My girlfriend criticized my husband about his outfit; called them “nerd” clothes. At the time I didn’t react, but now I feel offended. Should I mention anything to her?
Asked by Lynn – Pittsburgh, PA
As with most issues in life, there are two factors to look at here; internal and external.
Let’s start with the external portion of this issue: It can be tricky when dealing with a friendship we care about. Sometimes we say things we don’t really mean and hurt someone we care about, unknowingly. If you said something that hurt a friend of yours, would you want that friend to let you know? Your answer to that question might help you to know what the right response is for you.
The internal portion can be a bit more confronting. There is a school of thought that says that our world mirrors us on some level. When we are upset by something in our environment, or something that someone says, it might be triggering a doubt or fear that is inside us already. Good questions to ask yourself might be; what does it say about you that someone doesn’t like your husband’s clothes? What is the feeling (sadness, anger, fear) that shows up as “offense?”
Finally, if you do talk to your friend, see if you can share your feelings with her without blaming her. A good way to do this is to say “I felt X when you mentioned that my husband’s clothes…”
You should be acknowledged for having such a commitment to this friendship. Jamee- 40 something
If you weren’t in Pittsburgh, I would think I was that friend. Tell her you were offended, sooner rather than later so you don’t stew on it. Friends don’t want to hurt other friend’s feelings, and most likely she has no idea that it was upsetting. Amy B. – 40 something
We all at some time or another have made inappropriate remarks. Some which we realize later were insensitive and others which we are never aware of. I had a friend when my kids were young who would say strange things that were incredibly hurtful. And I know that she had no idea. Your friend may be just making a statement. There are stereotypical “nerd” clothes. But is that a bad thing? Some women like to talk about their husbands and make fun of them and have no idea that others don’t do this.
If I were you, I would let it go this time. But if she bring up the comment again-you could say-“I don’t like it that you are making a judgment about how my husband dresses.” Give her a clear “I” statement which tells her you feel when she says a certain thing.
If she is an adult-she will be able to take the criticism with ease and the two of you can remain friends. Ann – 50 something
If she is a friend then sit her ass down and be honest with her. Tell her the comments about her husband’s clothes upset you and it was a bit thoughtless. Please don’t do it again. When she apologizes, graciously accept her apology. Stuff happens and mistakes are made, if you reach out to her and explain your discomfort I bet she won’t do it again. Sometimes words slip out among friends and no real harm was intended. Helene – 60 something
Well, is he a nerd? If so, then he is appropriately dressed! If not, maybe he could stand a trip to a local men’s store. What are nerd clothes, anyway? Black socks with shorts? Unfortunately, there are people who think their image is somehow degraded if their circle of friends doesn’t dress to impress, but for the sake of your friendship I would take the high road here, not say anything and consider it constructive criticism. She may not have meant to be unkind, but just commenting on fact. On the other hand, if her intentions were otherwise, then I would examine why she feels it is any of her business what your husband wears, and why she would mention it to you. Be careful she is not judging the both of you on other issues as well, and measure the relationship accordingly. You might want to take a SWAT expedition through hubby’s closet and make sure he has nice clothes right in front of his eyes—emphasize front—as a lot of men, nerds or not, are rather fashion blind and don’t pay much attention to what they wear as long as their underwear and favorite T shirt are clean and available! Marge – 70 something