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Brutal honesty with male friends(22 Posts)
I have a male friend who I have known for about 6/7 years or so.
History: we have dated briefly but are not compatible so reconfigured things to the friend zone quite easily although we don't speak every day or anything.
He is a good friend in a practical sense - will help me with things like my car or DIY, I am a friend he likes to talk to for advice. We get on well and I trust him.
He has never had a serious girlfriend and from dating him, I know exactly why. This bothers him now he is mid thirties and he can get very depressed (real, medical type depression). I care about him and don't like to see him depressed and I worry about him.
Recently he has been asking for advice about a relationship breakup and I gave it to him, I listened and 'hmmm-ed'. I was sympathetic to him over it etc.
She clearly was way too young for him - not long out of her teens, seemed to have a lot of emotional problems and life issues and it sounds like he became a kind of big brother/father she always wanted to him. Then when he wanted more commitment she legged it. I think he can see it wasn't really a good relationship but not why he isn't a good boyfriend. He was really gutted.
Anyway he has decided to get over this girl by dating another girl. He showed me a photo and told me about her. She is stunning and sounds nice and keen. And although I wish him the best I felt overwhelmingly like I wanted to say to him the brutal truth of why he is forever single and things he could do to perhaps give him more of a chance, but then I don't want to be a brutal bitch.
He is quite good looking and works out. But where he lives is an absolute shit hole. I really can't see this glamorous lady being able to see past all the grot to what a nice guy he is. If she wants to go inside she would have to navigate her way through 20 washing machines and a few car engines. Then even if he gets his place cleaned by a cleaner, it's still a stinky old crappy house. He doesn't do his laundry properly, doesn't buy proper food or have clean cups or plates. And he doesn't think this is important really. Whenever I have tried to help it only lasts for a few weeks. His dress sense has improved a little bit (I made him throw away things with actual holes in).
He also only really likes what he likes and doesn't really like doing things that other people may like. So he only has a few films that he loves, and a few albums and if you like something different, he can quite bluntly brand everything as crap. I have also tried to point out this isn't very helpful when you want to get to know a woman, but he feels that someone has to just accept what he likes is good and what they like he thinks is crap. It's almost like he feels obliged to broadcast the thoughts everyone has inside their head and keeps private. It also makes conversation REALLY hard as he just kind of scoffs at everyone else's interests.
So if someone comes to you for advice, how bluntly should you go with a man?
I was meant to conclude that as being a woman myself, I know what women like and although some are materialistic, he's not giving women the 'I am ready to settle down' impression as IMO it is really hard to look past. So then he ends up with girls who are all damaged and broken who he tries to fix!
What do I say? I dont want to be offensive PMSL
Giving your opinion kindly and with love is what I try to do. Doesn't always work though and bruised egos can be a byproduct.
I'd start by asking him why he thinks he's been unsuccessful in the past.
Is the house thing/poor hygeine a result of his depression?
I think it's fine to tell him where he's going wrong if asked, but I wouldn't approach it from a 'and this is why you will be forever single' angle.
Mind you, DHs flat was a shittip when we first got together so I'm maybe not the best person to ask
His living situation is quite clearly a choice motivated by money because it's cheap, and he can't seem to see that it might be horribly off putting to a woman looking for a man who she wants to settle down with unless she wants to also live on a scrap heap
I wouldn't bother. He sounds like he'd be a horrendous partner and you don't want some poor woman to be fooled into committing to him (only to have to put up with a filthy house later).
I'd be blunt with him too. I'd run a mile if I was faced with what you've described and I don't consider myself in anyway materialistic or a clean freak.
Why not broach it as being how to romance her, setting a scene for if she visits and if you're brave enough offer to help. If he refuses, leave him to it.
If he asks you then tell him but unless he does, it's really none of your business.
And you don't speak for all women. Everyone is different, and different things are important to different people.
Out of your description the things I see as major problems are that he has inappropriate boundaries - getting into relationships with messed up women and ones who are little more than girls, and that he thinks the way to get over one woman is by trying to get with another.
The rest of it you have pretty much completely described my BF, non of the mess and piling up bin bags bother me at all, sometimes the 'I don't like it so it is crap' bothers me. I think in some ways he is broadly correct that if he is how he is then changing to catch someone else is just pointless. In some ways I agree with you that it is off putting to most women if they think they are going to end up mothering someone who can't sort out their own life (house, clothes etc).
I think you need to let him learn and just be there for him. People can only learn by mistakes.
I would say that he's mid thirties and never even been close to something more serious so not speaking for all women just its kind of speaking for itself
He lives in a filthy stinky shit hole, doesn't wash his clothes properly, doesn't have proper cups and plates, doesn't buy proper food, only likes watching what he wants to watch, listening to what he wants to listen to and doing what he wants to do ..... and thinks everything else is crap?
And he wonders why he's not good boyfriend material?
Fucking hell, I've read it all on here now.
I'm not quite sure why you're friends with him. His personality's not great, conversation's shit, his house is a dump.
Normally I'm quite pro-intervention if I think it would help, but honestly, I think in all fairness the gf should see his house. She has a right to know and if he cleans it up (which is highly unlikely) she'll get a totally wrong impression.
So, I'd just leave it and him completely. There are plenty of competent interesting clean men in the world.
lol I know he sounds dreadful but I think depression, family stuff, poor social skills and no one really telling him the truth have led him here as really, he is lovely. He has been a very helpful friend to me and he is very kind. I think I am such a mum I feel sorry for him. None of his bad habits or lifestyle affect me, I don't go to his house anymore and if he tells me something I like is crap then I tell him to sod off. I'm now thinking though that he is unlikely to change isn't he? If he hasn't worked it out by now I think I just better put the kettle on and make some sympathetic noises like I usually do.
What makes him lovely though?
Absolutely nothing you have described makes him sound lovely.
He's on the old side for changing, but if the lack of long term relationships has him puzzled and depressed you might talk to him about as a way to help him cope with that instead of as a way to help him get a longer my partner.
So more along the lines of - there aren't many women who would suit him because their values/habits/taste would upset him if long term. Most people would not be happy with the state of his house and would want him to change. Most people would expect him to like some of their favorite music/movies etc.
So more trying to get him to accept his singledom as a worthwhile consequence of living the rest of his life the way he likes it...
Not sure about this but it might be worth a try if he's so unhappy.
He actually sounds a bit like my OH, except his house is clean and tidy (mostly). The 'things I like are great and things you like are crap' is exactly what he does. Maybe your friend would be better off with someone a bit older, someone who can challenge his world-view and maybe expose him to other stuff that he might like, as opposed to sitting around in a pit of his own making? He's going out with young girls, presumably, because they have less things he can say are crap and he can mould them into his image (by only liking the things he likes) - do you think that is deliberate?
I'd say tell him to up his dating age, find a woman who will like what she likes and tell him that everyone is entitled to like what they like and not be influenced by others. Don't know what to do about the crap living situation though, maybe he's just a man-child?
Even if he did clean up his act that would not sort out the mental health and (presumably) psychological issues that have led him to live and think like this.
You really think he is not aware that he is not prime boyfriend material for the average woman? Unless his mental health issues are preventing him from seeing clearly he probably knows it already. Might not be able to face up to the monumental task of changing his entire lifestyle, though. Might even be afraid that once he's cleared up, he'll still feel like a loser anyway. From your description of his fixed personal preferences it sounds like he might be trying to cling on to the shreds of his pride.
Rather than playing the role of a more successful person who knows better than him and can advise him on how to clean up, how about presenting yourself as a fellow flawed human being who is there for an unjudgemental chat if he wants? That approach could encourage him to open up, maybe even to counselling for whatever underlying problems he has.
I think I just better put the kettle on and make some sympathetic noises like I usually do.
How about putting the kettle on and telling him "your house is a stinking shithole, and despite having 20 washing machines in it, you don't smell so good yourself. You eat shit and on top of that you are opinionated to the extent that you think only things you like are any good and anything anyone else likes is crap. And then you come round here whining about to me about why you can't keep a girlfriend?"
I'm sick of seeing 'depression' as an excuse for everything on here. He's going to be lot more depressed when he's 50, still girlfriendless and still living in a shithole and trying to figure out why he's still alone because none of his friends have got the balls to tell him straight.
Making sympathetic noises isn't helping the bloke. Make him face up to the real reasons why he can't get anyone and you might do him a favour.
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