Friends critical of outfit picks
Dear Annie: Each year for the past 10 years or so I have gotten together with four close friends I’ve known since middle school. We are now in our early 60s. Usually we gather in a place that has wonderful clothing stores. I live in an area where shopping is limited, so I often see items I’d love to buy.
My problem is that my friends are highly critical of everything I try on, but not of each other. I’m fairly certain the reason is because I am the only one of us who still weighs what I did when we finished high school. We were all slender then. The others are substantially larger now, probably by 40 or more pounds.
I have tried not coming out of the dressing room to avoid their comments, but sometimes I need to because of the mirror availability.
And sometimes they’ll insist that I show them what I have on. Going shopping by myself on these trips is not an option.
Several years ago, I just stopped trying on clothes with them and just bought cute accessories instead.
Last year, I tried on some items, listened to their negative comments, but didn’t buy anything. When I got back home I called the shop and had them send me the clothes I liked. (Of course, I had to pay shipping.)
Meanwhile, when I wore the clothes, I got numerous compliments not only from friends, but even from strangers who came up to me and asked where I bought such a cute jacket, blouse, etc.
I try to be very supportive of each of my friends about the way they look, for example complimenting them on their clothes or jewelry or hairstyle, etc.
We will be getting together again soon in a great shopping location. Is there anything I can do or say to prevent them from being so critical of me when trying on clothes? Or do I just bite the bullet for the sake of our friendship, which I do truly value, and just buy more earrings and scarves? — What Are Friends For
Dear What Are Friends For: Water off a duck’s back: That’s what these comments should be to you. If you like how something looks on you, buy it. If they try to talk you out of it, smile, thank them for the feedback, and buy it anyway. Confidence and good humor are stronger forces than pettiness and jealousy. I have a feeling that once they see they can’t take you down a peg, they’ll stop trying.
Dear Annie: Your advice is usually so good, but I was surprised by your response to “Hurt in the Pacific Northwest,” who was upset by her brother-in-law’s joke on Facebook that, by this woman’s own admission, she is “very sensitive” and has “trouble letting things go” — and she demonstrates that here.
She is tripping over pebbles to find offense in this situation, but you told her that he was wrong to speak that way! I think gently pointing out that she overreacted would have been doing her a service.
Life must hurt and offend her every day. — Benefit of the Doubt
Dear Benefit of the Doubt: I received enough feedback to this effect to think that I may have missed the mark on this one. I appreciate your letter.