Friendship is often about calling someone out on their problematic behavior.
Whether it’s bringing someone’s terrible tipping habit to their attention or getting them to stop using so much foul language, a friend isn’t always there to tell you that you’re perfect.
It isn’t always a fun conversation, though, and sometimes it can leave everyone involved feeling terrible.
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) grandvizierofswag when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for telling my friend his physical standards are why he’s single?”
OP got right to the problem at hand.
“I (22M) have a friend (22M) who has never had a girlfriend or romantic experience.”
“Now, let me say that I actually really like him as a person and think he has positive qualities.”
“He has a solid job making $180k with a company car as a surgical device sales rep (at 22!) after graduating magna cum laude.”
“He is generally affable and easy to talk to.”
“If his standards were just educated and good person I would totally support it as I think that’s reasonable.”
“However, physically, and I know I’m being brutal here, he is not a catch.”
“He already has a significantly receded hairline, his face is quite frankly below average, he’s of below average height and he’s not in amazing shape.”
“I believe he has a distorted view because his parents constantly told him he was very handsome and could get any girl.”
“As a result, he is exclusively interested in women who are not just successful, but also are exceptionally gorgeous.”
“A woman, who said she just graduated from an ivy league and was a tech sales rep, was flirting with him at the bar.”
“Though she was nice and clearly quite intelligent, and again I know I’m being brutal here, she was not very attractive.”
“When she asked for his number, he politely declined.”
“I asked him what was wrong and he said ‘I mean she seems like a nice person but she’s definitely not in my league'”.
“I bit my tongue.”
“The next week, he came to me upset and told me that a woman that he had a cooking class with rejected him.”
“Suspecting the reason why, I asked him to show me a picture of her from her social media.”
“Sure enough, she was insanely attractive and in marketing at a big company.”
“I just tried to sympathize.”
“Later, I thought long and hard about it.”
“On the one hand, I didn’t want to be mean.”
“But on the other, this has been occurring since freshman year of high school.”
“He is now the last person in the friend group to be single and completely missed out on dating in high school and college.”
“Say what you will, but I think that romance is important for the vast majority of people, and I also think physical attraction is a foundational aspect of relationships unless you’re both ace.”
“He could easily be in a relationship if he got over his obsession with beauty.”
“So after rehearsing what I wanted to say, I decided to sit him down and I told him ‘I’m going to be honest with you man, I think you should lower your physical standards.'”
“‘You would have way more options”’.
“He protested and said that his standards were reasonable because he’s a good-looking guy.”
“I said ‘I hate to say it, but your approach of only going after beautiful and successful women has not worked out.'”
“‘Feel free to shoot your shot but I think you should also consider women that are nice/smart but less physically attractive”’.
“I recommended he go to therapy about this. He got angry and has been giving me the cold shoulder ever since (8 days).”
OP was left to wonder,
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some pointed out that appearances weren’t the only problem.
“The problem isn’t that 10’s only go for other 10’s.”
“It’s that 10’s don’t go for people who are interested in them just because they are 10’s.”
“NTA but it’s not just his looks that are the issue.” ~ Disastrous-Low-5606
“NTA – it sounds like you approached this mindfully and with good intentions.”
“Unfortunately, a guy like this doesn’t sound open to reflection about himself.”
“These opinions tend to solidify with time, resulting in a ‘the women are the problem’ mindset.”
“He will either learn in time or he won’t.” ~ Emotional_Koala_
“The thing is, you’re making too much sense.”
“Dude is 22 and not fully developed as an adult man.”
“He needed that slap in the face.”
“If he’s been coddled and told he’s momma’s handsome boy, his whole life AND had constant validation from his male friends and co-workers; nothing is going to change his mind other than a man he perceives as superior to him.”
“He doesn’t respect women.” ~ Tricky-Recipe-4688
Others complimented OP’s restraint.
“Honestly, you’ve risked looking like the bad guy to genuinely help your friend because you want him to be happy and you spent time and energy thinking how to do that in a way that wouldn’t hurt his feelings.”
“You didn’t call him unattractive or say they were out of his league, you just said it wasn’t working out, and he should maybe try something new. I think you’re a mensch.” ~ Dull-Owl-1763
“I agree with you as well and wish I had the courage to say and word that to a friend who is in the same position as OP’s friend.”
“Thanks for your example OP.” ~ lucky_charms_
“Sometimes friendship is about telling hard truths.”
“You really seem to want the best for your friend, to want him to experience the relationship he clearly wants.”
“However, just because someone needs to hear something doesn’t mean they are ready to listen. It sounds like he needs to do some inner work.” ~ ariesemerald
Commenters shared personal stories.
“I knew a guy like that once.”
“He had incredibly high standards for women he’s willing to date (beauty queen standards) and could never understand why none of them were ever interested in him.”
“It didn’t really bother me as he was otherwise a nice guy and decent friend.”
“Only till the day I caught him telling a friend that he couldn’t understand why my then-bf (now husband) would want to stay with me as my bf is ‘A-grade’ (yes my bf is very good looking) and I’m just ‘passable’ (and yes I’m very mediocre looks-wise).”
“That’s when I blew up, told him to look himself in the mirror, and cut him out of my life.” ~ 123197123
“I have a friend like this.”
“He says the same thing about his buddy and his wife.”
“After watching him for years, I’m pretty sure he’s gay and uses his unrealistic standards as an excuse to stay single. I’m sure you look great!” ~ jazzed_life
For others, experience will be the better teacher.
“While clearly NTA, I also think that conversation was unnecessary and obviously not going to pan out well.”
“For it not even to occur to this dude that the reason he routinely turns down women (because he isn’t interested in them) could possibly be the reason he’s being Rejected (because they’re not interested in him) is ridiculous.”
“But ultimately it only affects him, and all OP did was basically sit him down and tell him he thinks he’s not good-looking.”
“Which like.. dude. How did you think that was gonna go?”
“If he kept coming to me complaining about ‘why did she reject me?’ I’d be like, ‘I dunno, why do you reject people who ask you out?”’
“And if he says some garbage about her being an a**hole, just be like… ‘whatever dude, she’s allowed to not like you, and that doesn’t make her a jerk.”‘
“‘Just like you’re allowed to not date people you don’t want to, and it doesn’t make you a jerk.'”
“From a woman’s perspective…please let him be.”
“We don’t want someone going out with us because they feel like the people they’re really attracted to won’t want to date us.”
“We don’t want to be ‘settled for.'”
“Let him continue to spin his wheels and make his choices.”
“Don’t encourage him to subject women to the inevitable unpleasantness and degradation of going out with a man who would rather be with someone else.”
“Just so he can have ‘experiences’ with someone because it’s ‘about time.'”
“You keep saying ‘8 years’ like it’s insane.”
“Lots of people don’t experience real dating until later in life, especially in the last 5 years or so.”
“He has plenty of time for his own lived experience of unsuccessful attempts at dating to give him that reality check.”
“He doesn’t need you to do it.” ~ cuccuguvigu
Though this comment seemed to sum it up nicely.
“Attraction is subjective, and different things do it for different people.”
“However, the fact that he’s 22, and has never been in a relationship or had a ‘romantic experience’ is a very good indicator that something is not working for him.”
“It sounds to me as though he is terribly entitled, and thinks he’s god’s gift to women.”
“It might have been a little bit harsh in how you approached it, but it sounds like he’s shooting for the stars and instantly discounting anyone who isn’t both gorgeous and highly successful.”
“I’m not saying that he should start dating someone to whom he has no attraction. “
“But I genuinely think he’s in danger of falling down a very bitter rabbit hole unless he’s willing to give people a chance, even if they’re not his over-blown ideal.”
“I think you were a good friend to talk to him about this. Not many people would risk possibly coming across as the ‘bad guy’ to do this.” ~ BeneficialDark1662
Kindness is always my first suggestion, but sometimes, it can be unhelpful.