'Loyal Friend' Tells Woman To Shave If She Wants To Improve Her Dating Life

As a friend, should you give your honest opinion, even when it may not be received well?

shrugging woman and woman combing armpit hair Billie via Unsplash / KT Paper Designs via Canva / Dean Drobot via Shutterstock

A 29-year-old woman asked the subreddit r/AITAH for advice on navigating a sensitive encounter with a friend. She called her 32-year-old friend Emily, “an amazing person — she’s fun, adventurous, intelligent, super active, a fantastic cook, outgoing and just a great girl to be around.” She also added that Emily stopped shaving a few years ago, “out of protest to the patriarchy, resulting in her having very long, dark hair everywhere.”


The woman told her friend she should shave if she wanted to improve her dating life.

She recounted how she and Emily got together for a drink when Emily vented about “how sad her dating life was.” According to the woman’s account of what Emily told her, “she kept meeting guys and having very fun dates but never got a call back or when she tried asking for a second or third date, got rejected in a very generic manner.”

The woman reported assuaging Emily’s concerns in the past by telling her that she’s “so gorgeous and wonderful, the right man will come, don’t worry.” Yet this time, she took a different approach. “I decided to go out on a limb and said something along the lines of, ‘I know this is a very superficial thing to say, but do you think it might help a little if you would shave?’” the woman said, which was evidently not the route she should have taken.


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Emily was hurt by her comment, and told the woman how disappointed she was that she’d suggested “changing her appearance for men.” She said that her attitude is “the reason so many women were suppressed.”

woman with armpit hairPhoto: Monica Oprea / Pexels 


The woman apologized at once, but the evening was thrown off course after that turn in the conversation. The next day, she texted Emily to apologize again, only Emily didn’t respond, which led her to Reddit for guidance on what her next move should be. She asked how she could phrase another apology, explaining that while she didn’t want to hurt Emily, she also didn't entirely understand why her suggestion to shave was so insulting. 

While some comments weighed in on the aesthetic perception of body hair on women or offered theories regarding shaving and gender roles, other comments were rooted in how the two women could talk openly, in a way that would mend their friendship. Some people suggested that Emily was letting off steam and not seeking actual advice. Others praised the woman for sharing her honest opinion, even though it hurt her friend.

The woman updated her original post to share how grateful she was for the “well-worded answers… and insightful comments.” She shared that Emily asked to talk about what happened. Emily apologized for how she reacted to the woman’s well-meaning, albeit hurtful, comment. The woman validated Emily’s presence in her life, telling her that “I wanted her to know that I and many others love her for who she is and the last thing I wanted was to suggest that she change herself for a guy.”

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The woman reframed her initial advice to focus less on how Emily might change herself for men and more on changing how she approaches dating.

“I told her that I was very worried I had given her unsolicited advice,” the woman explained, though Emily didn’t see it that way. Emily told her that she’d always been a “loyal friend who had her back,” and that she valued the woman’s advice, “which is “why she was so taken aback by my comment.”

“I told her that what I should have said is that I feel like in the past, she has been attracted to men who don’t necessarily share her values, and that she might need to be more clear with her dating choices and first make sure they align with her values to avoid being disappointed,” the woman reported. Emily agreed with her assessment, opening up a channel for the two friends to have a resonant conversation.

The conflict and subsequent resolution between the two friends show how making mistakes can serve as a growth point to strengthen relationships.

One woman caused harm to the other; instead of practicing avoidance or exploding in anger, the two friends came together and expressed their vulnerabilities, which allowed them to grow closer. Both women held themselves accountable for their own actions and responses in a tense interaction, and in the end, their friendship was stronger for doing so.


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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers relationships, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.