May 4, 2016

Two old friends, let’s call them Jenny and Jackie, were talking recently about life and business and challenges, when the most difficult conversation of all arose. Wanting to initiate an intervention, Jenny said, “I want to talk about something that could ruin our friendship.” Intrigued, Jackie gave the go-ahead.

“You are an amazing person and have overcome all manner of challenges to have a remarkably successful life, but you have a problem with your weight that I’d like to help you overcome.”

Of course, this statement came from a place of love and care, as most interventions do, but it doesn’t make the reality any less painful. Jackie had two choices: be offended and tell her (ex) friend to butt out, or acknowledge the truth.

It can be hard for anyone to acknowledge a painful truth. Even when it’s acknowledged privately, having others notice can be difficult to accept. We can feel as though a personal flaw has been exposed.

Fortunately in this case, Jackie chose the truth. She knew she had a problem and wanted it to be different. She recognised Jenny’s pure intentions and responded with honesty and bravery.

She also didn’t take the fact that she is overweight as a sign of her failure as a person. Carrying extra weight does not reflect on a person’s value, personality, or moral fibre. It’s just some extra storage of body fat, nothing more and nothing less.

Jenny risked a long and trusted friendship, but as she was no longer comfortable watching Jackie gradually gaining more weight she felt she had no choice.

What would you do in a similar situation? We can wait until the time is right to say something. When will the time be right? Obviously in a conversation if someone says “I’m tired of this and need to lose weight”, then the time is right. Bringing up the topic yourself is a little sticky. Does the friend even want to lose weight? Will it offend? Will it be taken well? Above all, will it help?

In this situation, years of friendship and a great deal of trust in each other saw a happy outcome. Jackie says she giggles at the thought of Jenny’s bravery, and says that she loves it when people are truly honest. She got the right message at the right time delivered by the right person.