A gentle way to discuss friend's weight - Newsday

A gentle way to discuss friend's weight

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Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist. ...

DEAR AMY: My best friend and I have known each other since we were 5 years old. We are now 22. Neither of us has ever been skinny, but where I lost 20 pounds when we started college and kept it off through steady diet and exercise, my friend is now extremely overweight, and I am becoming increasingly concerned about her health. Recently, we were going up a flight of steps together. When I got to the top, I realized she was struggling. I worry about the strain her weight is putting on her heart and the consequences it will have for her health, but I'm not sure how I can help her. We are very close and talk about most everything, but we've never discussed her weight. I feel like I shouldn't say anything unless she brings it up. She is an adult and she obviously knows she is overweight, and can thus decide for herself what (if anything) she wants to do about it.

I don't think it's my place to lecture her about her weight. She is busy working multiple jobs. I'm not sure how often she cooks her own food. I wish I could see her healthier. Is there anything I can do if she never brings up the subject?Best Friend

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DEAR FRIEND: Friends ask questions, listen to the answers, tell the truth (kindly) and offer compassionate support.

This should not translate into lecturing; this is the intimacy offered by true friendship.

You could initiate a discussion about weight with your friend by saying, "I'm worried about your health lately. Do you want to talk about weight? You know I've struggled with this so much, and I might be able to help if you are open to it. At least we can talk about it if you want to."

My own experience is that having an "exercise buddy" can be transformative. If you and your friend are able to walk regularly together, by springtime you may be able to start jogging.

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