Originally published by A Crazy Redhead, June 2008
Okay, so there are times when we need to hear your opinion and other times we don’t. A few weeks ago, I was leaving a restaurant with a few girlfriends. My friend, Megan, was walking a few steps behind me. Let me stop here and tell you that Megan is one of those girls you want to hate but just can’t because she is really not hate-able at all. She is a sweetheart. But, you do want to hate her because she is really beautiful, thin, smart and has great style. Okay, I digress. So Megan says to me, “Those pants are really cute but I can see your panty lines. You need to start wearing thongs.” This was not said in a mean way at all. She was truly being helpful and she was right. I have had almost twenty years since I was told that VPL (visible panty lines) were an awful site. I was too afraid or disgusted by the idea of thongs back then. However, I realized now that I should have followed this advice when I heard the VPL truth from my gay male college friend (whom of course I did not know at the time was gay – but that is another blog entry in itself).
Back to present day, I appreciated the thong tip and decided Megan was right. However, later that day, I received a voicemail from Megan. The voicemail was an apology for the comment. Megan felt terrible that she criticized my choice of undergarments and was so worried she hurt my feelings. I truly was not upset or hurt; I sincerely appreciated (and needed) the advice. Sometimes it is very helpful and necessary to receive constructive criticism.
This situation got me thinking – well, since my mind never stops going, it did not “get me thinking” but just switched my mind gears into this situation. The question is “when do we want or need truthful advice?” How often have you seen a friend after an unfortunate visit to the hairdresser and wondered if you should tell the truth? Probably not. OR, Do you tell your friend who is so happy to finally fit into a way too tight size 6 pair of pants that she would really look better in the comfortable size 8 instead? Definitely, if a camel toe is involved. Or more seriously, would you tell your friend if you knew her spouse was cheating on her? (Unfortunately, I have been personally faced with that one and it was not a friend but a family member and a pretty horrible situation – again, saving that one for many many future blog entries)
In my opinion, the answer lies in the following simple statement. If the friend who will be hearing the truth can simply remedy the situation, then GO FOR IT! In other words, there is no reason to tell a friend that everyone thinks her husband is a jerk because all that is going to do is hurt her. However, if that same husband has a piece of seaweed in his teeth, you can feel free to tell him.
Lastly, remember to only give the advice when “the offender” can do something about it. Once, years ago, and only once, my husband made the following mistake: We were out on a Saturday night with friends. He looked at my jeans and told me that they were not the best look for me – okay he was not that diplomatic but you get the point. While I would have appreciated the advice prior to leaving the house, there was nothing I could do about it while waiting in line to buy movie tickets – except of course spend the rest of the night obsessing about how bad I looked in those jeans. I calmly (okay, I admit, not so calmly) explained to him that next time, I would prefer to hear “the truth” when I could have CHANGED MY STUPID JEANS BEFORE WE LEFT THE HOUSE! I think you get the point.
As for me, I threw away those jeans immediately when I got home that night. And of course, more recently I learned that after a few minutes, you forget you are wearing a thong!