Facing a problem yourself? Annie has answers. Ask away!
My friends always point out whenever I look bad – like my makeup is streaked or my clothes don’t match. I want to believe they do it because they don’t want me to embarrass myself, but it’s making me wonder if I ever look good!
Am I Ugly
Dear Am I Ugly,
I hear you, Am I Ugly. I ask myself the same question – a lot. Recently, I felt unsightly because I realized a good friend of mine never posts pictures of us on Instagram. I may not know what you look like, but I empathize with people whose friends exacerbate their physical insecurities.
Despite the hurt, you – we – have to remember a hair out of place, mismatched outfit or absence from a friend’s social media feed doesn’t mean you’re ugly (probably?). You are feeling insecure, and insecurities can fester without communication.
If you want to maintain these friendships, ask your friends to refrain from similar comments going forward. Or if they can’t hold their tongue, at least approach comments about your appearance with more sensitivity.
If they intend to help you avoid a fashion faux pas, introduce them to the five-second rule. Coming from a psychologist with a large TikTok following, someone can point out a flaw in your appearance if you can change it in five seconds because quick fixes likely won’t pierce deeper insecurities. They could point out crumbs above your lip you can easily wipe away, but acknowledging a pimple poking through layers of concealer can cause an evening alone rather than one spent with friends. If you’re anything like me (and it sounds like you are), I would spend the rest of the night staring in the mirror, trying to cover up the blemish with my hair.
While you can communicate what you would like to hear from your friends, you can’t rely on others for self-confidence. Before going out with these friends, repeat some confidence-boosting affirmations into the mirror. Take inspiration from Hollywood icon Issa Rae and sing humorous reminders of your strength and the acceptance you deserve – “you’re looking real clean, you’re looking real bad, you’re looking like a queen.”
Building confidence is a much easier process than you may imagine. Follow what the confident people do! Would a confident person keep wearing clothes they do not feel comfortable in? No. They find colors and styles that work for them using the art of color analysis. Would a confident person let smeared eyeliner hinder them from enjoying their night? No, they would quickly rub it away and continue dancing. If your friends continue to make negative comments about your appearance despite your requests, pretend you don’t care about it until it is not an act anymore. Fake it ’till you make it!
You have to communicate your feelings, but you can’t expect communication to erase your insecurity. Telling my friend I feel bad there are no pictures of me on their Instagram didn’t make me feel better about my appearance or our friendship. I had to remind myself a confident person would not let this social media absence hinder their self-perception.
When your friends make you feel insecure, only you are responsible for building a positive self-image. You – we – have to put in the inner work to boost our self-esteem.
This article appeared in the March 23, 2023 issue of the Hatchet.