Sasha Answers: The “less than” friend
I'm in a very rocky place with a girlfriend of mine. For the four years or so that we've been friends, I can't remember her ever consciously doing anything to slight me, although our conversations are almost invariably about her. Rather, the problem is that she is gorgeous - model-gorgeous, room-stopping traffic-stopping thought-stopping gorgeous - and me, well, I'm not, although I try to stay fit and look decent. But I'm nothing compared to her.
Just in case I was not sensitive to that, however, the general public has firmly established the disparity. On our most recent dinner, a stranger came over in the middle of dinner (a man, of course) and insisted on telling my friend how she was "absolutely gorgeous! AB-solutely gorgeous!!!" and completely ignoring me. Anyway, they had a fluttery little exchange, but it completely ruined the evening for me.
Subsequently, I sent her texts saying (without harsh language) that I wasn't sure what exactly I brought to the friendship other than to be The Ugly One. I said that feeling ignored and overlooked each time we get together was not emotionally healthy for me, and that I understood that it was nothing she was deliberately doing; I just thought perhaps it was a function of who we each are.
I later apologized for the hurt I had caused her, but I couldn't apologize for the way I feel. She has barely responded to my messages, and I in turn feel less and less motivated to repair things with her. I cannot escape the feeling, however, that I am doing something horribly wrong. What should I do? You've talked about the value of girlfriends... but at what point does one leave a friendship? A
I’m sure everyone of us can relate to feeling "less than" a friend at one time or another – whether it's beauty, brains, sense of humor, a better body, I mean, there’s a long list of things people envy about each other. But keep in mind - nobody has it all, and it's our unique talents and characteristics that make us awesome individuals. While beauty is the easiest feature to spot, it's by no means the best part of a human being. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I had to be Gisele or Tina Fey, I’d pick Tina Fey every time.
A, here's what I think is the problem: you’ve let yourself become so insecure about looks that you’ve lost sight of ALL of the GREAT things you have to offer. The thing is, A, your beef is not with her, it’s really with yourself. So tonight here's what I'd like you to do: sit down and write a list of 5 things you like about yourself, 5 things that make you a good friend, and 5 things you’d like to improve. Do it! Seriously, don’t f-ck with me, because I want you to email them to me when you’re done. (Lainey: send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make sure Sasha gets it.)
Now back to your friend. From what you’ve told me she sounds like a good bud who has never thrown her beauty in your face. And if this is indeed the case, then I’ve gotta tell you that I think you've kind of f-cked the dog on this one. It’s totally unfair of you to axe this friendship and make her feel bad because of your own insecurities. So if I were you I’d call her up, apologize and see to it that you patch things up. I’m going to leave you with something from Margaret Cho right now - she has always been very vocal about her journey of finding self-worth and acceptance; I hope you’re able to do the same soon:
Being called ugly and fat and disgusting to look at from the time I could barely understand what the words meant has scarred me so deep inside that I have learned to hunt, stalk, claim, own and defend my own loveliness and my image of myself as stunningly gorgeous with a ruthlessness and a defensiveness that I fear for anyone who casually or jokingly questions it…
I fly my flag of self-esteem for all those who have been told they were ugly and fat and hurt and shamed and violated and abused for the way they look and told time and time again that they were "different" and therefore unlovable. Come to me and I will tell you and show you how beautiful and loved you are and you will see it and feel it and know it and then look in the mirror and truly believe it.