Sage Advice: Petty Cattiness Among Friends

December 26th, 2018

Learning to live by the Golden Rule


Dear Amy: I’m struggling with comments from my women friends regarding my appearance.

Weekly, at church, I have encountered comments like: “Oh, your hair is wet!” (The implication is: You come here every week – get it together!)

Here’s another: “WHAT is wrong with your chin? (Two inflamed spots.)

Or this comment after a full-body appraisal: “So WHAT are you wearing today? Hmm, the way you dress – you’re such a hippy girl!”

Amy, I am freaking 62 years old and have been going to this church for 20 years. Yet, I never really got the memo of dressing for other women.

I know of many sarcastic ways to respond, but I would rather say something more benign like, “Well, I just wanted to come to church today.”

I wish to find solidarity in my women friends, but instead we pick on each other in petty ways.

Confession: I used to do this, too, but now I only make complimentary comments.

– Sad in Sacramento

Dear Sad: You confess that you used to talk in this openly judgmental way to other women, but now you only deliver compliments.

This is your penance. It is called: “What comes around, goes around.” Or, more Biblically: We reap what we sow.” I like your statement, “Well, I just wanted to come to church today.”

It’s time for all of you to become more intimately connected with the Golden Rule.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2018 by Amy Dickinson

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