I get it. You just met someone who is really really nice, but they’re fat. This situation happens hundreds of times over. There’s a dynamic in thin person-fat person friendships, unfortunately, though, that when taken too far, can make them…unfriendshiplike
Here’s the thing – if you have any sort of agenda regarding your friend changing their diet and/or losing weight/exercising more, you can’t be their friend. At all. Stop attempting it.
Isn’t that a little harsh?
Yes, but before you rush to the defense of Thin People Everywhere Doing The Good Deed, consider just…what you’re doing, and consider that the people you make into weight-loss projects are people with more in their lives than the need/want/lack of want to lose weight. There’s more going on.
I had surgery last week (due to complications from being hit by a car 6 months ago, before you rush to the ‘but you’re so unhealthy’ conclusion which you’ll do anyway) and I had friends who were still preoccupied on my diet. I shut one of these friends down immediately, because they were trying to make it into a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting and they haven’t known me for more than two weeks. Thus, they don’t have the ability to get ANY clue of the nuances and complications in my relationship with food and weight. Which is…you know…a personal thing.
I didn’t continue the conversation with said friend. I went into my room, laid on my floor, turned on the music on my computer to a particular playlist that reminds me of my dad and cried because I miss him, and it was difficult to go through surgery without his protection.
There’s more to me. And from a friend? I could’ve used someone to be there to talk about that, to talk about how much I miss my dad, to talk about how surgery went. To talk about whether I’m okay now. Not…not a talk about how I need to lose weight. Not now, not here, and not when you have no idea what you’re talking about.
I’ve noticed a pattern with these types of people, because with 26 years of unacceptable-fatness I’ve encountered tons of ‘You will be my new project!’ Friends.
1. They meet me.
(Are they ONLY thinking about how fat I am when they meet me? This part of the equation honestly disturbs me. Are they thinking about how I like Doctor Who or how I spend most of my time at work or the fact that I share similar interests or just….just that I’m fat?)
2. They observe me doing an ‘unhealthy thing.’
This particular time (that led me to write this blog) was me eating a twinkie. I ate the twinkie because I haven’t had one in forever, they just came back, and hell, why not. Yes I know demon food blahblahblah. Said person observed it, asked rudely how you could possibly eat a twinkie, and then asked if I’d eaten the whole box.
Said person doesn’t know that I have eating disorder not otherwise specified- no, it doesn’t make you lose weight, please do your research – and that those comments can be jarring sometimes. They don’t know that I ate rebelliously against the forces in my head that were telling me to just never eat for about a week after that comment. Said person just doesn’t understand why someone would eat twinkies and approached the subject disrespectfully, but it’s no big deal to them. In fact, a fat person’s dietary habits are totally their business and up for public reproach.
3. They constantly invite me to go exercise.
This is the worst part, because I DO like to exercise. (Against…like…all popular perception.) This time it happened in the midst of a sports injury (I injured my ankle from walking too much in bad footwear, but I can’t really afford nice sneakers) where I was having trouble walking properly. That didn’t seem to matter, and it never does to ‘You are my project’ people, because to them, I just need exercise.
4. If I try to steer the friendship in any direction but me losing weight, it falls flat.
This includes talking about things other than ‘my bad choices’ and doing things other than working out. It’s easy to see how this kills a friendship pretty quickly, especially if I don’t want to talk to someone who is judgmental about my relationship with food, and I’m well aware that’s not up for public discussion just because I’m fat and the ‘friend’ thinks it is.
Thin people who do this, it’s very important that you digest this message- this is NOT real friendship. And we know this. It isn’t going to work to get us to lose weight. The only people who can do that are us, ourselves. And you look like a jerk -to us, to any thin person whose agenda around us is friendship, not weight loss. So shut up. Seriously, stop. If it bothers you enough that you’re around a person with a body type different then yours, stop being around that person.
If you want to be my friend, talk to me about how your day is going, or how excited I am about the new season of Sherlock, or what I’m going to write about for NaNoWriMo. Talk to me about literally anything but this. It’s not your business. You have to earn the right to ask these questions, and if you’re a friend worth keeping, you just won’t. It’s not helping and it’s not nice. It’s a way to show your true colors as someone who has no intentions but to make me your project. And hear this -
I am not your project.
Disclaimer- ‘But I know fat people who don’t mind.’ ‘I’m a fat person and I think you’re being oversensitive/over harsh.’ Okay! I literally don’t care if other fat people don’t mind. Being fat isn’t Just One experience with Just One Way To Feel. The likelihood is that whomever you treat like a project instead of a friend, thin, fat, or in between, and for any reason, is going to feel the same way I do, here, so ‘I know fat people who don’t mind’ won’t be relevant to my concerns and those types of comments won’t be published.