DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend won’t stop making comments about my weight gain. I know that I’ve gained weight. I’m probably about 20 pounds heavier since the start of the pandemic, but I’m taking the necessary steps to lose the weight now. Even when I feel a bit healthier and smaller, she will still find a way to sneak in an uncalled-for remark. She’s someone who has always been on the thinner side, so she has no perception of how hurtful those comments can be. Even when she means her comments as compliments, they make me uncomfortable and insecure for the rest of the day. I’m growing to resent her. Do you think it’s worth addressing, or should I cut her off? My other friends think I need to kick her to the curb, but I’m unsure. — Weight Gain
DEAR WEIGHT GAIN: Tell your friend you want to talk to her, then lay it all on the line. Point out that whether or not she realizes it, her comments are hurtful. You are completely aware of the fact that you have gained weight, and you have started to do something about it. Having her constantly berating you for how you look is not helpful. Tell her that she is constantly hurting your feelings and that you want her to stop. If she cannot figure out how to be supportive, make it clear that you will have to distance yourself from her.
There’s a chance that your friend isn’t conscious of her ongoing criticism of you. If she honestly attempts to curb her comments, keep her in the friend group. Otherwise, pivot away from her and toward your healthy practices and supportive friends.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m starting to suspect that my friend is using me for my platform. I have a music blog that is starting to gain some traction, and whenever we speak, he asks about placement for his music on my blog. To be fair, he was one of the first people who showed support when I began my blog. He was always giving me random shoutouts and reposts, and he “liked” all of my content.
Now that my blog is starting to stand on its own, I’m wondering if the support was genuine. The other day, he asked if I could interview him on my page, and he spent the entire interview plugging his music and merchandise. I still really appreciate the love that he shows to my blog, but it’s starting to feel a little excessive. He pretty much expects me to post about him whenever he wants. What do you suggest I do? — Blogger
DEAR BLOGGER: You can remain grateful to this friend who helped you in the early days of establishing your blog without being beholden to him. Establish criteria for how you create content for your blog. What do you want to talk about? Who do you want to feature? Ideally, what kinds of stories do you want to share? Think about these things very clearly, and write them down as editorial guidelines. This can include guests’ product promotion.
As far as your friend goes, make sure you follow your guidelines with him. You can tell him that you have to wait a bit to interview him because you just had him at a particular time, and it’s too soon. Point to the guidelines to back yourself up. Remain grateful to him, but stand your ground. You do not have to do what he says.