I am a 26-years-old female and I have a question regarding one of my male friends. We’ve been friends for about four years now, but we’ve become closer friends in the past year or so. For the past couple of months, he’s been overly critical about my physical appearance (at least twice/week). At first I ignored it because I tend to not take things too personally. However, as the comments became more frequent/direct I began to take notice. From his comments telling me to join Weight Watchers (I wear a size 2) to advising me to look into electrolysis for my arms, I can’t help but wonder what’s going on.
I came to him as a friend and said, “You’ve been commenting a lot about my physical appearance. I’m not sure if I unintentionally hurt your feelings or have been rude to you, but I just wanted to figure out where this is coming from.” He had nothing to say and reassured me everything between us was fine. I thought to myself, “Great!” However, the comments haven’t stopped.
We’re medical students so, naturally, we have details about medical conditions stored in our brains. Currently, he’s been using this knowledge to diagnose me with conditions that are purely physical. Last night after he diagnosed me with yet another insulting/disfiguring condition, I wasn’t in the mood to take his verbal abuse so I stopped talking and kept to myself. Apparently, he noticed my disposition and commented, “Are you on your period or something?”
Initially, I thought his comments were made out of jest, but when I started to inquire about his observations, he would seriously lecture me on why this and that about me was “abnormal” or “unattractive.” I just don’t get it. He’s 30 years old and he’s picking on me like some schoolyard bully. We’re supposed to be friends. I bring it to his attention every week (after about 2-3 comments), but he doesn’t stop. If this isn’t him being passive-aggressive, where is this behavior coming from and what should I do? — Tired of Being Picked On
The guy probably has low self-esteem or likes you-likes you and thinks the feeling isn’t mutual. You say these insults started two months ago. What happened in the last two months? Have you been dating someone new? Talking to him more about your interest in someone? Did he, perhaps, try to pursue more than a platonic friendship with you? Was he dumped or otherwise rejected by another woman (and is thus projecting those feelings of rejection onto you)? Regardless the reason, putting you down is his way of making himself feel better. He isn’t your friend and you should probably stop hanging out with him. I can’t imagine why you’d want to continue spending time with someone who makes constant put-downs about your appearance and “diagnoses” your “abnormalities” on a weekly basis, especially considering that you’ve brought this issue to his attention multiple times and he’s done nothing to stop acting like an asshole. MOA. I’d hope you wouldn’t stay with a boyfriend who harassed you in this way, so why stick with a “friend” who has so little regard for your feelings?
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