My Friend Comments on People’s Weight (and I’m Not So Slim)

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Social Q’s

Medically, I am right on the cusp of being overweight. I struggle with people’s perceptions that my size is the result of lethargy or unhealthy behavior. My friend knows all this. Still, he often tells me about rejecting men who are interested in him because they are “cute in the face, but fat.” He may not realize how his statements affect me, and his past encouragement has meant a lot. But I’ve worked so hard to feel decent about myself, and his comments really sting. What should I do?


Here’s a two-prong attack. Only you can decide whether to deploy one or both (or neither). Stopping your friend’s hurtful comments should not be hard. Say: “Mark, your support has meant the world to me. But when you tell me that people are too fat to date, it really gets me down. Can you stop that, please?” Fat shaming, be gone.

But let’s be candid. This route only silences him from voicing thoughts he will continue to think. (Is that enough for you?) To truly change his heart, you will have to engage him more deeply. “Are you really saying that some extra weight makes a person inherently unworthy of a date with you? That’s a pretty shallow view.”

Many people in your friend’s position will claim mere personal preference. A pal took me on a tour of a dating app recently where many profiles included the language: “No blacks or Asians. Sorry, just my preference.” (No, I’m sorry. Your “preference” is racist and nasty, and you should examine it — along with your shriveled heart.)

Now, this subject may be too charged for you to broach with this guy. I respect that, too. But if his friendship means anything to you, standing up for yourself and others is a baseline requirement. And if you actually get through to him, you will be doing him — and your self-esteem — a big favor.

2 Dates Forward, 2 Dates Back

I have been dating this guy I met at yoga for a few weeks now. The first and third dates were awesome: full of sexy energy and great conversation. But the second and fourth dates were awful: blah and so dull. Should I break up with him?


Have you been standing on your head too long? Of course you shouldn’t break up with him — or anyone else who is “awesome” 50 percent of the time. So far, you’ve had an uneven dating experience. That’s all. (Like the second season of “Master of None,” in which hanging around with Aziz Ansari is delightful, until he starts relying too heavily on an Italian goddess-girlfriend plot — which isn’t so great.)

Consider what the amazing dates had in common: lower expectations, maybe? Quieter venues? Less midweek exhaustion? Or maybe it’s easier to find commonalities among the bad dates and avoid those. Just keep going. Each relationship unfolds in its own time. And when three dates in a row are duds, you have my permission to dump your half-awesome guy.

Where Invitations Go to Die

A month ago, I invited three colleagues (with their spouses) to dinner at my house. I used group-text to invite them. Two replied immediately that they would love to come, but had to check the date with their spouses. The third never replied. The two who were checking never got back to me. The date is this weekend. My husband thinks they are all rude and I should cancel. I feel insulted. I was looking forward to dinner, but didn’t write them again. I didn’t think it was my responsibility. Any ideas?


If it’s any consolation, I hear this story nonstop — and not just with text invitations, but also those that come by email, phone and actual cards in the mail. Undoubtedly, you and your husband are correct: Your colleagues have behaved rudely, and writing again was not your responsibility. But look where standing on ceremony has left you: feeling insulted and disappointed.

Next time, consider following up with a phone call (or another text, if you are wedded to the passive, digital approach). Exceeding your responsibility may make you happier in the end. Worth it! As for your current predicament, send a closing text: “Sorry the date didn’t work.” People are strange. The last thing you want is for them to show up unexpectedly at your door.

Conduit for Condolences

An old friend suffered a terrible tragedy. Some mutual friends who had lost touch with her asked me for her address to connect with her. A few others asked me to pass along their condolences for them. I said I would, but I had no intention of doing so. How could I have refused without putting them on the defensive?


Go with the truth. Say: “I think it would mean more to Mary hearing from you directly. May I send you her contact information?” It can be scary to wade into the tragedies of others — as if we’re butting in. (I promise: We’re not!) And the smallest gestures of kindness mean so much to people who are grieving.