Dear Wayne and Wanda,
"Jenny" and I have been best friends a long time. Often on weekends we meet up, dress up, then hit the bar scene, searching for Mr. Right. The problem is that Jenny is so pretty, so flirty and so much the center of attention that when I go out with her, I'm basically invisible. The guys never even seem to notice I'm there. It's all about Jenny.
I get shy and tongue-tied around strangers but Jenny will make strangers feel like her best friend. I get nervous about approaching people I don't know but she'll invite guys to join us and within minutes is handing out her phone number. She has a successful career, tells great stories and exudes sex appeal. I suck at talking about myself and feel drab beside her. A few times, for whatever reason, the guy we started to talk to was into me. And every time -- I am not exaggerating -- Jenny inserted herself in the conversation, sometimes literally standing between us, took control and stole the guy's attention.
Recently we were out, and I met a guy I really clicked with. Then along came Jenny, and she ended up leaving with him. The next day I was still pretty upset, so I told her so. I said he'd talked to me first and I didn't appreciate how she swooped in and snatched him. I expected an apology but instead Jenny told me I was being crazy, that the guy obviously was just talking to me to get to her, and I needed to spend more time worrying about myself and improving my self-confidence. Ugh!
I don't know what to do to deal with her moving forward. If we stay besties, I think I'm doomed to a life of watching Jenny get hit on. Advice?
-- Always Outshone
Darn that super-charming, attention-hogging, conversation-taking-over, boy-stealing Jenny!!
This must be exactly how Khloe and Kourtney feel around Kim, or, for our male readers, how Chris Bosh feels around LeBron James ... or how all my friends feel when they're out with me!
The spotlight shines brightest on the biggest stars, and hey, we can't all be MVPs (most valuable playas). You have to know your role -- you're the sidekick, the wingman, the entourage, the bass player -- and appreciate that you're lucky you have a friend who attracts so much attention, because she certainly can't take all of the cute boys home! Leftovers for you!
Or, you could step your game up and tell your bestie that you love her but if she tries to snatch another boy away from you that you're gonna go buck wild on her! Best friends don't sabotage, they support. If she doesn't get that, she's not your best friend and it's time to get a new party partner.
Your call: Keep riding the bench or start scoring?
This reminds me of a time in college when my friend Jay told me I was like Barbie and my BFF was like Skipper. "Skipper" was standing right there when he said it -- and she didn't find the comparison to a less-attractive sidekick doll one bit funny. But Skipper didn't get mad: she got serious. Years later she told me she actually had a crush on Jay and his comment spurred her to action -- to explore new friendships, take risks and to unabashedly celebrate the things that made her special and unique.
You will never be Jenny, and that's OK. Likewise, Jenny will never be you. What makes you special? What amazing qualities will you bring to a relationship? Know your product, define your brand, and then sell the heck out of yourself!
And don't assume Jenny is Miss Self-Esteem. Anyone who so urgently craves the spotlight and has to gobble up every man for herself is likely overcompensating for something. Be the bigger friend and offer to be there if she ever needs to talk about it.
• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and believes in retail therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at email@example.com.