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My Fat Friend--snapshot of a relationship

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

I have a Fat Friend. Of course I am fat too. I met my friend at a large Committee Meeting about 24 years ago. She asked me out for coffee after the meeting and I was flattered---nobody was interested in me or my ideas; nobody ever invited me anywhere and I was overweight. She was overweight too. We had a really nice talk and had coffee---and some sort of dessert confections. We exchanged telephone numbers and she called me shortly thereafter.

"Do you want to go hang out at the Fat Ladies' Store?" she asked. I was a bit flabbergasted. At this point before there was much in the way of mail-order commerce, I had slunk into some of the "plus sized" or "queen sized" stores, furtively, on my own. We got some clothing together and then we went out to eat.

My new friend, Miss B. I will call her, was all about fat-acceptance. I knew little of that movement and could never feel as carefree and insouciant in my body as she did in her body. We started to see each other fairly often---yes, we were friends but it seemed an obligatory part of the friendship that we go out to eat together. She is unmarried and I had a family life and children so she often told me that we really had to go out to eat because while I had a family to go out with, she had nobody.

I think she likes me; I really do. But I think she was looking for a Fat Friend. An Eating Buddy.

I started Sparking seriously about two years ago and I have often asked that we simply go out for coffee and she will get pastry and I will not. When we go out to dinner I try hard to avoid the bread and to order wisely. I have started talking about health and my health concerns.

She has told me that I am "no fun anymore".

We have not had an argument but she has been bugging me to go to a Sunday buffet for months. We've been there in the past--but rarely-- for it's quite costly. $26.00 per person. I asked her if we could go to a regular restaurant. I said "There's just too much to eat" and she said "But isn't that the point?"

"Nor for me" I said.

I could not do it. I just could not each much. The food was middling and lukewarm at best. I had one egg and a couple of pieces of bacon. That's a lot of money! She kept telling me I should go get my money's worth. I told her it was worth it not to overeat.

I felt that she was losing respect for me and I was losing respect for her. It was not easy.
I realize that she wants me primarily as an eating companion. She told me that we didn't have much in that I was so obsessed with not eating.

So it was a friendship built on food. And I told her that I'd be happy to go out with her again but not to a buffet. "I don't think you really appreciate me," she said........
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You have my sympathy. I got dropped from my "dinner club." It was a group of attorneys (I was flattered to be included, I'm not a lawyer) and we would go out to eat at a new, hip restaurant about once every 3 weeks. After I started my new healthy eating habits, I became persona non grata. I never mentioned anything about what I was eating, but the fact that I was drinking only 1 glass of wine and ordering a lot of salads and veg was disturbing to the others. I miss the camaraderie. I felt rejected but tried to remember other times in my life when I've quit unhealthy habits and it pretty much went the same way. I think that one of the themes in the movie Trainspotting is you really can't keep your get-high friends when you clean up. The friendships are not built on solid ground.
    1743 days ago
    What an interesting blog! I have not had the same experience but noticed when I stopped drinking that some people – thankfully not any of my closer freinds – felt uncomfortable with me drinking water when they were having wine. I had the same problem with finding other ways of being social - and noticed that some did not want to do the same - the "best" way to meet was over dinner and drink.
    1747 days ago
    Wow!!! It takes alot to stand up to a friend esp one that is toxic to you getting healthy!!! Proud of you for doing so!!!! Keep up the good work!!!
    1751 days ago
    The same thing often happens when one friend quits smoking or drinking or starts exercising. If both people in a couple are couch potatoes and one starts exercising hard, the other often resents it... the change is uncomfortable because they don't want to think about what it says about THEM for not improving their lifestyles, too. If she hasn't even asked you questions about how you are doing on your program, whether you are feeling better and commented on the changes in your appearance, then she is clearly not showing interest in you as a person, anyway.
    1751 days ago
    Well done for not relapsing to assuage her guilt! That I think is the hardest part of dealing with addictions. Food isn't as recognised an addiction as alcohol, drugs etc etc - but the same thing happens to those that for example drink too much and then give up altogether. A very close friend of mine (and we have been friends before during and after her drinking bouts) says the hardest thing about giving up alcohol for her is the loss of all that camaraderie - all the drinking buddies that she used to have who think she is no fun anymore. It seems that you in changing her lifestyle are similarly a reproach to your friend - and being with you eating healthily maybe makes her unconsciously feel she has to deal with something she doesn't want at this time to think about - her health. It is a realisation she has to come to on her own and maybe then you can be salad/theatre/walking/coffee friends. But if she feels she has to make you guilty for choosing health, then you can't be friends.
    1751 days ago
    Is hard to make a comment, but I think friendship is acceptance of everything from each other, commitment and empower, I have a fat friend as my self and always we trying to empower each other to pursuit our goals about loosing weight. Don't worrie because if she doesnt accept you is because she never been your friend. emoticon
    1751 days ago
    I think what you've written here so eloquently sums up many toxic friendships. Good for you for taking care of yourself! emoticon
    1751 days ago
    I read somewhere recently that the average friendship actually lasts about 7 years: it's normal for friendships to fade away, apparently.

    And: I too lost friends when I lost weight. Some people preferred me fat, I guess: or felt uncomfortable with me when I stopped being fat. There is solid research indicating that hanging around with fat people increases the chance of being fat oneself . . . for pretty obvious reasons I guess . . . but it was never me who broke off the relationships with the (former) fat friends.
    1751 days ago
    I had a friend at work and we always went out for lunch together. She was overweight, as i was. Then I joined SP and started losing and quit going out to lunch. I brought healthy foods from home and ate in my office. She was still my friend, but not in the same way. She talked about losing weight, too, and I encouraged her, but she never did lose much. Now we are both retired and we never see each other. I guess she was just a food friend.
    1751 days ago
    Not all friendships are meant to last forever.
    Spark on!
    1751 days ago
    Wow i am very proud of you for standing up for your health even with her pushing to eat more. emoticon Maybe you can talk to her about how you are trying to make a change for yourself and would love to continue being her friend but it can not revolve around food. Hopefully she can be motivated by your example instead of pushing u away cuz you dont want to eat
    1752 days ago
    Sometimes our so called friends can bring us down to their level as it makes them feel ok about themselves. I have found this in any type of situation. Pick and choose your friends wisely. Thanks for sharing this.
    1752 days ago
    emoticon Its sad if you are losing a friend, but we can always hope that at some time she will realize eating healthy is about more than how we LOOK, its about how healthy we are! If you met her 24 years ago I have to assume she is in her forties or fifties - and with an unhealthy lifestyle chances are good that at some point in the near future her HEALTH will help her understand why you are making the choices you are making. At that time she will need the help you'll be able to give her.

    I'm SO with you about buffets - I avoid them like the plague. I LOVE food and its so hard for me to stay on a healthy plan at them. You are setting a wonderful example for your friend - if she chooses to ignore it that is HER choice!!
    1752 days ago
    Whoa. How sad for her. The thing that strikes me is that she does not seem to want to know you as you are...which is a fascinating person with wide-ranging interests other than food and healthy living. And that she has, under the bravado, a very low self-image, if she thinks you cannot appreciate her just because you are not matching her food intake. She's bound to have some other interests in life...

    Be yourself, be it Adagio Con Brio or Allegro Maestoso (I love that idea!), and focus on the real Miss B behind the fork...things will either blossom or decay and that is fine. emoticon
    1752 days ago
    It is a shame that you are moving to improve your health and your friend cannot.
    1752 days ago
    is this her cover-up for a guilty conscience and frustration about her extra pounds? or is she in a state of denial?
    whatever, it doesn't sound like a constructive friendship for you.
    beware the feeders!

    and p.s., go allegro maestoso!
    1752 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/9/2013 2:52:50 AM
    Really interesting perspective. Wouldn't it be nice if she got bitten by the healthier-lifestyle "bug" and you ended up rekindling the friendship to go to a gym together, or find healthy recipes to exchange... maybe someday she will begin to move in that direction, and you two will have a new basis for friendship.
    1752 days ago
    Im so sorry that she is acting the way that she is. Its sad to see someone that you really like just not care about themselves. I think a lot of people use food as comfort...eating together is like bonding. She, however, is extreme with her opinions of food. Sometimes you have to just let those types of people go.

    Perhaps with some afterthought, shell choose better things but if she doesnt, you have done WONDERFUL! Sometimes you can be a beacon for someone else, sometimes they close their eyes to your light.

    You are on the right path and those that truly care about you and want to be friends will follow you on that path. The rest will wander into the wilderness where they belong!

    1752 days ago
  • POPSY190
    Unfortunately so much social intercourse is food based that overdoing it has become the norm. When I started my reading group I made sure people knew there would be a drink provided but no food and as a result the reading is the main focus when we meet rather than the afternoon tea! It's hard when by doing the right things you become a living reproach to others; I don't think these food based relationships are retrievable once damaged, especially if one partner has been using the friendship to justify and reinforce bad food habits.
    I think you have undergone a name change while I was in Australia. I do like the new one, and they are certainly words for life. I also find your background page delightful. emoticon
    1752 days ago
    Oh! I winced when I read this account of your relationship with your friend. It's sad that she's harboring so much resentment of your new lifestyle. And it's good that you can sort it out by writing about it.
    You're so right about that food not being worth it to overeat, and it's so difficult to be faced with a buffet full of food. Kudos to you for knowing what you want and for having the courage to stand up for what's best for you.

    1752 days ago
  • 1SALMON1
    Wow! People are hardly ever that blatant about seeking others to share their addictive behavior - but I know they do. Eating as a recreational activity. I'm sorry you were treated so poorly. I'm going to be mulling this one over for a while. I don't know if I feel sorry for this person, or if I'm mad at her, or what...
    1752 days ago
    I am sorry that you are losing a friend. I had one like that, we went out to eat for 2 years and we were both big but she was bigger. When I no longer wanted to eat salad, dinner and dessert she would get angry. I couldn't eat dessert. I'd always say I'm full now, maybe we can get ice cream later. Then later would come and I'd say you can get ice cream but I'm still full. She would get so mad, "I can't get ice cream if you don't get ice cream!" Um, how does that work? Then when we'd go out and before I'd order, she'd say "You aren't going to get a salad, are you?! Because if you do then I will have to and I don't want a salad." She was so worried about "looking fatter" than me based on her actions, and she couldn't eat dessert alone and she couldn't get a burger if I got a salad because she didn't want people to think she was "fat". Um, who cares what people think, and they can clearly see we are fat, no matter what we order LOL.

    Anyways, I think we have all been and had that "fat friend" and when one person changes for the better, it can end the friendship. It is hard but I am proud of you for standing up for yourself and doing what is right for you!! emoticon
    1752 days ago
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