Carolyn Hax
Carolyn Hax
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Carolyn Hax: She’s perturbed over pretty friend’s pedestal

Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997 as a weekly feature for The Washington Post, accompanied by the work of “relationship cartoonist” Nick Galifianakis. She is the author of “Tell Me About It” (Miramax, 2001), and the host of a live online discussion on Fridays at noon.

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(Nick Galifianakis/For The Washington Post)

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I’m friends with a group of men and women who have known each other since college. Another of our old college friends just moved to the area and has started hanging out with us.

Where in college she was pretty in a kind of goofy, careless way, she is now a bombshell who is in meticulous shape, has money to spend on things like hair and nails, and shows up everywhere dressed to the nines. She eclipses us all.

Hanging out with her one on one is actually pretty nice, but hanging out with her in groups drives me crazy. My male friends treat her like she is the Messiah, giving her credit for being smarter, funnier and more interesting than she actually is. Even though she has a boyfriend, she is an incredible flirt and diverts all the attention to her when we go out in all-female groups. I like her as a person, but barely; I think most of the positive attention she gets is solely because of her looks. How do I learn to relate to and be nicer to her, given that I resent her so badly?

Being Kind to the Bombshell

Embrace this little nugget in your question: “just moved to the area.” Novelty is her friend, and time is yours.

She is apparently your friend, too, so make some extra effort to be hers. That being with her one on one is “actually pretty nice” is a memo to you: It says her looks have the potential to give her a pedestal among admiring men but cost her the kind of leeway potential friends would grant her if she weren’t hot.

Meanwhile, pedestal life can get drafty; attention for looks is shallow and temporary, and, geesh, even her old guy friends are on her like panting dogs.

In that light, it’s hard to see the attention she gets as “positive” — one way to keep resentment in check.

Re: Bombshell:

My sister is movie-star gorgeous, fashionable and also a smart, kind and generous person. I’m reasonably attractive but on a mere-mortal level. When I’m in public with her, there is an obvious difference in the way she’s treated, especially by men. They are more attentive, more courteous, more charming, etc. It used to drive me batty, but now I find it kind of interesting — like I’m observing some kind of anthropological experiment.

My advice: Be kind to the bombshell and don’t let your insecurities get in the way of her attributes. Also, not for nothing, there are advantages to never having had the blessing/curse of being the prettiest one in the room. That’s a lot of pressure, especially as you get older.

Anonymous

This: (“Six Feet Under” clip). (www.bit.ly/6FeetU)

Re: Bombshell:

You have said so much about her appearance and not a word about her as a person. Start treating her as a person. Also, any time you catch yourself thinking, “I can’t compete with that,” just stop competing. Seriously.

Anonymous 2

Well, there were some words, just not enough — and yea to overruling the impulse to compete, thanks.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or tellme@washpost.com. Sign up for Carolyn Hax’s column, delivered to your inbox early each morning, at http://bit.ly/haxpost.

 
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