ASK JASMINE: “Friend in Doubt”
I feel like my friends don’t want me to lose weight. They always make fun of me for eating healthy. Should I end these friendships?
Dear Friend in Doubt,
I don’t have a lot of information to go on from your question, as far as what your relationships with friends are like and the circumstances around them making fun of you, or what is being said. Still, I will do my best to answer you with what I know about friendships and what can happen to some friendships during an individual’s weight loss journey or life changes in general. We’ve all heard that people lose friends as they improve their lives, getting healthier is no different. It is common for people losing weight to lose friends because of it. The loss of friendships may be due to one or many factors. Maybe your friends are insecure about their weight or something else that they haven’t had the guts to change like you have? Maybe they are jealous? Perhaps, they think that your weight loss will lead to losing you as friend, like a fear that you are going to trade them in for healthier or slimmer friends? The fact of the matter is you are changing, and your perception is that your friends are not adapting to that change or being supportive of that change.
Friends will tease us about almost anything from our hair to our ex-boyfriends. It may be coming from a harmless place, or it may not. Ask yourself what you know about each of your friends. Are they generally supportive, or have you experienced multiple instances of shade from them? Have they made fun of you in the past about other things? How did you react about other things? What makes this different for you?
As you are becoming a healthy person physically, your attitude and personality may also be changing. Has your attitude changed for better or for worse since you’ve been losing weight? What are the positive changes and the negative changes? Could your attitude change be playing a part in how your friends are behaving towards you? Sometimes as people try to reach a goal in their life that goal becomes their main focus, all they talk about and all they want to do. Sometimes people can become self-centered when trying to meet an important goal. Of course, it is okay and sometimes necessary for a person to focus on themselves, but the change in focus will naturally affect your relationships.
Before you jump to ending friendships, have you talked to your friends about how you feel about them making fun of your lifestyle change efforts? Did you have an open and honest conversation with them about how you need their support and that it is disappointing when they make fun of you. If you are willing to end friendships for a healthier lifestyle, I would guess that you are serious about it. I would not suggest that you let anyone’s negativity deter you. However, I also would not suggest that you end friendships without considering these things. As we change, some people will grow with us and we will outgrow some people. It is only for you to say if you have outgrown your friends, but first you have to take inventory of whom you are currently and who they are. Then talk to them about the issue you have with them and be open to hearing what they have to say, if you haven’t done so already. Tell them what you need from them while you are changing your life. Give them an opportunity to step up and be supportive. If they’re dismissive and continue to make fun of you, it is time to end those friendships. If you believe from what you know about them that they mean you harm, then it is time to end those friendships.
A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow. – William Shakespeare
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