FWP: How to Shut Down a Friend Who’s Being Judgmental
PROBLEM: I’ve got a friend with major elevator eyes. Every time we meet, she looks me up and down, and then makes a comment about something I’m wearing, or my appearance. She’s not being mean, her comments are innocuous at worst, and are mostly complimentary. But I am very uncomfortable being looked up and down like a prize cow every time and I’ve got no room in my life for judgmental people. Any clever ideas for shutting this down?
MM: That’s a tough one. I’d go with tracking her gaze, and staring deep into her eyes with anger every time you catch her sheepishly looking away, as I suspect she will be. Maybe throw in a snarky comment like, “Oh sorry, do you not like this colour?” Hopefully she will get the message. Otherwise, you can always take the stairs.
SB: I am always tempted to go full Tyson on elevator-eyed starers (I hate that), but there’s probably a more moderate way to do this since she’s actually a friend.
I assume you’re already looking as uncomfortable as you feel when she gives you the look-see? In that case, make the next person who gets in the elevator your willing victim. Say to your friend, “Did you notice so-and-so staring at my outfit? I hate when anyone checks me out like that and comments on my appearance. It’s so uncomfortable!” If she STILL doesn’t take the hint, refer back to full Tyson above.
LG: Elevator eyes start in the basement of insecurity, where it’s dark, smelly and there’s a boiler dating back to the 19th century that somehow still rumbles like the gateway to hell, even though it’s no longer in use. So, have pity on your friend for being stuck down there with all the other judgmental people.
Perhaps try to beat her to her compliment — if you build up her self-esteem, floor by floor, she’ll have less reason to take the lift. Sure, it’s not your job, but if you care about her (or, care about ending the once-over) that might be what it takes.
RT: OK, there are only a few things that I check my friends on — when they proclaim that aliens don’t exist, sexist jokes, not admitting to Game of Thrones being the best damn TV show out there, and being judgmental. So, I would probably gouge your friend’s eyes out. But — I understand why you won’t.
My next best piece ‘clever’ advice is to just call her out on her bully behaviour. “Hey XYZ, I’d really love if you’d stop checking me out (and leave that to the men). I am here for your company and not your comments!” Like a great Instagram quote once said, there comes a moment when you have to choose whether to be silent or to stand up, and, girl, there’s no better time to stand up and no clever way of saying shut the hell up. Good luck!
AV: Ah, the old once-over. Only, you’re getting it more than once. I’ve always wondered if women remark on things because they’re fishing for compliments. If it bugs you, you need to call her on it. I’d agree with MM in the first part – track her gaze and then before she can say something, say, “Wow, I am impressed that you always scan me so thoroughly every time we meet. It’s kind of sweet that you always notice something about me.”
At the end of that meeting, while you’re saying your good-byes, close with, “Next time, I promise to notice something about you – and you’re going to just be happy to see my face – OK?”
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