Advice for an overweight woman whose friend tells her what to eat.

Advice on sticky friendship dilemmas.
Dec. 14 2010 10:11 AM

My Pal Is the Food Police

I know I'm overweight, but does my friend have the right to tell me what to eat?

(Continued from Page 1)

If Sabrina is your real friend here—and if, despite feeling piled upon, you're keen to repair relations—you need to prove to her that your first allegiance is still to her. Invite her out to dinner and a movie or buy her a thoughtful gift and tell her in a card how much you value her friendship. Hopefully, with time, all will be forgiven. (And next time, if it's just a couple of buddies going out for a beer on the corner, send an old-fashioned e-mail instead.)

Sincerely,
Friend or Foe

Dear Friend or Foe,
I became friendly with a man I work with, "Stan," and then his partner, "Rick." They seem to blow hot and cold. Stan won't answer an e-mail/text/phone call; then he will act surprised when I ask him what happened. Once, I invited him to do something and he agreed; later, when I tried to contact him regarding details of our get-together, he told me I was being "pushy." And last week, when I asked whether he and Rick were available at a specific time, he made a vague comment about how they were "not being very social." If they're having relationship problems, it's another story—they're eager to hang out. I've also "come to the rescue" several times when they were in a crisis.

 I've always given Stan and Rick a bit more slack because they're guys, and guys are alien beings in many ways. (I probably wouldn't tolerate this kind of behavior from my girlfriends.) Plus, when we do get together, it's fun. I also understand that adults are busy and have many commitments. But when I'm not available, I simply tell somebody that fact. (We're not kids anymore—all of us are in our 40s.) I feel as if Stan and Rick always putting me off because they're hoping something better will come along in terms of a social event—even as they continue to use me when it's convenient. Or are they just flaky and unreliable? I can't decide whether to have a polite confrontation and ask why this behavior persists or just move on and forget about them. Moreover, if this is their mode of interaction with everybody—I don't know whether it is—shouldn't somebody step up and say something?

Advertisement

Sincerely,
Mildly Irritated

Dear MI,
It sounds to me like Stan and Rick want to be casual friends with you with an accent on the casual. I don't think it's a "guy" issue in particular. When someone says, "We're not feeling very social right now," in response to an invitation—and unless there are known depression or anxiety issues there—it's usually code for, "It's nice knowing you, but not nice enough to actually want to get together for dinner." In short, we're happy to be friendly—and even have you feed the cat when we're away at a funeral—but don't expect an invitation to our birthday. The "pushy" line doesn't bode well, either, since it sound like the details you were alluding to were details regarding where and when Stan should show up to reap your hospitality.

My advice: Take a step back and let him and Rick come after you with real invitations or not. It's not fair of them to treat you like some creaky old aunt and then expect you to come through in a crisis. (And, if you don't mind my saying, you sound like someone who allows herself to get stepped on a little too often; many would have "checked out" of the friendship after the second e-mail wasn't returned.) As for instructing them on the error of their ways, I wouldn't bother. If others get the hot-cold treatment, too, Stan and Rick will learn soon enough that friendships have to be reciprocated or else they'll cease to exist.

Sincerely,
Friend or Foe

Like  DoubleX on Facebook. Follow us  on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 2:05 PM Paul Farmer Says Up to Ninety Percent of Those Infected Should Survive Ebola. Is He Right?
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 22 2014 2:27 PM Facebook Made $595 Million in the U.K. Last Year. It Paid $0 in Taxes
  Life
The Eye
Oct. 22 2014 1:01 PM The Surprisingly Xenophobic Origins of Wonder Bread
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 10:00 AM On the Internet, Men Are Called Names. Women Are Stalked and Sexually Harassed.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 2:59 PM Netizen Report: Twitter Users Under Fire in Mexico, Venezuela, Turkey
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.