The civilized world seems to have agreed that the human body is his business. Therefore, it is not worth telling unfamiliar people that you think their hairstyle is unsuccessful, and their nose is ugly. Write under photos on the Internet, if no one asked for opinions, too. The very fact that they posted these pictures for public viewing does not give such permission.

But in relationships with loved ones, everything is not so simple. Often it seems: “I wish you well, I want to help. Who else will tell him or her that all this is terrible? If he throws out his stupid sweater, if she starts painting her eyebrows, then life will get better. In general, convincing yourself that you can say anything to a friend or loved one is quite simple. But is it? We deal with psychologists.

Understand why you want to speak up

Here it is important to restrain the first impulse “I wish him well” and dig a little deeper.

Irina Baburina


There is always a positive intention behind every action we take. But unconsciously it is directed primarily at itself.

Before “catching up and doing good”, you should ask yourself the question: “What need will I close if I tell a loved one that he looks bad?” If you honestly listen to yourself, you will not care about the other at all.

There may be several reasons.

Personal problems

This is not the case when you cannot see the beam in your own eye. On the contrary, your own log interferes so much that you notice it literally everywhere.

For example, a person has gained several kilograms and is dissatisfied with his figure. It annoys him, though not enough to do something about it. But he begins to pay close attention to the bodies of those around him. His acquaintances do not have such problems – in their opinion. But our hero is perplexed: how can they live in peace and do not try to change anything? He’s also worried. So they should too. They just haven’t noticed yet that they have a problem. We need to tell them about it before it’s too late!

Polina Polyakova


It often happens that our unresolved problems are forced out by the psyche from the area of ​​consciousness into the subconscious, and there they scale and grow. The meaning is that they loom there in the background on an ongoing basis, in the expectation that we will deal with them sooner or later.

And if we do not solve this issue, then the task unfolds in an unexpected way: it seems to us that the imperfect appearance is not our own, but that of a loved one. In such a situation, we want to correct, change, improve and remake someone else’s appearance. That is, quite often we simply project dissatisfaction with our own appearance onto another.

Desire to tailor a person to your taste

Each of us has our own idea of ​​beauty. And this is generally normal – as long as we do not start to drive others into the framework of our own taste.

Elena Masolova

Psychologist, Gestalt therapist.

Let’s start with the fact that any “looks bad” is a subjective assessment. Firstly, for everyone the concept of “bad” is different. And what you don’t like doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t like it. Secondly, giving an assessment to another person, especially a close one, is an act of emotional aggression. Because when we take on this right, we become in a position from above.

For example, a person likes girls with long hair. However, this does not mean that he can tell women with short hair that their hairstyle disfigures them, no matter how close they are. Because any hair is a matter of who it grows on. And such comments have nothing to do with caring.

Pyotr Galigabarov

Practicing psychologist, member of the Association for Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy.

If a loved one initially looked like he does now, then the question arises about the sincerity of your sympathy. Did you accept it as it is, or were you waiting for the moment when you start correcting yourself and the opinions of others? This is an occasion to think about the nature of your relationship, whether you need it and why.

own worries

Sometimes we tend to behave like smart Elsa from the fairy tale of the same name. In it, the girl went down to the basement, saw a hoe and fell into hysterics. She imagined how she would get married, have a child, grow up, go into the cellar – and there the hoe would kill him. So we also come up with a tragic development of events and try to nip it in the bud.

Let’s say a young man gets a tattoo in a conspicuous place. Every time his mother sees the drawing on the body, she begins to lament what a deformity it is, and send him to get the tattoo. She is worried: suddenly one day he decides to work in the civil service, but he will not be hired because of this. But the guy is already making a successful career and is happy with his tattoos. And all misfortunes exist in the mother’s head.

And even if the problem is not far-fetched, close people are close because their well-being makes our life happier and calmer.

How to know if something is worth saying

We analyzed the reasons, and it became obvious that in most cases it is not worth evaluating the appearance of another person, even if it is close. If he is not a vampire, then he is reflected in the mirror. And he is either satisfied with what he sees there. Either he doesn’t like it, but then he knows that he has problems. You will not open America with your comments, but you can offend.

However, there are cases when you can speak out, but with caution (how to do this, we will analyze further).

If you are asked

Of course, there are some social games where a person asks a question and expects only one specific answer. Like the dialogue “I got better?” “What are you, you look great.” But you don’t have to play it. If a person is interested in your opinion, you can speak honestly (but still delicately!).

If there is a real danger

Here it is important to think very carefully whether something is really wrong with a loved one. For example, a person read somewhere that being overweight is dangerous to health. And now he is sawing a household who weighs 70 kilograms with a height of 170 centimeters. But his victim may not meet glossy standards, but her body mass index is normal. That is, from a medical point of view, nothing threatens a person in this regard.

If the defect has just appeared and it is easy to eliminate

Of course, when discussing the permissibility of comments about someone else’s appearance, we do not mean cases when a person has parsley stuck in his teeth or he gets dirty on a chalk wall. In this case, it is normal to pay attention to the situation.

How to express your opinion delicately

Obviously, options like “Ugh, well, your pants are ugly!” or “What’s wrong with your face?” are not suitable. Understanding what not to do is pretty easy. It is much more difficult to formulate a comment carefully.

Choose “I-Position”

Talk not about the person’s appearance, but about your anxiety. For example, instead of “Wow, you have bruises under your eyes, are you thinking of doing something about it?” You can say, “I see that you look tired. Are you all right?”

Polina Polyakova


It is worth doing this so that your words do not sound like a value judgment, but like a caring remark and concern. After all, everyone is pleased to understand that they wish him well, and do not dream of remaking him.

You can check with a loved one, try to find out what is happening to him. Why does he look like this? What actions, factors, thoughts caused this to happen? Is he satisfied with his appearance? Are you worried? And only after that to express an opinion on this matter. Perhaps the person will feel that you are really experiencing, and will share the innermost.

Bet on the rational, not the emotional

Let’s say a person is trying to find a job in a law firm, but he doesn’t succeed. It seems to you that the reason for failure is his appearance. In the public mind, a lawyer looks conservative. If the applicant has blue hair and a nose piercing, the number of his potential employers decreases sharply.

In this case, you can build a comment on the fact that appearance moves a person away from goals. So you do not offend him and his choice. You just show that it may not correspond to some of the ideas of society.

Important: it’s still worth speaking out if your interlocutor is worried about something. If his appearance differs from generally accepted standards, but he is fine with it (or he achieved it), this brings us back to the first question: why do you care?

Be ready to help not only with words, but also with deeds

It happens that a person himself is not satisfied with some features of his appearance, but does nothing with them.

Polina Polyakova


There can be many reasons. For example, looking in the mirror and seeing some problems, he is simply afraid to visit a doctor, deeply take care of himself or admit to himself that he is unwell. Perhaps he is overwhelmed with other things, where there is no place for his own condition and appearance. This is where it is important to help a loved one take the next step, which he did not dare to take.

Offer to make an appointment with the doctor and promise to go with him. Sit with the child while the parents calmly eat, wash and sleep. And just be more attentive to the needs of others.

Pyotr Galigabarov

Practicing psychologist, member of the Association for Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy.

In a situation where a person gave up on himself, launched, you should first pay attention to his emotional state. Often after the loss of a serious relationship, severe stress, people stop taking care of themselves. Help to survive a difficult period, maybe just by listening, pushing to activity, getting the joys of life.

The real concern is not to say, “You’ve got a problem, deal with it.” It is to show: “If you have difficulties, contact me, we will solve them together.”