“My Guy Friend Constantly Puts Me Down”

I am a 26-years-old woman and I have a question regarding one of my guy friends. We’ve been friends for about four years now, but we’ve become closer in the past year or so. For the past couple of months, he’s been overly critical about my physical appearance (at least twice a 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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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. I agree. You’ve addressed this issue very clearly and plainly and gotten no change or explanation out of him. Med school is hard enough without this ‘friend’ and his destructive comments taking up too much of your brian space. Though hopefully by med school poking a girl because you like her has gone out of fashion and its more about whatever is or is not going on in his life. Also the period comment makes me wanna punch him a little, since he’s in med school and therefore has absolutely no excuse whatsoever to be ignorant or dismissive other than the fact that he’s committed to holding on to some broesque qualities through residency.

    1. Physician here. I agree 100%. This guy is verbally Abusive and dismissive of women. He frankly doesn’t belong in med school. His female patients won’t be heard and will end up on the internet complaining about how they weren’t diagnosed. Abuse occurs in all social strata. If future wife will likely end up physically abused.
      He needs a real talking to about how to treat women and whether he is appropriate for his chosen profession.

  2. Iwannatalktosampson says:

    You need to address this by not being friends with him. He sounds like a shitty person and even more importantly to you – a shitty friend. I’m sure you’re around enough other people daily that you can find you friends. I recommend you do that.

    Also I’m in a shitty mood that I can’t shake. I want to punch babies and chase a bottle of scotch with some Xanax. How do you all get out of shitty moods? Keep in mind I have no reason that I can pin point as to why I feel this way. It was just like a wave of anger came over me.

    1. ReginaRey says:

      Quit your job! It’s made my past 24 hours delightful.

      1. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        But I love my job! And I’m at work right now! And am still dagger throwing grumpy right now. What is the deal? It feels like such chemical anger.

      2. ReginaRey says:

        “Are you on your period or something?” (by the way, seriously? How old are you, dickwad? Is that the best you can rationalize?)

        Cheese dip and margaritas. Do it. That’s my solution.

      3. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        Ha funnily enough I think I am pms-y. But don’t tell any guys that. But it has never made me angry before – sad definitely – but never angry. I have at least another 4 hours until I can have queso and margaritas but it is definitely on the agenda for tonight!!

      4. quixoticbeatnik says:

        I. hate. it. when guys say “Are you on your period?” It drives me fucking nuts! Yes, I may be on my period, but I have enough class to act like a lady in public even when I am PMS-ing and leave the bitchiness for at home.

      5. Oooooh – Chemical Anger; what a great band name!!!

    2. You,me, Addie, we’re all in Shitty moods. I wonder why?! I am just downin massive quantities of sugar until I can move on to drinks.

      1. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        I don’t know! I am feisty as f*** right now. I think I’m going to go walk around for a while. Take some deep breaths.

      2. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        I feel like if the three of us got together to drink right now we would be an unstoppable force. What is in the air today?

      3. ReginaRey says:

        I think you meant to say *the four of us.* I’ll let it slide.

      4. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        Clearly. I would need to hire an assistant if I wanted to walk around all day not making typos and not put my foot in my mouth. I meant the 4 grouchy-drunk wannabees. I wish I was drunk. I’m a happy drunk.

      5. Sugar High yourself maybe? its kept me barely functioning. I even slightly smiled at my favorite co-worker just now.

      6. Maybe the end of the days the Mayans were referring to is in fact the day RR, Addie, IWTTS and Lili are in the same room. And drinking. I feel like that would be just too much awesome and wonderful for the world to handle and that anything after that would be all downhill

        Oh and WENDY TOO!
        How could I forget Dear Wendy!!!!

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        Anyone else freaked out that Dick Clark died the year the Mayans said the world would end?

      8. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        I’m mostly freaked out that if the world ends this year I will have essentially spent my entire life in school broke. It’s just not convenient timing for me for the world to end.

      9. Supposedly whatever mayans (or descendants of)are left have said that it´s not ending. Let´s hope that´s true.

      10. My calendar ends every December.

      11. lets_be_honest says:

        the fuller side of that glass is you don’t have to repay your school loans.

        My suggestion- go get yourself some credit cards and max the shit out of them.

      12. Also, Snooki’s due date is around that time Dec. 21, 2012. If she isn’t the one to give birth to the anti christ I don’t know who else could.

      13. lets_be_honest says:

        I wish I didn’t like you so I could diss you for knowing Snooki’s due date.
        You can diss me for using the word diss though 🙂

        ok, fine, I know far too much about celebs of all types thanks to stupid tmz addiction.

      14. Umm don’t worry about it. *warning nerdiness ahead, reader discretion advised*

        The mayan end of the world on december 21 will not happen because the december 21 we all know is not the same date as the mayan dec 21. That’s because the mayan calendar did not account for leap year. The mayan calendar only had 365 days in it. Julius Ceasar created leap year in 45 BC and so we have had roughly 514 leap years ever since. Without counting leap years it would actually be august 2013 right now. So please rest easy knowing that on dec 21, 2012 the only worry you will have is that you’ll only have 3 shopping days left before christmas

      15. lets_be_honest says:

        Fine, but if the world does end, I’m gonna be really pissed I didn’t live it up this year thanks to you.

      16. SiSisodaPop says:

        Very interesting…… I feel so much better now. 🙂

      17. bittergaymark says:

        No, but the 6 major earthquakes — SIX!!! — weeks did worry me. All of them over 6.0… Now that’s crazy.

        Dick Clark’s Death? Eh, I’d be more broken up if my three months at his production company in the late 1990s hadn’t been so utterly soul sucking and a tedious exercise in patience. Talk about a tightwad. We are talking CHEAP!!

      18. bittergaymark says:

        can’t type. Six quakes in the past week…

      19. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea that is really scary. My brother has a npo that travels to earthquake affected cities and they’ve been quite busy lately.
        For some reason, I’m not surprised he was cheap.

      20. And Cats. 😉

      21. Your cycles must have synced up. A hazard of spending too much time on DW.

      22. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        I just lol’ed at work.

        For anyone looking for an update – the bitchiness seems to have subsided for now.

    3. This might not work for some but because i’ve been writing my thesis for the last year (at the airport to Bangkok to defend it right now!) i’ve gotten into productive procrastination and productive angry times (yeah i made the last one up) Anyway I was really mad last week so I tore apart my whole closet and threw away or donated all of the clothes I never wear and then rearranged it. I felt immensely better afterwards knowing my ‘space’ was full of things I really wanted and not wasted. Then I took a long bath and everything was much better.

      1. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        Oh I can organize the shit out of my life when I’m in a fight with someone. That is so strange. Why is this?

    4. I just had this too – I think it was an “oh shit, I just finished my undergrad, the hell do I do now?” sort of thing. My solution was to cry on and off for three days, and then scour the apartment clean, go for sushi with my mother, and play the hell out of some Skyrim. It seems to have worked. (Skip the crying part if at all possible, though. That part sucked balls.)

    5. Maybe Mercury is in retrograde or SOMETHING because I’ve been feeling the same way. But have you started taking any new medications lately or otherwise made changes in eating habits?

      Punching things or running is a great idea. I play rollerderby and we like to say “skate it out”.

      1. The Sun shifts from fiery, do-everything-now Aries to grounded Taurus today.

        That was in my FB news feed, so I feel like a lot of people are feeling it today. Maybe the last push of Aries is the intense one?

    6. Chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

      Mmmmmmm, chocolate.

    7. *hug*

      Take a few deep breaths (in and out) and try to work through it.

      Sometimes, hormones or chemical imbalances just make us angry for no reason. There is nothing wrong with it, but we do need to use it to our advantage. If you can – go on a MAD cleaning spree. It’s what I do to work off my anger.
      Do not drink in anger. Go for a run instead. Or hit the gym and start hitting the punching bag.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        I get my best cleaning done when I’m mad!

      2. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        I would much rather a margarita than a run right now. I should use it for something productive. I might try that. I’m listening to ben harper right now in my office but even ben is annoying me right now. Who knew that was possible??

      3. Oh how I wish any feeling would make me go on a cleaning spree. I’m a total pig. I only clean my house when I have people coming over, and since I’ve been isolated in the middle of the country for a couple of weeks now and gotten no visits it’s starting to get out of hand. But today is the day! I refuse to live like this! I’ll get beer (my official cleaning beverage), wash one dish and get distracted with something. And then try again tomorrow.

      4. You totally sound like me. My only motivation to clean is other people. And since the breakup, I’ve had NO motivation to clean. I know it’s gross, but seriously? I have a greater aversion to cleaning than I do to living in filth.

      5. lol @ “I have a greater aversion to cleaning than I do to living in filth.” That’s me too! Or was… because you know what? I JUST DID IT! I cleaned EVERYTHING. The whole place is sparkling like an emo vampire. And everything in less than a beer (we have 1 liter beer bottles around here, I’m not that fast. Do you have those? Or just the little ones?). I feel like a motherfucking princess.

      6. Awesome! I’ve been working on it this week, but it’s baby steps for me. And no, while we do have beers bigger than the usual 12 oz, I don’t believe we have liters, but I think 40s are about the same as 1 liter.

      7. Haha, you reminded me… my house is usually in a state of “organized chaos” shall we say. Unless I know people are coming over, so I run around like mad tidying up all the toys, etc.
        Yesterday, my daughter was bugging me to have a friend over, I said “no, I have to clean”, and she said “but if you´re supposed to clean when someone comes over!”

      8. Bonita! She’s got you all figured out already XD

    8. B-complex vitamins usually help me when I get like that (and for PMS too)

    9. MissChievous says:

      Is everyone having a shitty day too? I know I am. And nothing colossally bad happened either.

  3. Temperance says:

    I would diagnose him with micropenis. That would probably shut him up really quick. What a fucking douchebag.

    1. ReginaRey says:

      Ooooh that’s actually a really good theory as to why he’s such a dick…he’s paranoid about HIS (tiny, itsy bitsy) dick. Good one.

    2. Seriously, maybe she SHOULD say something like that. Stooping to his level-blah-blah, I know, but he asked her if she was “on her period” (who even does that anymore?) so I think dick insults are called for.

    3. Hahaha, one of my friends (he’s more like an acquaintance actually) kept picking on me until I yelled at him “WELL, YOU’RE FAT AND BALDING”. Which he is. He hasn’t said absolutely anything since.

    4. iseeshiny says:

      HA! Be forewarned, though, I tried saying stuff like that a couple times (in jest, back in high school – not the same situation at all) and in one instance the dude just looked smug. Another guy, though, got this really stricken look on his face. I think I was just as embarrassed. I cast aspersions on men’s members only with great care now. I’m way more likely to diagnose someone with swamp ass.

      1. Temperance says:

        I would love to make this terrible man cry. LoL

  4. ReginaRey says:

    In addition to being a shitty “friend” (or, like Wendy said, not a friend *at all*), I can’t help but think this dude isn’t going to make a very good doctor. His behavior is immature, callous, incredibly rude and off-putting, and I can’t imagine that translates well when it comes to “beside manner.” That, and (thought it wouldn’t matter, either way) you’re incredibly small, size-wise! Is he LOOKING for diseases to diagnose you with? Is he paranoid? Does he enjoy finding illnesses where illnesses don’t exist? In addition to a rude, immature, nasty doctor, I REALLY wouldn’t want a doctor who tried to FIND diseases to diagnose me with.

    You need to MOA from this “friendship.” I think a good rule of thumb to live by is that if someone doesn’t contribute to your life in an overwhelmingly positive way, nix ’em. This guy’s positive traits (which you don’t even mention) definitely aren’t outweighing all of the negative he’s bringing into your life. So get rid of him!

    1. Iwannatalktosampson says:

      I found it funny that this guy keeps diagnosing her with different diseases – all the doctors I know this everything is in your head and can be fixed with some good anti depressants. I’m bitter about doctors at the moment in case you couldn’t tell.

      1. ReginaRey says:

        That’s why I swear by my chiropractor. He HATES how medicine is just thrown at people to solve problems that could be much better managed through changes in lifestyle. Like Paula Deen and diabetes medication? Seriously, Paula, just back away from the lard.

      2. I love my chiropractor, too. And once I saw my regular Dr basically tell off the Pharma reps that came into his office, saying that he didn’t want their samples and bag of goodies. I liked that a lot.

      3. AllegroFox says:

        I’ve always loved my family doctor, but I love her even more recently – my mom was having heart palpitations and chest pains and all the tests you can think of were coming up blank, and my doctor went “Welp, I can’t figure out what’s wrong with you, so I’m sending you to my Chinese miracle man.” And she did, and he gave my mom a bag of weird herbs to brew into tea, and her heart palpitations and pains went away. And I wanted to hug the doc and say THANK YOU THANK YOU for not just telling her it was all in her head. 🙂

  5. lets_be_honest says:

    This is pretty weird, but it seems like you have done what you can to bring it to his attention and have it stop, but it won’t.
    I am curious if any of the circumstances Wendy mentioned did happen, like if you have a new boyfriend.
    It sucks though, since you guys have been friends for a while, but who needs to be insulted weekly. Good luck.

    1. Even if she has a new boyfriend that’s no reason to put someone else down. This guy has no excuse for being a dickhead. If he has low self esteem or likes her or some combination then he’s going about it the wrong way. LW you need to ignore this dude from now on.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh, I wasn’t saying an excuse would make it ok. Its just strange someone would start this out of nowhere.

  6. Um, you should stop spending time with him.

  7. GertietheDino says:

    True friends do not insult you at every turn, stop talking to him. He is a jerk and definitely not your friend.

  8. LW, this guy is not your friend. He’s an ass. You’ve already spoken to him about his behavior, but he won’t stop putting you down. I would stop talking to him and fade out of this “friendship” immediately.

  9. This guy sounds like an asshole so why are you still hanging out with him? You should ignore him for a while and when he asks why you’re blowing him off tell him it’s because he came down with a case of severe asshole syndrome.

    1. Agreed. I really don’t know why you even hang out with him. Insult him back when he insults you and otherwise ignore him completely. He’ll go away eventually.

  10. this seems like a common condition…i’ve known several people (mostly guys) that feel its no big deal to comment on a persons appearance…i’ve had a guy tell me to take vitamins because i look tired all the time and other guys telling me i have a big butt! ugh! meanwhile these guys themselves are no Brad Pitts! The guy who told me to take vitamins weighs at least 350 lbs! i think its rude personally…not sure what it would even accomplish…like does the guy think he is doing you a favour by pointing out you have hair on your arm? who over the age of 10 doesn’t have hair on their arms? i would end the friendship personally…especially since you asked him to stop and he hasn’t

  11. Next time he pulls this (if you can still be bothered to see him, that is) just be straight, and ask him what the hell is wrong with him. Your anger is completely dignified: You’ve tried being understanding and accomodating for WEEKS, and it hasn’t worked. You can tell him that.
    And remember: NO, you are NOT being sensitive. He’s being an ass. Really. It’s ok to get mad.

    To finish on a brighter note: Loving the frequency of posting today!

    1. ReginaRey says:

      “To finish on a brighter note: Loving the frequency of posting today!”

      I think Wendy’s coming back in full force, and I’m having some anxiety about it. What if I can’t keep up?? I’ve gotten so used to my leisurely “two posts a day” commenting. This is stressful.

      1. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        Seriously! I couldn’t check at all yesterday and genuinly had hurt feelings about everyone bonding without me!

      2. I wish I could have missed out on yesterday’s letter. Well not really because I learned a lot but still, I may have curled up into the fetal position when I got home from work and cried for humanity for a bit.

      3. I was thinking the same thing when I saw more than the 2 posts.

      4. Haha, I’ve been on DW way more than I’ve worked today. That’s kind of a problem.

      5. ReginaRey says:

        That’s been me, every day without fail, for a solid year or more. And we’re not alone, trust.

      6. Yeah …. guilty as charged….

      7. No, no, I’m not planning to increase the posts much more. It’s all I can do to post twice a day, read emails, and do behind-scenes marketing, while keeping up with Jackson. Any extra energy I focus here will be to increasing traffic so that I can increase revenue and afford to keep the site going. Hosting costs eat up a big chunk of the monthly ad revenue. Babysitting costs eat up most of the rest. I have to start making more of a profit or I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep the site going. So, that’s where my energy goes after my two posts a day. No worry about keeping up with more content for now!

      8. ReginaRey says:

        On the one hand, I’m relieved. On the other, I want us all to band together and help you, in some way, start making big bucks from this site! I find it grossly unfair and unjust that a site this awesome isn’t riding a tidal wave of financial success.

      9. lets_be_honest says:

        Even if you don’t buy anything? Cuz I could click it like 100 times a minute.

      10. sarolabelle says:

        No that would seriously flag her site as someone who was using a clicking robot and then it would be suspended and not make her money at all. If everyone on this site (let’s say 200 people or so) clicked one ad a day that could make her 10 cents per click so $20 a day for her.

      11. Wow. I just told my ad blocker not to block ads on DW so I can start clicking on them occasionally. It looks so different!

      12. Thanks to all you supporters, this website actually does pretty well, relatively speaking. I make quite a bit more than what you’re quoting (I’m not at liberty to give exact numbers), so I don’t want anyone to think I’m, like, desolate or anything. I’m actually pretty proud of the success of the site, considering how difficult it is for people to make money from their blogs/websites. But hosting fees for a site this large (avg. 20,000 hits a day) are expensive, babysitters are expensive, and, well, just living is expensive. When you think in terms of me making a substantial financial contribution to my family, then my financial goals are still a long way from being reached. That isn’t anyone’s burden but my own. I just have to work harder at getting there. I love running this website and it’s my dream for this to be a viable, longterm, financially fruitful career. As long as the trajectory keeps moving in the direction and at the pace I want it to, then it’s all good. As always, I appreciate everyone’s support!!

      13. sarolabelle says:

        Well I shared your site on my FB page today. Hopefully it will get someone else to come read!

  12. I had a “friend” like this once. He would mix insulting things with very sexual comments. He would say things like I have bad fashion sense, my hair doesn’t look good today and then say you have big boobs, throw quarters down my shirt etc. He would ask me out on dates though and then get upset when I rejected him. I ignore him now and laugh because he’s an obnoxious slime who will always be this way.

    Seriously just ignore the guy from now on – don’t answer any texts, don’t hang out – he is not your friend. You owe him nothing. He has low self esteem that he is taking out on someone else. You can start pointing out some of his flaws when he points out yours and ignore him otherwise.

    1. by ignoring him i meant don’t hang out with him anymore, not ignore the comments – but just ignore HIM. and if he asks you why you’re ignoring him tell him his comments really annoy you and you just don’t want to be around him anymore since he can’t stop

    2. Temperance says:

      Sounds like he was trying out pick-up artist techniques and failing miserably.

    3. He got mad at you because he busted your balls like the “master” said and it was supposed to make you needy and crave his approval and it didn’t work. Damn you Muffy and your self respect, you’re not supposed to have that!

      1. haha yeah I knew that’s what he was doing – he still does it from time to time, mixing mean comments with overtly sexual comments and trying to hold my hand/massage my back. But he’s scaled back. Sometimes he throws things in there about him and his girlfriend’s sex life (yes I know – he managed to find someone). I really don’t know if he acts the same way around her as me or if he acts like a decent human being around her. Maybe they use the “mystery method” on girls they think they can’t have and are nice to the ones they think they can

      2. Oh man. I think we have the same friend, except mine doesn’t have a girlfriend.

    4. I had a friend like this in college, too. “A” was very egotistical and a frequent liar. He told people that I became friends with him and our mutual friends because I in love with him (I very much was not. I thought he was fun to hang out with). He’d hit on me, say sexual things to make me blush (which I did unfortunately), be nice to me, then put me down harshly for no reason. Definitely believed in buttering up girls then smacking them down to make himself desirable. When I started seriously dating a mutual friend (my husband now), it got even worse because “A” was also now jealous that we weren’t hanging out as much. We stopped being friends a year after college after he drunkenly called me at 3am (on a freaking Wednesday, no less, when I had to work at 7am) with a buddy of ours to ask me in detail if I did certain…explicit things in the bedroom with my boyfriend and that I should just tell them because my boyfriend had told them all the details already anyways (he didn’t and was furious about all of this). So after trying to deliberately cause problems between me and my boyfriend by lying and making disgusting comments on the phone, “A” refused to apologize to me, though he apologized to my boyfriend. We aren’t friends anymore and thankfully I don’t see him because he moved two states away. We invited him to our wedding but only because we knew he wouldn’t/couldn’t come. I consider myself much better off without him around trying to cause problems. He’s the only “friend” I have ever had who deliberately tried to cause drama in my life and I’m glad I don’t have to deal with his massive ego, pathological lying asshattery anymore.

      Take a lesson from my situation, LW. If your “friend” is anything like my “friend” he’s getting his jollies from putting you down and it’s not going to stop until you drop him. It doesn’t sound like he’s ever apologized for insulting you to your face and I bet he never will. Save your mental energy for school and your real friends.

  13. Now…I know the behavior shouldn’t be happening in the first place, but in that letter I did not see anywhere that you did anything to ask him to stop or let him know it was really bothering you. You made it about him when you brought it up instead of saying how his comments were affecting you. And you participated in passive-aggressive behavior yourself by ignoring him when you had a prime opportunity to speak up again.

    If you truly value the friendship with this guy and this is recent activity for him (if this has been going on the whole time I would abandon him pronto) then spell it out for him that it does bother you and if the behavior doesn’t change MOA from the friendship.

  14. kerrycontrary says:

    Ok ladies, if a guy says “are you on your period or something” just because you are upset or moody, you have my permission to never ever talk to him again. PS what exactly is the LW’s relationship with this guy? Like hooking up? Just friends? She said they’ve been “more than friends” recently…

  15. Are you doing better than him at school? That could be another explanation. Maybe he thinks that if he criticizes you enough he can destabilize you and you won’t be competition anymore.

    I used to have a friend like this. Luckily he’s not in my life anymore. I kept him around at first because I thought he would stop if I didn’t pay attention to it, but he kept getting nastier and nastier, and I think this dude will too. Probably, as Wendy said, because he likes you. Because he knows you’re out of his league, and he thinks that maybe if he pretends it’s the other way around you’ll be fooled by it and try to win his love to prove to yourself that you’re not some big fat hairy monster who will probably be crippled in two years and should take any man he can now. A bit like negging, only in a less subtle and even more moronic way. Or maybe he knows he can’t affect you in any positive way, he can’t make you happy or inspired or anything, and affecting you in a negative way is his last resource to make you feel anything at all.

    It’s great that you’re confident enough to see it as his problem and not let it bother you instead of believing what he says. I don’t think it will be hard for you to make better friends. Tell this guy to fuck off.

    1. “Are you doing better than him at school?” Yeah, that was my thought as well. Maybe he’s feeling inadequate & wants to cut her down by making superficial, asshole-ish remarks.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Interesting. A few of my siblings went to med school and they say its quite common that your peers will try to break you down. Puts them on top of the curve.

      2. kerrycontrary says:

        People do this with law school as well just to f with you

  16. I think he might be enough of an idiot that you have to say straight out, “If you don’t stop commenting on my physical appearance, then I’m done being friends with you.” Then follow through. Next time he does it, get up and walk out. Some people are such social morons that polite and friendly remarks don’t cut through their brain fog.

    That assumes you want to be friends with this guy. I wouldn’t in your shoes, but maybe he has many redeeming qualities that you didn’t mention.

  17. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

    This guy sounds like a douche. And don’t construe what I’m about to say as a defense of him, because it’s not by a long shot; there’s no excuse for constantly saying what he’s saying, especially not after you’ve made it abundantly clear to him that it’s hurting you.

    As for WHY he’s saying it, food for thought: when I was in law school, I used to listen to friends both in and of law school talk about the stuff going on in their lives, and I’d find myself interjecting with legal analysis. If someone bitched about getting a moving violation while driving, I’d ask him why he didn’t file a motion to waive it into state court, where he could fine suppression motions challenging the stop under a strict interpretation of “reasonable suspicion” or “furtive movements” or whatever case law I’d learned that week. And it would annoy the bejeezus out of them. But I couldn’t help myself! I was going to be a lawyer! And challenge stuff! And use my knowledge for good rather than evil! And those damn cops had it coming!

    Clearly, my mindset’s changed a lot since graduating, when I realized I was being a total asshole. But my point is that sometimes you’re surrounded by all this stuff you learn in this seriously intensive school where you’re constantly competing against everyone else, and after a while some people just see it Everywhere. They. Go, So, again, not justifying his actions, but that may be why he’s doing it.

    1. painted_lady says:

      I’m glad I beaver knew you in law school 😉 Seriously, though, I got all up to my ears in psychology toward the end of undergrad – way less intense, even – and after a few months my mom would lose it whenever I tried to break down the neuroses of her and my dad and start screaming, “Quit analyzing me!”

      Granted, she said the same thing in couples’ counseling three years later…

  18. I don’t know that it’s time to give up on him just yet. It’s not like they just met, and he’s been an idiot the whole time she’s known him. This is a 4-year friendship. Something is obviously going on with him, and he’s lashing out. 
    That said, he is being an unbelievable asshat, and his behavior is far from ok.  You say you bring it to his attention, but do you tell him it bothers you and to stop? Tell him that you’re not going to talk to, or hang out with him, until he decides to stop acting like said asshat. 
    If he could come to you and say, “I’m truly sorry I’ve been such a jerk, x,y and z has been going on in my life, and I didn’t handle things well,” would you be able to move forward with no hard feelings? If not, move on. 
    If he doesn’t even attempt to do that, move on. 
    Right now, this is a toxic friendship, and life’s too short to surround yourself with people that tear you down. If it hasn’t always been that way, maybe there’s something legitimate going on, and he just doesn’t know how to process/handle his emotions. Again, that does not in any way make his behavior acceptable, but it might make it a little more understandable. 
    In the end, I think she really has to evaluate how much the friendship truly means to her, and whether it’s worth trying to fix, or if the damage has already been done. 

  19. “I don’t appreciate the way you’re talking to me, the way you’re talking about me, and your recent behavior toward me. It’s disrespectful, it hurts my feelings, and it’s rude. I’ve asked you to stop before, and you have not heard me. Now I am telling you: It stops now. If you cannot speak to and treat me with more respect, then our friendship is over.”

    Say this to him calmly, firmly, and only once. If he continues, say nothing else to him and walk away. No friend does this to another friend.

    Worse case scenario: If his behavior escalates in any way – especially after you tell him to treat you with respect or the friendship is over, or you actually end your friendship – you should report him to your school’s authorities (dean of students, or whomever applies) and begin keeping a log of any incidents and/or any communications he sends to you. There’s a slim chance that this guy could slide into stalking/abusive behavior towards you. It’s a very slim chance, and I sincerely hope he doesn’t go there, but there still is a chance.

    1. I like this. Very well said. Whole-heartedly agree this is what she should do.

    2. Solid advice for the LW.

  20. ele4phant says:

    He’s a dick. Maybe he has a thing for you, but if a 30 future-medical doctor is expressing his crush like a middleschooler, he’s not worth being involved with.

    Tell him to knock it off, and that you pity any future patient who has to deal with his bedside manner. If he doesn’t, ditch this friendship.

  21. If he likes you, like Wendy said, then maybe he’s expressing it this way because of that stupid instructional guide (“The Game” or something & its spin-offs)? Basically, it tells dudes how to pick up women by “negging” them, which is insulting them so they’ll feel more desperate for any attention at all. Except your friend is doing it wrong (not that there’s a right way to do it…ew)

    Anyway, I’d scale wayyy back on this friendship if I were you. You say you’ve become closer in the past year, so maybe he’s showing you his true dickishness.

  22. Sue Jones says:

    I hope he finds a specialty where he does not have to talk to patients ( like city coroner or surgeon) because his bedside manner sucks! Just sayin’

    1. Yeah, can you imagine? “Ew, this is the most unattractive case of psoriasis I’ve ever seen. So unnatural-looking!” Ugh. There’s enough doctors with shitty bedside manner out there.

  23. Diagnose him as an emotionally vacant, narcissistic bully with a “little man’s” complex who projects his own inadequacies onto women like a classic emotional abuser and you are done putting up with it.

    Then, follow through and stop associating with the knob-biter.

    He’s not a friend. He’s an asshole. And not in the Denis Leary song (awesome) way. But in the arrogant fuckstick way. Throw the fuckstick away and get a better friend.

    1. Plus one for the Asshole Song reference.

  24. sarolabelle says:

    LW, if you don’t want to stop being friends with him then I would try to say this:

    “Can you please leave me alone and stop making these comments?”

    And if he doesn’t and he starts with a lecture then stand up and walk away or hang up on him if you are talking or stop texting him.

  25. What a jerk face. That’s seriously rude, and I would limit the time I spend with this guy if I were you.

  26. He probably has a crush on you and is trying to cover up his feelings and/or convince himself he doesn’t like you because of your “flaws”. (Especially since this is super recent behaviour!)

    That said, MAJOR DBAG ALERT, DUMP HIM! He’s a terrible friend! GOOD friends (even good friends with crushes on you) don’t make their problems your problem or try to demean you. Ew.

  27. a_different_Wendy says:

    Sounds like he’s engaging in the douchetastic practice of ‘negging’
    I’d go with her response. Nothing like an existential crisis to really shut someone down.

  28. He could be following the advice of those pickup artist types like mysteria that advocate ball busting women to exploit an assumed insecurity and make them seek the guy’s approval which he then manipulates her with into bed.

    1. Gawd, why are people so mean to each other! Why can’t they just find a boyfriend/girlfriend the nice way without resorting to making someone feel like crap so they will have sex with you

      1. IDK some guys are just selfish and only care about laid. The real shame is that it works often enough for them to keep doing it. I actually watched a guy try it once at a bar. Thankfully the woman had some self respect and told the douch off. He left the bar a few minutes later, haha.

      2. He Probably also reads books like ‘why men are better than women’ like my ex did. And he would quote enough of that shit to me that I did slowly start to buy into his misogyny. If I wasn’t already angry enough today and in need of massive amounts of margaritas i’d google an paste some of the ‘gems’

      3. I checked out some of the stuff online -Man that guy is angry at women! He seems to genuinely dislike and disrespect all women and feel as if they are some sort of opponent that he must defeat by being as mean as possible and then having sex with them. Then he wins!

      4. He aims to conquer and defile, not love. To him each pretty woman is a challenge that he wants to achieve and overcome. I pity the boy really. He may get laid far more than I ever will, but I doubt he’ll ever have as meaningful sex as me.

        PS. that stupid fluffy hat he’s so often found wearing looks so beyond ridiculous.

  29. Avatar photo Michelle.Lea says:

    tell him he’s an ass and find better friends. you’ve talked to him directly and he’s not getting it. doesnt mean he’s a horrible person, but maybe not the best friend for you.

  30. ????? This guy criticizes your appearance, is aware that it’s hurtful to you and has made the decision to continue doing it. I do understand that he may have other redeeming qualities like generosity, sense of humor, etc but I don’t understand what quality could be so great to make you want to remain friends with someone who has decided to make you feel bad.

    You asked your friend where this behavior was coming from and he didn’t provide an answer. I think your mistake was accepting that. Obviously, Wendy won’t be able to tell you where it’s coming from. The way I see it, you can either accept this new behavior and continue the friendship or you can tell your friend that the continuation of the friendship depends on him providing an explanation.

  31. No good comes from him. You have tried to address his asinine statements and he just doesn’t care. If you want to have the last conversation then go ahead but I think you have already said your piece – silence is in order. If he asks you why – tell him you have every faith in his diagnostic ability to figure it out.

  32. bittergaymark says:

    Well, gee, he sounds just great.

    Dress sexy!
    Lose that weight! (Size 2? Hell, no! Size 0!)
    Get that arm electrolysis!
    And marry this guy — STAT!

    He sounds just super duper…

  33. Please extricate yourself from this friendship, LW. In most cases, especially if you had written in and said your partner was acting this way, it would be deemed emotional abuse. And quite accurately, because it is. Friendship should ideally be a situation where two people can help build each other up, provide comfort for one another, to be supportive of each other’s lives. This is not that situation at all. There is nothing this man can be doing that would make this emotional abuse worth it. Please don’t allow him the access into your life to do this any further.

  34. quixoticbeatnik says:

    What I would do is, the next time you’re hanging out with him, when he starts to make these comments, say “Why do you care?” or “I don’t think so.” if you don’t agree with what he says. You could also take the opportunity to turn the tables on him, but don’t be super mean. Make your point, but don’t be savage, it might just give him more ammunition.

    Also, can you start hanging out with him more in groups instead of one-on-one? Maybe he’ll be less tempted to make these comments, and if he does make these comments in front of other friends, maybe they will jump to your defense and tell him off.

    Either way, you have GOT to stand up to him. Don’t fucking let him mess with you like this!

  35. You should long ago have said, “Enough. This is harassment and it stops, now or the appropriate authorities will deal with it.”

    He is not your friend, but you are his victim.

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