How to Exercise Caution When Talking to Your Balding Buddy

When to be honest and when to keep your mouth shut

By The Editors
May 26, 2016 9:00 am

Few subjects are as emotionally fraught for even the most-level headed among us as hair loss: It’s aging, it’s looks, it’s health, in one messy basket. Take it from someone who knows: it sucks, at least (read: especially) in the beginning, before the mind has fully opened itself to the myriad opportunities presented in a strong, post-hair look.

If your buddy’s losing his hair, the situation requires a considered response — even if that response is to keep your trap shut. Here, five very real scenarios, and the answers they demand.

Your buddy is losing his hair and hasn’t mentioned it. Nothing to see here, folks! Moving on.

Your buddy is losing his hair and has started to wear a variety of hats. Hasn’t mentioned it? See above.

Your buddy is losing his hair and asks if you’ve noticed it, too. Real friends deserve honest appraisals, so resist the temptation to do the easy thing and deny it: Early-stage hair loss is unnerving, and the last thing you want to do is reverse-gaslight anybody. If you’ve noticed it, say so. Be specific and calm. Do not make jokes. Do make the most of an opportunity to discuss this one-on-one. Chances are it’s not as bad as he thinks.

Your buddy is losing his hair and committing styling errors that are hampering his ability to present his best self in romantic and professional scenarios. Ladies love a bald guy. They are less enthusiastic about one with comb-over or extreme surgical remedies. This dilemma has the same contours as a bad-breath situation: Do you tell someone you love that he has bad breath? Good friends do. They don’t dick around; they don’t make hints. They say, “Dude, you gotta stop that,” once, explain why, and let it go.

Your buddy is losing his hair due to a serious medical condition. Camaraderie counts: If you’re in a position to shave off yours in solidarity, go for it.

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