OK, so I have this friend. He's smart, talented, good-looking, funny, witty, charming, and fun to hang around with and talk to. I like him. A lot.
Problem is, he has a serious self-esteem problem. Every time someone compliments him - and I do mean every single time - he cannot accept the compliment; instead, he blows off the complimenter with, "No I'm not, I'm fat, ugly and obviously untalented."
I find this very, very annoying, insulting, and, IMHO, extremely rude. I've talked to him about it before, but he continues to do it. Things got heated yesterday, and now he's unfriended me.
Now I realize I may have been more than a little blunt, but I can't honestly say I'm sorry for doing it. Who else to tell you you're being rude than your friends? But I understand he found my tone insulting, so I accept his decision.
However, I'm wondering if he understands, beyond what Miss Manners would say about accepting compliments, what, as Paul Harvey would say, "the rest of the story" is.
See, every time I see him dismiss a compliment, I see it feeding his low self-esteem, and that worries me. He really is smart, talented, good-looking, funny, witty, charming, and fun to hang around with and talk to. Unfortunately, he seems to have it in his head that he's fat, ugly, loathesome, untalented, miserable, and no one wants to be friends with him unless he makes himself into something he's not, because what he is is so horrible.
Furthermore, what he seems to think makes people like him is how thin he is, which has lead to dangerous eating behaviors - namely, crash starvation diets. He's done this more than once in the short time I've known him.
Needless to say, this worries me. I've gone so far as to tell him I feel he has an eating disorder, but even when I give him researched information on the subject, he finds ways to justify his behavior.
So we've got two things going on - an unhealthy obsession over being thin, and a refusal to accept people's praise, both of which are feeding his low self-esteem. Now of course if he reads this (which he may or may not do, but I hope he does), I'm sure he'll demure and say, "Oh, no, you've got it all wrong, I know I'm not that bad," but I'm not so sure if that's really how he feels about himself - his actions speak very clearly and loudly about how he feels about himself, and, as his friend, I continue to worry about him.
I just wish I could get him to really listen to himself, to hear the things his friends hear (and I'm certainly not the only one who hears it), and to really stop and understand what he's doing to himself.
Because unfriended or not, he's still my friend.