This message board post gets to the heart of it:
Have you ever had that one girlfriend who always seems to get hit on first within your group? Well whenever my roommate/friend and I go out, guys will ask her to dance over me or when two guys approach us it’s obvious that both guys are trying to get her attention and the one stuck with me will act disinterested.
I honestly think I’m an average to cute girl and come off very friendly and sociable, but my roommate is obviously prettier than me. I’m just tired of being the girl who gets overlooked and not approached when I’m with her and in all honesty as bitter as it sounds, my self-esteem has hindered by hanging out with her because of all the attention she gets. I’ve even had guys I’m interested in ask me if she’s single.
Please tell me someone out there has a close friend like this and has been in this kind of situation, and how did you handle it?
While there IS the phenomenon of one genuinely pretty girl having a bunch of semi-buttery friends basking in their pretty friend’s aura (see: most popular girl cliques in high school), most female friend groups sort out by looks status. In other words, even if two girls have similar interests (for example, they both love Grey’s Anatomy, reading, and horses), they probably won’t be friends unless they’re within 1 point of attractiveness of each other. Any more difference than that, and it just becomes too difficult for women to hang out, particularly once there are men in the picture. The less pretty friend eventually gets tired of being ignored and decides it’s pointless to go out with the pretty friend when all it does it result in the less pretty friend being ignored all night and/or used as a conduit to the pretty friend. When allowed to go on for too long, the less pretty friend usually ends up jealous, resentful, and sometimes bitter.
That said, there are a few exceptions that do allow two women of unequal good looks to remain friends:
- The pretty girl attracts men who are not attractive to the less pretty friend. For example, if Unpretty is into skinny intellectuals and Pretty gets swaggery thugs in oversize sports jerseys who make Unpretty’s brain cells atrophy, Unpretty will be less likely to resent the attention that Pretty gets.
- Pretty doesn’t bask in the attention or ditch Unpretty whenever guys come on the scene. In other words, if Pretty shows “good taste” in whose attention she chooses to receive, and graciously strives to include Unpretty, then Unpretty will also be less likely to resent the attention that Pretty gets. On the other hand, if Pretty luxuriates in being the Belle of the Ball whenever a guy looks at her for two seconds, the friendship with Unpretty probably won’t last.
- Unpretty worships Pretty. Some girls are so desperate for any glimmer of a chance at popularity that they will endure a lot of crappy and sometimes humiliating treatment just to remain in Pretty’s orbit. Even if Unpretty subconsciously resents Pretty, Unpretty will beat down her subconscious in order to achieve the greater goal.
As for the OP, I would be surprised if she remains friends with her roommate beyond the next year or so. Pretty’s popularity with men whom OP finds attractive is going to get to OP eventually, and the tension and resentment of being ignored will become too great for OP to stand – even if OP still genuinely likes Pretty. Ten bucks says OP will chalk this up to “growing apart.” Of course, Pretty could always level the playing field by gaining weight (or OP could lose weight/glam up, if those are issues affecting OP’s attractiveness to men).