A: As I’m sure you know, he’s hurt because he does have romantic intentions and hopes that he can play you for more attention with his “sensitivity.” The key here is to have a gentle talk. Explain that his comments and displays of hyper-sensitivity put you in an awkward position and damage the friendship. If he’s a quality pal he will respect your needs. If he continues with this behavior, ignore it completely. Perhaps you’re fueling his fantasy by being too reassuringly nice.
Q: How do you tell someone she is a buzz kill and should freakin’ chill out, without sounding nasty yourself?
A: It’s all in how you say it. Don’t blurt it out or scowl. Instead, tell her in a calm, assertive way and with a slightly amused look. When you do this you will have practiced Irish diplomacy: the ability to tell someone to go to hell so that she enjoys the trip. I mastered this art many years ago. It works magnificently because you are not threatening, you are stating how it must be while being pleasant and charming about it.
Q: I’m sick of how the media insists that feminine beauty comes only in sizes 0-5 and with no hips. Real women have enough problems accepting their bodies in this computer-enhanced, air-brushed cover girl world without this double standard from men and the media. Young girls start smoking, bingeing and purging at earlier ages as ways to lose weight because of these unrealistic expectations about what is beautiful. Can anything be done to promote womanly bodies that are as God intended?
A: Yes, and it starts with us. It’s like the oft-quoted saying attributed to Gandhi: Be the change you wish to see in the world. Here are my tips for waging war against an environment that says we’re not beautiful just as we are:
* Don’t put yourself down. This hurts you the most, but every word you speak against your body ripples out and perpetuates this mentality in those who hear it.
* Don’t make snide comments about the appearance of your daughter, niece, granddaughter and so forth. You must be the role model they seek to emulate.
* When friends or colleagues make self-deprecating remarks, respond with a statement that affirms their beauty.
* Work hard on your self-acceptance and confidence. That’s the secret weapon of women who don’t fit the mold by a long shot but are gorgeous anyway. Their inner self radiates outward in striking fashion.
* Fill your brain with good books and music rather than the junk foisted upon us by popular culture. Avoid malls, magazines, and reality TV shows that depict super-skinny as the ideal and bad behavior as the norm. Question and dissect common assumptions about everything. Declare certain things verboten in your home such as whining about physical imperfections and use of words such as Kardashian.
* Above all else, focus on your internal beauty, for it is the only beauty that matters. It truly is the inside that counts: integrity, character, spirituality, and intellect.
Work on those, and you will become an absolute knockout.
Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of The Cracker Queen—A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at thecrackerqueen.com.