We all have goals and standards in life, but sometimes we do things that prevent us from attaining them, often without even realizing we’re doing it.
It takes a special kind of friend to be honest with us about what we’re doing wrong, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor cainsk tried to be that kind of friend for her best friend, who was struggling in her dating life.
But when her friend wasn’t ready to hear the truth, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong to speak up.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my best friend that a guy has the right to not be attracted to her?”
The OP had a good friend since college.
“So my best friend (31 [female]), ‘Kim,’ and I (26 [female]) have been friends for 7 years.”
“We met in college and even though there she is 5 years older than me, we click super well and talk almost every day.”
“While we get along for the most part, there has been some tension between us these past couple of years every so often when it comes to relationships. I am currently married but Kim has not been in a relationship since high school.”
It was obvious to the OP why Kim wasn’t dating anyone.
“Ever since she turned 30, she often complains about how all of her younger friends are either married or in long-term relationships but she believes she will never find a boyfriend, let alone a husband.”
“Now Kim is a beautiful woman, in my opinion. But she doesn’t do much to maintain her appearance on the outside.”
“And I am not talking about wearing makeup or going to the salon every other week, because I do not believe that is necessary, but she doesn’t ever really put any effort in at all.”
“Her hair is in bad shape (she has super damaged, curly hair) but she doesn’t want to cut her hair or treat her damage so it is just very patchy and breaks off.”
“She has gained weight but doesn’t want to buy bigger clothing to compliment her body, so her clothes fit very awkwardly.”
“And then there are other minor things that I feel do not compliment her beauty well, but she doesn’t care.”
“I offer to take care of her hair when I have time and try to give tips on how to style herself in a way that is comfortable, yet flattering, but she doesn’t want to do anything that requires a change from her norm.”
The OP finally gave her friend some feedback.
“After a conversation we had about me considering waxing as opposed to shaving my legs, she told me that she would never shave for her husband, because he needs to accept her the way she is and then proceeded to name off all of the other things she refuses to do.”
“And while I agree that it is nice to have someone that thinks you are beautiful no matter how you present yourself, it’s not very realistic.”
“I told her that she doesn’t have to shave for anyone. but physical attraction is a thing.”
“She has every right to present herself the way she wants, but the same way she dismisses guys who have unkempt facial hair or look like they don’t take care of themselves, guys can do the same thing to her.”
“I also said that is it great to meet guys who are solely attracted to us for our personalities, but since she doesn’t have much opportunity to interact with guys (and she is too shy to make the first move), first impressions can make a big difference.”
Kim did not appreciate the feedback.
“She was disapproving of what I had to say, but after so long of hearing the complaints from her of never finding a husband and guys approaching other girls before her, for so long from such a beautiful woman, I have kinda become apathetic.”
“She told me that it shouldn’t be like that, but I told her that if a stranger sees you in public and isn’t attracted to you, then he isn’t obligated to find out if you have a great personality before going about his day.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said men would not discover her friend’s personality if they weren’t interested in her.
“NTA. What you told her was the truth.”
“Another way of looking at it: if she isn’t putting in any effort – even minimally – to maintain her appearance, why should a man put forth any effort – even minimally – to see if she’s got a great personality?” – Not_A_Bimbo
“Looks are often the first reason you notice/are attracted to someone. The personality is what keeps you around (or sends you running in the other direction).”
“And there’s a huge difference between, ‘Meh, I don’t want to wear makeup and I only wear leggings and t-shirts when I’m relaxing on my day off,’ and ‘My hair is so damaged, it’s breaking in clumps and IDGAF (I don’t give a f**k) and none of my clothes fit.'” – ertrinken
“This is entirely about perception and first impressions. This is something our brains just do, we immediately assess a person or a situation, and then we categorize, file that person or thing into a known schema.”
“If you look like you don’t care about yourself, potential partners will pick up on that.”
“If someone looks like they don’t brush their hair and hasn’t bought themselves new clothes in the last decade (as evidenced by poor fit), any potential partner may assume that’s how that person treats the rest of their life. One could imagine that their home and car and finances are also in disarray.”
“It could be difficult to find someone who would willingly take on that amount of work in a relationship without knowing anything else about her.” – 8foot10foot
“She’s 30, so tbh (to be honest), everyone who may possibly date her assumes that this is the most effort she will ever put into her appearance, and it’s all downhill from here.”
“If you put no effort in before/while dating, it’s reasonable to assume there will be less in a long-term relationship.”
“If that’s not the vibe she wants to project…” – xasdfxx
“So this is difficult because looks aren’t everything, and I’d even argue that looks aren’t even close to the most important thing, at least not for me.”
“But basic standards for hygiene and effort apply… like the most sparkling personality in the world cannot overcome a very clear lack of effort.”
“It feels like she’s taking a legitimate sentiment and twisting it badly to suit her unrealistic worldview.” – fuddydudd
Others agreed that the OP’s friend deserved proper self-care, too.
“Even at my heaviest, I was going out on dates with the same types of good-looking men I dated when I was less heavy.”
“I have always been able to dress well regardless of my size and I like to present myself well-groomed. And not for others, but for myself.”
“If you stop taking care of yourself for you, then others will treat you the same. Treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated.” – cageytalker
“You can see a partial picture of someone’s personality at first sight.”
“Like, the fact that OP’s friend can’t be bothered to take care of her appearance actually does say something about her personality. It says that she doesn’t like making an effort, it says that she has low standards for her personal hygiene and health, and it says that she potentially may have untreated depression.”
“In the specific context of dating, it also says that she doesn’t particularly care about the quality of her partner’s experience of the relationship. None of those are desirable personality traits.”
“Obviously, you can’t get a complete picture of someone’s personality just by looking at them. But when you see that a person neglects basic personal hygiene and maintenance…that does actually tell you something about who they are on the inside.” – ScroungingMonkey
“Has she recently gained weight? Is the lack of hair care relatively new (past couple of years)? 30 is a rough year for a lot of us, especially with younger hotter friends.”
“It’s hard to imagine clothes that would make you feel sexy again when you’ve gained weight and your wardrobe makes you look awful. I’ve been there. It took a trip to a plus-size store (holla at Torrid) to get me a new bra and some hot jeans.”
“Does wonders for the self-esteem. Maybe next time she has a birthday or holiday, get her a gift certificate and take her? Baby steps.”
“I do not have the effort in the morning to do my hair so it sat in a messy bun for years. (I mean I did a new one daily, not the same messy bun, gross). Cut it super short and now it’s easy to manage, I literally wet it and scrunch it and I’m done. Maybe she’s avoiding hair care because it’s just a lot of work.”
“Sure, I get the comments about being lazy but like, the easier she can make it, the better she will feel. She’s a human worthy of basic respect and dignity no matter how she dresses and presents herself, but if she wants to turn heads, she has to use what she’s been given.”
“For the record, I don’t shave my legs either. It wasn’t a problem for any of my previous sexual partners. It isn’t hygiene, it’s just body hair like any other hair. Wash yourself, it’s fine. You don’t need to shave.” – coatisabrownishcolor
Appearances aside, some questioned the OP’s view of her friend’s personality.
“Also, looks DO on some level reflect aspects of your personality.”
“What you choose to wear and how you care for yourself are a reflection of how you see yourself, how you want others to see you, what you care about and how you’re willing to spend your time/money.”
“That tells you a LOT about a person. A lack of care and effort is an unattractive personality trait.” – Kathrynlena
“‘Looks’ are different than basic hygiene and maintenance. ‘Does this potential partner wash their hair on a regular basis?’ is different than ‘Does this potential partner exfoliate, shave, and pluck any missed hairs every 2-4 days and moisturize daily?'”
“And it seems Kim’s personality has gone sour from equating the two while not keeping up with basic hygiene and maintenance, so she’s blaming others.” – erinsaysytho
“NTA, Kim is being unrealistic. Not because how she thinks she shouldn’t change her ways to attract someone. She’s unrealistic because her own actions themselves show that she will dismiss other men if they are ‘unkempt. ‘”
“So… she can’t expect herself to defy basic standard of attraction and be desirable by everyone/most people she comes across.”
“You do need to take care of yourself to be attractive. That’s the number 1 advice people always give each other: make sure you are taking care of your appearance.”
“It doesn’t mean developing extreme s**t. It’s basically combing your hair, finding clothes that compliment your body, and hygiene.”
“I was gonna go with no a**holes since you two have different views but that part where Kim dismisses others for not being attractive to her for appearance-related reasons, yet fails to realize that’s why it happens to her, makes her the a**hole.” – SilhouetteCommenter
“It’s such a defensive idea that you should be able to look like a slob and have someone love you. Yes, it may be empirically true, it won’t change anything any more than saying we ‘should’ be able to fly.”
“She’s too uncomfortable for a relationship and is purposely sending out ‘STAY AWAY’ signals yet won’t make the effort to potentially make herself happy.”
“She’s put herself in a no-win situation and then asking others to fix it for her. It’s also a good excuse for why she’s alone. NTA.” – babcock27
Others agreed with this and said the friend needed to check her double standards.
“I had this same conversation with a friend years ago. Same story. Refused to do her hair in any manner, sloppy and stained clothes, was overweight, and honestly did not take care of herself in any way. All fine. You do you girl.”
“But then she’d talk about how she wanted a guy with a 6-pack, how he had to be well-groomed, a vibrant and outgoing person, and on and on.”
“Finally, I just had to tell her that while her weight was not the issue and plenty of men don’t care, but she could not expect a man who takes impeccable care of himself to be attracted to someone who takes absolutely ZERO care of themselves.” – fatapolloissexy
“Ask Kim how many times she has scanned a room and thought, ‘Wow! Take a look at the personality on that guy!'”
“NTA – You didn’t tell her anything that isn’t true.” – Parking_Initial4551
“If she doesn’t even like herself enough to present the best version of herself to the world, how can she expect anyone else to like her? NTA.”
“(And seriously, thank you so much for suggesting she buy/wear well-fitting clothes as a response to weight gain instead of just telling her to lose weight. Losing weight isn’t always an option for everyone, but dressing to flatter the body you have IS.)” – Kathrynlena
“NTA. I’m not sure I’m understanding her perspective – does she expect people to be attracted to her regardless of her appearance?”
“Of course, everyone fulfills at least one person’s visual preference, so it’s about finding the right person, but it makes it much easier if you are clean and somewhat tidy-looking. No one is owed physical attraction.” – pixelatednarcissist
Though her friend was clearly not ready to hear the truth, the subReddit insisted she had done her a favor. The way her friend was currently living was simply unrealistic.
Eventually, she would either need to make a change in her appearance and self-care to attract someone, or she’d need to reconsider how she perceives men’s appearances, or she’d need to embrace the single life.