Spending time with a friend

The following is a letter from a reader, the subject – a friend’s weight loss and the reader’s difficulty in spending time with her since the weight loss. Our reader wonders why she is having this trouble hanging out with her friend.

Dear Mama H,

Recently a close friend of mine lost a lot of weight and looks great. She’s not an overly gorgeous girl, but definitely looks better now. Plus her newfound confidence shines out of her.

I haven’t really seen her lately due to our schedules – ok, let’s be honest – I admit I have made up excuses not to see her or hang out because of her recent weight loss.

I’ve been struggling with my weight for a very long time, most of it genetic and nothing I can really do other than be as careful and healthy as I can. I eat right and I work out. I do what I can.

However this is something I know she feels amazing about, and for some reason we’ve always had a bit of a competition- but mentally, nothing that is really publicly known or acknowledged between us or anyone else.

I’m not jealous of her loss, however until I lose a little, and until I feel even better about myself and my looks, which is something I’m working on at the moment, I don’t want to really hang out with her alone or in a group.

We also have had a lot of drama over the years during our friendship. However I’m curious if me not wanting to see her in person and spend time with her due to her weight loss was something I am being weird and crazy about or if it’s just a woman thing.

Please advise.

So readers, what do you think? Does the reader’s reluctance to spend time with her friend make sense to you? Is she jealous, even though she says she isn’t? Can you identify with the way she is feeling? If her own self-image was better, would she be able to just be happy for her friend?

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8 Comments

  1. lady lock and load says:

    I frequently hear this being discussed at weight watchers…that people who lost weight lost their “fat” friends too! I think the writer of the letter is trying to do some soul searching to understand why she is reacting this way. I hope she will be able to reconnect with her friend and get over this. It is very hurtful when someone you are close with drops you (speaking from personal experience).

  2. fille says:

    I don’t think that weight loss is the main issue here.

    I think it’s more about her new assertiveness.

    And in this, I can understand you. I had a friend who became very assertive once she had children, and more and more so over the years.

    To me, she is not the same person any more and our friendship was lost.

    So, yes: if a person becomes more assertive or changes personality, you have to cope with a “new person” to some extend, and see whether it works or not. It might be that it doesn’t. That’s life.

  3. I lost 86# this year and have found it in reverse…I have a hard time spending time with my extremely overweight friend who refuses to accept she needs help. Now there are other things going on with her too including serious health issues due to the serious obesity but I have issues. Its something we constantly bicker about when together. How I think she needs to take control and how she has every excuse known to man why she won’t.

    I know a lot of people are uncomfortable around me. Not only do I not weigh the same, I don’t LOOK the same. People don’t recognize me anymore.

    Perhaps your reader feels that her friend will be judgmental about her being overweight. I know I always assumed skinny folk judged heavy folk and looked down on them. If she does, then that’s something I think she needs to be up front about with her friend. With my own overweight friend, its something I have always been critical about even when I, myself, was heavy simply because her health issues behind the weight (ruptured aorta) are severe.

    I can say it hurts from the person who lost the weights side to have this happen. Inside I still see myself as the fat girl. I look at myself and see someone still obese. Its a weird kind of support we need to accept our new bodies. At least for me this is true.

  4. “my extremely overweight friend who refuses to accept she needs help”

    I’m sorry, but this is exactly part of the problem. It’s not up to you to pass judgment on someone else. If you want to judge yourself, go ahead and be my guest, but you really should not be judging other people and saying “she needs help” or trying to force her to do something. Outside pressure on people to do something (whether to lose weight or anything else) is extremely unlikely to make a difference. People who make significant changes in their lives that are long lasting rather than short lived do so because THEY wanted to, not because someone else passed judgment on them.

    I gained a lot of weight in the last few years and I heard plenty of times from plenty of people, “you should lost some weight” or “your health is suffering”, but until I decided that I was going to buckle down and do something about it, there’s nothing that anyone else’s opinion could have done about it. Every time my mom questioned what I was eating, it literally made me go the other way. I would order the most high fat, high carb, artery clogging on the menu just to prove that it was my life and I was going to do what I wanted. Every time she said, well are you going to go to the gym with us, I would go upstairs and get back in bed just to prove the same thing. Now, I finally decided that I wanted to get healthy for ME and I’ve changed my eating habits and lost a good amount of weight already.

    You may not always know what’s going on with your friend, even if you do know some of the health issues she has been experiencing as a result of her weight. Part of the reason I gained weight was that I was going through some severe emotional and psychological issues. Did most people know about that? No. Was it any of their business? No. Even my best friends and my family didn’t really know what I was going through. Oftentimes what you see on the outside is a result on something going on on the inside and you may not always be aware. Don’t assume you always know what’s going on, even with good friends. You being judgmental and critical of her actions (or your perceived lack thereof on her part) doesn’t help. Being a good friend means not judging.

  5. ima2seven says:

    I think she is expressing some very self-aware feelings, and I for one am impressed with that. It doesn’t sound to me like she is punishing the friend, or that she has made a permanent decision, just that she needs some space. I think lots of people have those feelings, and act that way, but perhaps just don’t admit to themselves what is really going on. I hope she takes the time and space she needs, and then moves on to be happy for the friend and happy with herself.

  6. Maybe it’s because I’m male, but I have a different perspective on this one than some of the other commenters. This woman’s feelings are valid – she’s entitled to feel envious or jealous. But it’s selfish of her to let those feelings regulate her behavior. She’s pushing a friend away because of her own insecurities. That’s a really terrible reason to damage a friendship. It’s not like the friend who lost weight did anything wrong. So the questioner needs to work to get over her feelings and hide them from her friend and maintain the friendship in the same way it was before.

  7. Z! says:

    I liken massive/minor weight loss to finding religion. For some people, it’s a private thing. They wouldn’t dream of trying to push others into doing it too, but for some and I dare say most- they want EVERYONE to feel the same passion for their new found control and health that they do. To share in this incredible experience of feeling better about oneself. But, just like religion, it is a personal decision and no one can be pushed into believing.
    It sounds like the fatter girl is a bit jealous that her friend has been able to pick herself up and control herself in ways that the fatter friend is not capable of or willing to do right now. Now, weight, much like religion, can/does loose its fervor and eventually, the ‘now thin’ friend will either settle into her new way of life or gain the weight back. The question is, can the fatter friend accept these changes? And if the roles were reversed, how would she feel and behave?

  8. shorty says:

    i totally get how she is feeling. being around ladies who are pregnant or who recently had their babies is hard. I am happy for them but i feel sad inside.

    And right now i am playing avoidance with two people i know who are pregnant. I just can’t deal with it emotionally.

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