Dear Barb – Avoiding the Superficial

Dear Barb:

Karen and I have been good friends since grade school, but lately I find that she has changed. She began to change after she split up with her husband. She lost a lot of weight and started working out, which are all good things, but she has also had breast implants and additional cosmetic surgery. Karen not only looks like a different person, she acts like a different person. I find it difficult to spend time with her, as she just wants to talk about her latest procedure and how good she looks. I am not jealous, but I don’t have anything in common with her anymore, however she keeps calling and wanting to come over. I agree to get together with her because we both have young daughters and they like to play together. How can I distance myself from this relationship without causing a major rift between us?
Thanks Sara.

Hey Sarah:

People often change after a relationship ends. Karen may be trying to find herself or searching for a new image. Often this change impacts close relationships. She may eventually settle down and return to the person you knew or she may maintain her new image. It might be a good idea to distance yourself from this relationship while this transition takes place. Perhaps you could explain that you understand she is going through a difficult time, but that you are not comfortable with the change in her. Recommend that at this point in your lives a bit of space may be necessary. She might take offense or even want to end the relationship. If you are not prepared to take the risk that she may choose to end the friendship another option would be to avoid her for a while and see how things play out. Relationships come and go throughout our lives and we can’t always control the outcome. Good Luck Sarah!

Dear Barb:

I am wondering if I am being a little too superficial. I am 40 and my hair is on the thin side so I got a hair extension that I add to my pony-tail to make my hair look thicker. I don’t have long luscious eye-lashes anymore, so I purchased extension-type mascara that makes my lashes look super long. I don’t do botox or plastic surgery and don’t plan to as I feel it is a little phoney, but is what I am doing bordering a phoney look?


Hey Valerie:

Great Question! There is nothing wrong with enhancing your appearance. Problems arise when a person believes changing their appearance will raise their self-esteem or alleviate depression or actually change who they are. No amount of surgery can accomplish that! On the other hand, have you talked to your physician about thinning hair, as there are many medical conditions that can cause this, including thyroid and autoimmune issues. As well, excessive use of chemicals on your hair can contribute to hair loss.

If everything physical checks out, go ahead, Valerie, enjoy your hair extensions!

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.