I hadn’t seen my FOFriend, Tara, for a few months, during which time I’d put on more weight than I’d like to admit. I’ve been working 10 hours a day and picking non-stop at the cupcakes, layer cakes, biscuits, doughnuts, cornbread, muffins and cookies that David brings home non-stop. (He swims 60 minutes a day, so his pastry diet doesn’t hurt him.)
Anyhow, Tara and I were walking out of an evening event we had both recently attended, and the first thing she said was ‘You look heavier.’
“Wow, you think?” I wanted to say, sarcastically, but held my tongue. Interestingly, I thought her face looked a bit puffy when I first saw her, like she had been drinking a tad too much. No need to say anything, I reasoned. If she’s been drinking too much, she knows it. Even if she doesn’t, my telling her probably won’t get her to stop.
I was still thinking of Tara’s remark the next day, so my ‘high school self’ emerged and I dashed off this email:
Tara immediately emailed back that she was “concerned about my health” and would never ever want to upset me. I assured her that my health is in good shape, I probably won’t die with 20 extra pounds and I intend to lose them.
Tara and I continue to adore one another, but her comment got me thinking about our motivations when we pick at, criticize or condemn the actions of someone we love. We’re all guilty of one or the other transgression—sometimes intentionally, sometimes not—but I suggest we need to think twice before we indiscriminately open our mouths and act like petulant teenagers.
When I told my sister, Shelley (who has lost a ton of weight in the last couple of years and looks great) about Tara’s comment, she told me her own story: “I recently ran into a former co-worker when I was at the mall and the first thing she said was, ‘Oh my God, are you sick?’”
While getting older is liberating in many cases, that’s no reason we need to abandon the good sense we picked up along the way. When we were teenagers, we talked behind our friend’s back if she gained weight. Blurting it to someone’s face doesn’t make it more acceptable, just because you’re FOF.