A friend and I recently got into a heated argument over her weight. I mentioned to ‘Suzie’ that she is quite heavy and should begin to think about taking steps to lose weight, before any medical complications begin. Suzie was angry and told me that her weight is none of my business. I tried explaining to her that as a fitness coach, it was hard for me to be friends with someone so obviously uncaring about their physical well-being. Unfortunately, Suzie said that if my friend group was going to be limited to thin people, she was happy to leave it. She hasn’t spoken to me since. How do I get Suzie to understand my point of view and that I am coming from a place of concern for her health?
Slim Kim in Kansas
Dear Slim Kim in Kansas,
Just when I think I have seen every variation of social catastrophe, a letter like this comes to my inbox. I actually had to take a break to eat a cookie after I read your dilemma – which I would bet was much tastier than the snack you got during this argument with your friend.
Is the taste of shoe leather still in your mouth?!
I could understand having concerns for a close friend’s health, if that friend actually had health issues to be concerned about. According to you, the argument was over her weight potentially becoming a health concern in the future. Since she has no actual health concerns as of yet, it seems you have ridden in on your white horse a bit too early. I should also point out another glaringly obvious fact that you seem to have overlooked.
Your friend has a doctor who can tell her these things.
However, by reading between the lines I think your actual problem is having a fat friend. You pointed out to Suzie that you are a fitness coach and find it hard to be friends with someone who is ‘so obviously uncaring’ about their well-being. What you didn’t explicitly state, but which nevertheless came through loud and clear, is that your reputation is at risk when you are seen socializing with a fat person.
Surely your reputation has more substance behind it.
A fitness coach should be a motivator of people who come to them. They should not browbeat their friends into becoming living ads to drum up more business. A fitness professional should also know better than to make assumptions about a person’s health and goals for their own body. I hope this is a one-time lapse in your judgement because if this is how you approach your clients, you will not be in business for very long.
Every person has their own body goals, your job is not to judge.Tweet
You were obviously friends with Suzie for a reason, whether or not that reason still exists is an entirely different matter. Not all friendships are meant to last forever and it’s time you did some soul searching to see if this friendship is worth saving. If you do want to salvage your relationship with Suzie, you can start by apologizing.
Enjoy that extra-large slice of humble pie.
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