herald

Monday 11 December 2017

My girl is clever, but dresses far too tarty - see what Rosanna thinks

Q I was attracted to my girlfriend due to how little she had on when we met in a nightclub. I fancied she'd be a lot of fun. Since getting together we've spent a lot of time hanging out, and I've discovered that there's a lot more to her than just being a party girl.

She's a talented artist, educated and cultured, and has a great set of equally talented friends. I'd like to introduce her to my friends, but the thing holding me back is the tarty clothes she wears (or barely wears). How can I get her to wear some classy clothes?

AIt sounds as if you're going out with a great girl and you're lucky to have found her. Our clothes can say a lot about us, and it sounds to me that she was looking for male attention, or competing with her female friends to see who could get the most admiration from the men in the club.

This is relatively normal for some people, but it may indicate a lack of self-esteem. She may feel that to be appreciated by the opposite sex, she has to show off as much flesh as possible.

My advice is to gently point out that she's a gorgeous, talented person and now that she's with you, she doesn't need to compete for male attention. Suggest that she looks even more beautiful in clothes that reflect how educated and cultured she is, and you're concerned that people will judge her before getting to know her properly.

Be gentle and positive in your approach and don't sound controlling, patronising or bossy. Simply encourage her to rethink how she dresses.

It may take a little bit of time to alter her mindset, but this will start the process.

QThe last few times we've been out, a close friend asked to borrow money, saying that she was waiting for cheques to arrive. She is self-employed, and her business is reasonably successful. I was talking to her on the phone last night, and she was telling me about the new car she is planning to buy, and a meal she had out in town.

I jokingly said that it would be great to get the money back that she owes me, and she said "dinner is on me the next time we're out". How can I emphasise that I want the cash back?

AYou're obviously a generous friend, and that's an admirable quality to possess. But the risk of showing such kindness is that others will take advantage of it. It sounds as though this is what you're facing, and if you don't show some strength of character, then it will continue to happen. I would urge you to be absolutely direct with her.

Explain that you appreciate her offer to bring you out for a meal, but you would much rather that she pays you back directly. Stand up for yourself and don't allow her to talk you down or convince you otherwise.

I'm all for helping out a friend in need, but just not at your own expense. Good luck.

QMy cousin is staying with us since starting college in Dublin last year, and I am at the end of my tether. We're the same age, and everything I do is wrong, and everything my cousin does is right according to my mum. She can stay out all night, leave her clothes on the floor, cook late at night, and invite people over, and all my mum does is smile. If I behave like that, I get read the riot act. I'm worried that my mum is taking rubbish from my cousin because we're being paid to mind her, and money is tight. How can I get my mum to stand up to my cousin?

AI appreciate how frustrating it must be for you, since you feel as though you're being treated second-best in your own home. However, I can also understand how tough it must be for your mum, who is probably trying to keep everyone happy.

She's used to disciplining you as her daughter, but she doesn't want to risk offending your cousin. My advice is to have a quiet word with your mum to show that you understand her motives for taking in the guest, but you would appreciate if everybody was treated fairly.

Suggest she shows disapproval when your cousin behaves with disrespect, and don't let her get away with things she wouldn't let you do as it's setting double standards.

She must approach the situation with tact and the household will soon balance itself out.

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