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My pretty friend gets constant attention. How do I cope?

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Question - (2 December 2017) 9 Answers - (Newest, 5 December 2017)
A female United States age 26-29, *taliangurl28 writes:

This is long but I feel that details and some background info are important to get an understanding for some answers. This is not your typical, my friend is evidently prettier than me story.

I have a friend who is very pretty. She's not a supermodel, classic beauty, but she's got a full face with exotic shaped eyes with long lashes that are her most unique feature and gets complimented all the time on them. She knows how to doll herself up and literally looks like a doll face (but not in an overly plastic way). She's about 5'4" and has a great curvy body and blonde hair, and she dresses to accentuate her curves. She looks Latina mixed with Asian (her eye shape is almond, monolid).

My issue is that I am very self conscious around her and it's really taking a toll on my self esteem. I'm not sure how to handle this and not feel as bad. I know confidence is also attractive, but I think I'm pretty good at faking it most times so I don't believe I give off a vibe that I'm not confident. What I am confident in, is my personality and the way I treat others, and I know I have morals that make me different than most.

I feel like every time we go out together whether it be a restaurant, shopping, beach, or just walking down the street (with the exception of a few times), she draws all eyes to her (guys and a lot of girls), and the service we get at stores or restaurants, they more so talk to and focus on her as opposed to both of us. I feel this happens even when she's not wearing as much makeup or dressed down, but not as often, and I feel invisible next to her most of the time. But I will say, there are instances where I have gotten hit on and told I'm beautiful when I've been with her (this is when I'm dressed in more form fitting clothes and made up) so it's not like it never happens but I feel like I have to try.

She actually doesn't really get approached when I'm with her but that's probably because guys are intimidated by her, though she does tell stories of being hit on when she's on her own.

What bothers me is that I get told I'm beautiful by men and even women have come up to me out of no where and said it or they say it to my family and friends, and that I look like a model and when dressed nice, Miss USA or Miss Universe (I'm 5'7, slim, blonde hair). I've been told by guys they were intimidated to talk to me or don't ask for my number in person but then asks my friends for it. Even with no makeup at the pool, I get told I'm pretty and even one of my mom's friends who I had never met at the time but saw me, said she was nervous to introduce herself to me because I was so naturally pretty without trying. I get complimented on my eyes (though definitely not as unique as hers) and smile the most.

I'm certainly not conceited and honestly feel that a lot of girls around me in public settings are pretty and draw more attention than I do. I also notice if I'm with my lesser attractive friends, it's not like all eyes are on me the same way they are on her when I'm with her unless I'm just oblivious to it, but I was happy with my appearance until I became friends with this girl who I absolutely adore.

I've started not to dress up as much and straighten my hair because I feel like it doesn't make that big of a difference next to her, and I struggle with the fact that why do I have to doll myself up to get attention, and I'd rather be appreciated for being more natural in a world where girls contour and put on so much makeup and dress provocatively. But then next to her, I feel like I'm not as pretty and go through these situations and tell myself, I should just start putting in more of an effort so I have a chance of not feeling this way all the time. What I can't help is my body and that she definitely has over me. Curves are in and while I have some, I am very skinny due to a thyroid issue I'm trying to get under control. I have been told by men that I'd be more attractive if I gained weight.

Here's the kicker...a lot of people think we look a lot alike and ask if we're sisters (people don't think I'm Italian and that I have a more Latina, Colombian look). I actually agree we really look a lot alike(not body wise though and I also feel like she has a harsher, don't f*** with me look, and I have a bit of a more reserved, not in your face beauty). I was just out with her last night, and the bartender asked if we were twins. But this is where I'm baffled as then I think, if we look so much alike, why don't I get at least a little more attention. Even that bartender who said that (she's female), I noticed she kept looking at her throughout the night. But in terms of last night, she was dressed more sexy with her hair curled, and red lips (which I feel I have to add she overdrew them a bit and looked a bit clownish but evidently still pretty as all eyes were on her), and facing out towards the crowd, and I was more facing her and the bar. I was very conservatively dressed with my hair in a high bun but I thought my makeup looked good without looking overdone, and I had a classy look. We were both sitting at the bar and I turn and see this guy walking our way and he's just staring at her, took a quick look at me for a second and went right back to her. We were out with her husband and his friends so no one approached but I'm sure he would have if he didn't see her with a guy. This is one of many similar instances. It wouldn't bother me if we were both being checked out but it's not fun when it's evidently not you, and all the time.

I get that people will have their opinions on who they're attracted to but I'm like, am I really that unattractive in comparison that this happens constantly, especially if we look alike? I have also read similar issues about other girls and their pretty friends getting all the attention, but they indicate that the friend is obviously prettier than them so that makes a little more sense.

I heard this saying "admire someone else's beauty without questioning your own," which I love, but I can't help but question it around her.

She definitely comes off as confident when she knows she looks good. But at times, I can sense when she's been self conscious around me when I'm dressed up and she's not (that's not often but I guess it happens at some point to a lot of girls). Might I add that most times (though not last night), she doesn't give off a friendly vibe so it's not like you can even say she gives off a friendlier aura. If anything, I feel like I do.

Regardless, I love her and would never change a thing about our friendship. I know everyone will say to focus on myself as a person and our friendship, and that it's not all about looks, but it's getting to me because it happens so often. What I hope to get is some advice on what I could do to cope with it and accept it without it bothering me, and opinions on why she stands out so much more to most and if it really is all her beauty.

**Side note: I'm 28 and she's 30.

View related questions: confidence, self esteem

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (5 December 2017):

I once had a friend like this. She was hot, out going, and always drew in attention. I'd see her at a party with our mutual friends and whatever date I invited along would ask about her when we left. I later discovered she was very promiscuous as well, so the fact she would be more quick to put out to guys made it even worse.

But then I began to come to terms with myself and what I have to offer. I, personally would rather find a guy that wants my qualities and don't much like the guys who are all about looks. Therefore, in actuality she was doing me a favor in the long run by taking those type of guy's attention off of me.

No good catch is going to decide a lady is worth the effort right as he meets her. I'm more ambitious, reserved, less promiscuous, and have a mind frame that is worth a very good guy. No very good guy is going to want to be the one having to push a ton of other guy's off their girl and ask her to stop encouraging the extra attention from everywhere, assuming she enjoys it. The good news is, though we can't always control how hot we are, we can control how much work we put into being a lady of elegance and respect.

It's sad that we live in a generation where we all want to be the best looking with the most attention, but not too many people want to be the classiest or most wifey.

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (4 December 2017):

N91 agony auntIf this is the main thing you're worrying about in life I've say you've got it pretty easy.

There's much more important things to be concerned about and id say you're pretty shallow for this to be a main concern. Everybody has their different quirks and things about them that makes them attractive. I think you may want to consider therapy to get to the bottom of why you feel this way.

If people are saying you look like a model then I'm really not sure what you're worried about? Strangers not talking to you? Who cares? If all you do is worry why your friend gets more attention than you then it's no wonder, you probably look constantly on edge and up tight. Why don't YOU start conversations with other people rather than expecting them to come up to you based on your looks. Have you ever thought that some people just downright don't care what you or your friend like and don't want to come and talk to you?

Stop making this a competition between you and her. You need to relax and get to the bottom of why this is happening. Like I said I think therapy would be a good place to start.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (4 December 2017):

You probably wouldn't care to hear from a guy; because you figure we can't relate to how you ladies feel about your appearance. Well, since we're often accused of making women feel more self-conscious. Under-appreciated for their natural-beauty and God-given physical-attributes. You think we guys are always comparing you to super-models, film-stars, and porn-actresses. Then here's my two-cents.

Nobody's harder on women than you are on each other, and yourselves.

You read too many magazines, fall for a the hype in the media, you're brainwashed by the beauty-industry, and you're too busy trying to figure-out what men think. You can't think like a man; so you're wasting precious time racking your brain by trying. Men and women don't think alike. We have the same emotions and feelings; but psychologically, we don't process things exactly the same way.

We men are convenient scapegoats for your insecurities; but I admit a lot of what women feel about their body-image and self-esteem is based on male-opinions, and some of our cruel criticism. Yes, being visual-creatures, we follow our eyes first. It isn't our fault that some women base their entire self-worth on their appearance and sex-appeal. Men are wired to be highly sexual; and testosterone motivates/fuels our sexual-prowess.

You can't enjoy your friendship without being totally conscious of your friend's appearance; and you feel you have to compete for attention. The sad part about it is, you never let-up on it. You obsess about it. You are conditioned from high school; when people were separated into sub-groups and cliques. Your popularity and social-status was contingent upon and heavily dependent on your looks.

Back in the years of your adolescence; the prettier you were, the more popular you were. The more attention and approval you received from your peers. You never outgrew it! In-fact, it damaged you a little. It must have been pretty brutal. You never really felt you were up to standard back then. It all came back when you met your friend.

As for your thinness. Nobody knows why you're so slender, but you. No one probably cares about it as much as you do. You falsely perceive your body-contours are all guys notice about you. All they really notice is how it makes you unique and special. How your appearance matches your personality.

Has it ever occurred to you that every-time you go out together; you're taking a mental-survey on who's going to get the most attention? You're constantly in pageant-mode; thinking you're being judged for your appearance only.

You can't even relax and have a good time for being so superficial and self-aware. You contradicted yourself by going into a long narrative on how beautiful you are in your own right. Only you don't feel you get sufficient praise and adoration to appease your vanity. So you concoct these scenarios and notions in your mind that everyone who views you as a pair is comparing your beauty. Trust me, never as much as you are!

I don't believe you when you say how much you love her; because your whole post is about how she steals your thunder and monopolizes the limelight. You seem to envy her too much to really appreciate her as a friend.

If you didn't spend so much of your time comparing your looks, and keeping tally of your popularity and beauty points; I think you'd be a happier lady. She has nothing to do with how you feel about yourself. It's all in your head, and you place far too much value on looks.

Most of the posts we get from women who have body-dysmorphia issues or low self-esteem; the problems they're complaining about are more in their own minds. They starve for compliments and need constant reassurance. Which they don't believe anyway!

These same ladies have distorted perceptions of themselves, and can only feel better about themselves if they outshine the next girl. If the other female is more youthful or attractive; that becomes a threat to their ego. The anxiety stems from the presumption the other woman will grab all the attention, all eyes will be on her; or she'll draw all the male-attention. No matter how hard you've worked on your "appearance." Never-mind anything regarding your attitude, or the vibe you project as a person. Your demeanor or mood.

If you weren't so superficial, you wouldn't even notice how much attention she was getting. You'd be too busy having fun and enjoying being a woman. You shrink in her presence, not because she purposely tries to outshine you; but because your attitude changes the minute eyes turn your direction. You give off a bitter-vibe when she gets a compliment for her unusual features. It becomes all you can think about.

You have imperfections, she has imperfections, and we all have flaws. You have convinced yourself that your friend makes you more aware of your flaws. So, I guess if she was disfigured or stopped taking care of herself; it would improve your self-esteem? How utterly self-absorbed!

You are truly hung-up on looks and approval. You don't really like her, you hang-out with her just to prove to yourself her looks don't intimidate you. You thought combining your looks as a team, would improve your social-status. The truth is, you'd like her more if there was something more visibly wrong with her appearance. Something that would detract from her social appeal. Her inner-beauty simply enhances her outer-shell. It projects through her personality. You just can't put your finger on it!

You can't let looks well enough alone to just be yourself; and be happy for her. That she is a likeable person and a lovely friend. You want to attribute it all to her looks; but it may have more to do with her personality, and how she is not so self-conscious. Instead, she embraces who she is as a woman. She beams with pride, only because she loves herself for who she is. Period! The flattery she receives is because people generally are beauty-conscious, superficial, and brainwashed about appearance. She takes it all in stride. You obsess on it!

Just a little advice. Facial-expressions, body-language, and the tone of your voice sometimes will give you away. They tell what's going through your mind.

Bitterness and jealousy slyly creeps their way into your behavior. They lie to your subconscious-mind and tell you everyone is ignoring you. They scrape against your ego until it's raw, and keep you feeling like you have to constantly compete with other women. It must be exhausting?

When men are approaching, you probably tighten-up or stiffen your body. You probably grimace assuming all eyes are on her; but it's more in your mind than in reality. She sits poised, relaxed, and she's not posing or profiling. So people notice her beauty; because it exudes from a person who is comfortable with herself. You probably get fidgety and irritable as the night passes. You start to coil and begin to give-off a vibe that deflects everyone towards her. She beams with friendliness, and you're seething with envy.

It's amazing how people read body-language and can pickup on our moods. The pretty-girl with her mean friend. Hunched over her drink, with an attitude. Guys walk a wide circle around you when you take that pose.

Try just enjoying yourself and taking your mind off how she looks. You'd be more aware of the looks you're getting; and you'd "beam" with more loveliness and magnetism.

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A female reader, italiangurl28 United States +, writes (4 December 2017):

italiangurl28 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

I want to thank you all for your opinions and advice. Even as I was writing this post, I felt pathetic letting this crap bother me and I definitely have a lot of insecurities that I need to work out and not just with my looks. I?t felt good writing it out and just getting it off my chest. I also got laid off from my job a few months ago and I’m struggling to find the right fit, and along with losing weight recently which I cannot afford, and going on dates with losers, I’m letting the things that shouldn’t be a big deal, bother me. I think once I’m able to get back on my feet and feel comfortable with my career and establish myself, everything else will fall into place. Thanks again for responding!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (3 December 2017):

Only men are fixated totally on women's looks and bodies alone . Once women start to empower themselves and become free of the need for men's approval they start to stop worrying about this rubbish

Start valuing yourself for important things not this trivial stuff and this will all slide away . Honestly , doesn't what men think really matter . I mean who cares . The majority of them form their opinions from thenoverabundance of porn available today . Do you want to lower yourself to that

Focus on your quality of life , experiences , skills and friendships . They are the things that will bring YOU happiness . Not the opinions of other people

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A female reader, 02DuszJ United Kingdom +, writes (3 December 2017):

02DuszJ agony auntThis is an insecurity issue.. if someone is naturally pretty and goes out with painted lips and curls, they ARE going to turn heads and shouldn't affect you like this! If she dresses to show off her figure in a slutty way that is going to get her the WRONG attention- something that you would get if you go overboard with the make up.. and yeah it's EYE CATCHING girls notice too..

YOU are pretty too. But you're making this into a competition by SEEING her as a RIVAL. When in actual fact would she be a rival for your husband, when he's chosen you for all the UNIQUE things you possess that she doesn't.. NO TWO people are the same with the same qualities I guarantee, there is something you have that she would envy..

Honestly? The fact that this is upsetting you so deeply shows that you have some major insecurity issues and I advise therapy, CBT should put yourthoughts into perspective..

Do you think every bad bitch in a suit with the wits, the confidence the charisma, maybe not the best looking, but still the CEO of her company breaks and cries when she sees a girl that has better boobs/lips/eyes than her? Well BETTER is SUBJECTIVE anyway.. nope. It doesn't affect her because she is SECURE and therefore HAPPY in her life..

You're not a doll, you're an INDIVIDUAL. So is she. Remember that..

THis is causing you too much upset, please get some therapy because this insecurity isn't just going to go away, as it's very deep set, and the DEPTH of INSECURITY is what's causing your misery, NOT the LOOKS of your friend..

And you know what? When you are confident and radiate your OWN personality through a great aura of content and happiness, people WON'T look at her so much, they will see the beauty and charisma in YOU.

Good luck, please help yourself

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (3 December 2017):

Honeypie agony auntSorry OP,

You need to stop fixating on this shallow shit. So you are both pretty in your own ways and NEITHER of you are really lacking in attention. So really WHAT is the issue?

Not everyone out there CARES mostly about a girl's looks.

When you are together and people mainly approach her then it might actually BE that you seem less approachable. Or she makes better eye contact, easier social interactions... WHO knows?

I don't have a crystal ball and I haven't met either of you, so I really can't say what's up.

But I will say that... It's UTTERLY unimportant in the big picture that is life.

Focus on what REALLY matters... Getting attention from strangers is NOT it.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (3 December 2017):

Wow. I don't want to be the harsh one. But as I was reading this I thought it was the insecuritys of a very young woman, not a twenty eight year old. I am really sorry you feel this way as it can not feel good at all but comparing yourself constantly to someone else and basing all your interactions on how attractive you are compared to others is not healthy-or a way to keep friends. I say this as the dumpy plain friend-who used to be the attractive thin friend-I get chatted up the same amount. It really does not matter, people are people and frankly maybe people are attracted to her as she seems much less judgemental and not concerned with how attractive she is compared to them.

Maybe she seems nervious around you due to the fact she can tell your judging her makeup and finding her lacking.

You seem to have a healthy self esteem so I would encourage you to work on your inner self, try to be more empathetic, help others, see what you offer others in conversation and being more interesting and maybe give your friend a break-it's not her fault she makes you feel that way.

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A female reader, janniepeg Canada + , writes (3 December 2017):

janniepeg agony auntBesides beauty, the other things that draw attention is the unseen. Health, fertility and a sense of well being. I am not a medical professional so I can't tell you how to make your thyroid issues go away. If you watch Miss Universe year after year, you would see that many of the beauty queens would overcome one weakness and turn it into strength by helping others with the same problem. So imagine yourself being the next Miss Universe who uses the platform to raise awareness about thyroid problems. This inner power and desire to help people in need is more important that getting attention and approval from others.

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