I know a guy who is constantly boasting about his sexual prowess while he’s out with friends but has never ACTUALLY been laid! Or had a long-term relationship! This guy is SO full of himself and goes around talking sh!t about everyone else’s relationships. And yet his overly confident attitude makes him even more unlucky with women.
I am SO sick of him telling me how I should be with my boyfriend! How can I tell him off without offending my other friends?
Sincerely, Not Liking Your Lies
Dear Not Liking Your Lies,
Image from junglewalk.com
At some point in our lives we must learn that denial is not just a river in Egypt. (I’m sorry, I just had to go there.) Throughout our lives we are going to meet no end of people who are in denial about something. Sometimes it will be understandable (“We’re just on a break.”) and sometimes it’s just sad (“I just need to lose ten pounds to into my size 2 jeans again!”).
The universal thing about denial, however, is that it breeds more denial. No one actually knows they’re in denial because they are so determined to squash the reality of their situation into some dark, hidden corner of their subconscious. So it’s kind of a moot point to suggest to someone in denial that they are in denial unless, of course, you’d like to enter into a really long, heated argument about how they are (or aren’t) in denial. The person in denial will always win. Why? Say it with me now.
It’s because they’re in denial.
That’s not to say your friend isn’t deserving of a wake-up call or that he won’t get one if his friends continue to be accepting of his cocky behaviour. But I’m betting that the moments you want to give him the wake-up call are usually when he’s being at his most annoying and then your “wake-up call” is going to rapidly transform into “speech-detailing-all-of-his-faults-through-a-megaphone-call”. Yes, maybe what you’re saying is something he needs to hear. More often than not a person will shut down when you go into this kind of passionate diatribe detailing their own faults. You would too. Don’t deny it.
Although it may drive you crazy, this situation sounds like it’s one of those where it’s best to do nothing. As frustrating as it is, he will never accept the truth of his situation until he’s completely ready too and until then, it is not your job to give him his much-needed wake-up call. I’m sure that you want to do right by him because he is part of your circle of friends, but unless he solicits your advice and is truthful about his problem, he’s never going to actually listen to what you have to say without getting defensive. Why not let that unfortunate task fall to that surly bartender or that bitchy teeny-bopper who’s tired of being hit on yet again?
Chances are your friends feel the same way about his constant tall-tales but none of you are ever going to be able to bring it up to his face without looking like a real jerk in front of everyone else. Ganging up on someone never works either. It’s a very real possibility that this false cockiness is just that- false- and that these stories are lies he makes up to you guys to make him seem more experienced or cooler than he actually thinks he is.
Try changing the subject whenever one of his “famous” stories comes up or try steering the conversation in another direction. It may be helpful to discreetly enlist the help of a buddy of his to help choose a topic that’s good enough to distract him. Other than that, my only advice to you is to take most of what he says is with a grain of salt: roll your eyes, groan inwardly, and move on. We can’t control other people’s behaviours- we can just control our reactions to them.
Or you can get him laid. Your choice.
Do you have a friend that’s driving you up the wall? Or are you so lost about a situation you don’t even know where the wall is? Maybe B can steer you in the right direction, and away from a nasty accident involving walls. Lay it all out for her at firstname.lastname@example.org.