompatible.”), there´s virtually no way your advice could be well-appreciated, I´m afraid. As you state yourself, the topic of looks is generally highly sensitive among women and you may indeed do more harm than good both to her and yourself. If there is no mental connection between you and her, what is it that triggers your willingness to help?

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