If I tell Friend A: "You've picked up some really nasty demanding traits from your dysfunctional mother, you're a lovely friend and have lots going for you, but when you talk to men you're a female dog" she's going to take that badly, and defend herself as just being a "strong, confident woman".
You do know there is a difference between constructive criticism and brutal honesty, right? Sure you can't say ^ that to a friend and have it come out nice, because its a nasty thing to say. But you can
say something like "honestly you have so much to offer but sometimes you come across as mean. I know you don't mean it like that, and goodness knows growing up in the home you did, you've come so far, but with dating
its all about first impressions. I think if you tried to soften up your approach a bit - you know - smile, stroke the guy's ego a bit by asking lots of questions - which works in your favor anyway because you learn about him, and just in general going a bit easy on people - sometimes guys say goofy things because they are nervous, no need to get defensive with them so quickly; try cracking a joke instead of fighting them on dumb comments. You have a lot to offer but right now it takes a while to get to your awesomeness, the key is to show your awesomeness faster."
If I tell Friend B: "You're not putting yourself out there. Get some exercise, stand up straight, hold yourself with confidence and you'll be approachable." Well, that's just cruel.
Yes that's ^ cruel but its not cruel to say (if asked for advice, or if she is lamenting constantly) "the two single most attractive qualities in a person are confidence and good health. Everything else is simply preference - tall-short, thin-curvy, dark-pale, long hair-short hair, none of that ultimately matters, its all about confidence and health. And while you have other stuff - pretty face, great personality, your life put together, you aren't putting your confidence and health out there to be seen, and those are your 'first impression' things you really need to wear on your sleeve so to speak. Try standing up straight, shoulders back, hold that head high and proud! Take care of yourself, and show it. Remember how awesome you are and flaunt it and work on maintaining and improving yourself. Because you know what? Ultimately if you do that you don't even need a [man/woman], because you will feel so great. And that darling, is confidence and its sexy."
If I tell Friend C: "You dress like a lesbian. You know that you've been mistaken for a lesbian several times, yet you are quite clear that you're interested only in men and you really want to find a man and get married. If you want a man to show romantic interest in you then perhaps you need to change your image so that they consider approaching you. Maybe get a feminine haircut. Or put yourself out there in some way like you did back when you were in relationships."
This one I'd approach with humor and a smile, but still kindness "well of course guys aren't interested in you, they think you're a lesbian
! Remember last week when 3 women hit on you - heck that guy you were talking to introduced you one of them! Sweetie I know you went through some stuff with your ex(s) and you rebelled and went all androgynous with your look for a while, but you've gotta be real here for a moment. Yes you have the face to pull off short hair, but I think you might do better to fem it up a bit - you know how guys are, looks matter to them. Let the top grow out a bit and poof it up, wear big earrings, a skirt once in a while wouldn't kill you. Its all about marketing and while you look neat and put together, you aren't advertising 'straight female seeking straight man' with your current packaging."
If I tell my coworker: "You're 40 years old and a professional who earns a six figure salary. Stop dressing like a tramp, giggling like a schoolgirl and slathering on ten feet thick make-up and false eyelashes. Also, when you're in a relationship, don't treat the man like your personal servant and create huge dramatic scenarios whereby you storm out and never speak to him again, then complain that he never called you and "broke your heart". Grow up.
Again humor, kindness, and a few finger snaps. "Lets look at some best practices and some of the things that aren't working for you. Dating
in your 40's is a different ballgame then dating
in your 20's and while you have advanced leaps and bounds in other areas of your life, you seem a bit stuck on the dating
thing. You have some great things to offer - check you out, you are successful, witty, financially secure, fun to be around, you love to laugh, you've got it going on. But you still dress like you did 20 years ago. Sweetheart, if you have advanced, don't you think your wardrobe should too? Have you ever read Real Simple
with the fashion section on how to wear a trend piece and they break it down by age group? Or the opening to What Not to Wear
with the sign 'no mini skirts after 30'? You need a new marketing strategy that includes fresh packaging that better shows off your assets. Lighten up on the make-up to show off those eyes! Update the wardrobe. Project yourself with confidence and airiness, not false giggling and bossiness. You are 40 - a cougar! You need to find your inner vixen and be a strong confident independent woman, and drop this school girl act, you have more to offer then that. Lets go down to Bergdorf next Saturday and we'll meet with the personal shopper and get a make-over at the Laura Mericer counter and you'll leave ready to be cast on the The Real Cougars of Madison County
! Giggling is for girls, you are woman
, I want to hear you roar
The reality is some people do just moan and complain, and are too scared to change how they are projecting themselves, because even though their comfort zone isn't working, the fear is leaving the comfort zone might not work either - and then they are still a lone and rejected at now they are so while feeling exposed and uncomfortable. But some people really do just need that kick in the butt to get going. its like kids - if you are around them everyday, you hardly notice they are growing and maturing - sure you know it, but subtle. But if its a far away kid you only see once a year WOW look how tall they've gotten. Or weight, 1 pound here, 2 pounds there, and next thing you know its 20 pounds. Sometimes people get lazy with their dating
skills, they don't watch successful friends flirting techniques, they don't update their wardrobe for their age, they forget how to make a first impression because they only socialize with people who know them well, and they just need someone to say "hey, you can
do this, you're just not