The Friendship Doctor

Send in your friendship questions and quandaries and get expert answers and solutions

A Friend Who Nags Me About My Weight

Discussions about weight may be more than that.

QUESTION

Dear Irene, 

My friend had been making jabs about my weight for months. Two years ago, I lost 40 pounds and then put it all back on. She began by telling me I eat horribly. To which I replied: You have to stop monitoring my food intake. Not only do you do this to me but you talk about other people with comments like "Did you see what he ate? It's no wonder he is fat".   

After that we had a six-hour discussion with her telling me everything she doesn't like about me. I thought it was all settled only to have her cancel a visit to my house scheduled for the next week.   

Now I don't want to go to group events where we both will be because it will make everyone feel awkward. This group all knows how she is and wants us to continue coming to these group events but...

1) I don't want to see her. 

2) I don't want to make everyone else uncomfortable. 

Should I go and face the music as others have suggested, or give it more time until there is some distance before we "face off" again?

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Thanks. Lisa

 

ANSWER

Dear Lisa,

If your friend's comments about your weight and diet stemmed from genuine concerns for your health and well-being, she wouldn't have launched into a litany of other complaints. It sounds like she is a frenemy, who is ambivalent, if not openly hostile, about your friendship

No one, especially someone who has just put on weight, likes to have her/his food intake policed by someone else so I can understand your being upset with her behavior. But if you can't communicate with a friend over disagreements without her getting even more riled up, this doesn't bode well for your relationship. 

You absolutely shouldn't "face off" again. You've aired your concerns (for six hours!) and it seems like the ball is in her court to reflect on what she has done/said and apologize. Just a pointer for next time (if you are arguing with her or someone else), you probably should stick to how she treats you (rather than bringing in other people) when you have a heated discussion like this, and not have let it gone on for so long. 

Don't punish yourself for what happened by removing yourself from the group. Act cordially to your friend when you see her, don't engage in any further arguments, and resist the urge to badmouth her to others. While some friends may sense that the two of you aren't as close as you once were, it would be far more uncomfortable for them to have you drop out of the group.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., is a psychologist and professor of psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine. Her latest book is Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend.

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