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Dear Webby

Dear Webby,

What do you say when you meet someone you haven't seen in a while and they have had a dramatic change in appearance?

I'm referring to things such as a balding man suddenly with a full head of hair or a woman who has obviously had plastic surgery.

Is it better to say nothing about the changes?

Not fooling anyone

Dear Not Being Fooled

Until I saw your signature line I thought 'what a considerate person, she doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings.' Now I wonder if you just want a nice way to let them know you know.

Webby will assume the first.

Webby would stay away from the plastic surgery comments. No matter how much they had done, most people would rather that we believe they always looked like this or have worked out at the gym to get there.

Stay away from the balding head comments also. Let them bring up any specifics if they choose.

When in doubt, saying nothing is the safest but a non-specific compliment is nicest. An "It's been so long. You look terrific" or something similar should do it.

A person who had blond hair and it is now a brunette or has purple or orange spikes wants you to notice it. "Great hair" or "I like your new doo" should be sufficient.

Commenting on a dramatic weight loss depends on the person. How about something like "you look fabulous - please tell me your secret." We have to be careful because many people lose their hair and weight due to illness.

There used to be a stigma attached to coloring gray hair, plastic surgery and the like. However, in these youth oriented times, such modifications are commonplace. Not keeping up could even cost you your job (not that your employer would admit it).

We all want to look our best and Webby says if a rug does it for you, go for it.

Webby herself always feels better after coloring the gray.


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