With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?

sad-womanThis week I was in my local branch of Boots (for US readers, Boots is a chemist’s that sells really delicious lunch foods) queuing to pay for some divine bubble bath when I overheard a conversation between two people in front of me. The guy (super camp, very thin and tall, clearly very into his image) was teasing the girl he was with (beautiful, tall, slim) for buying a non-diet sandwich. He kept chanting ‘Belly’s gonna get you’ (original, huh) at her in what on the surface was a playful way, but there was such a clear undercurrant of venom. I stole a glance at the girl’s basket, and sure enough it was packed to the gills with the diet-range foods Boots is famous for (think popcorn at 50 cals that tastes like air), then on top was her egg sarnie not from the Shaper’s range - I suspect they’d run out. The girl was laughing along with the bloke, but by her arched shoulders and bowed head made it abundantly clear to me that his comments hurt.

Well, I managed to restrain myself from diving in, though I could feel my face getting progressively redder. As I walked back to my office, I found myself struggling to be proud of myself for my self-restraint, though. The guy bullying the girl really needed to hear that his comments were unfair and damaging; the girl really needed to hear that the bloke was talking nonsense, that of course she could eat a 300 cal sarnie without worrying, that this guy was not much of a friend for making her feel not small, but large. Should I have spoken up? But of course, I am British, and we are known for our reserve; for our polite natures; for not making waves.

I did what’s expected in British culture – I did not interfere. But I’ve thought about that girl a lot this week, and I’ve wondered how many people out their have ‘friends’ who are chipping away at their self-esteem and encouraging bad body image? Bag ‘em, I say. There are plenty of lovely people out there who’ll love you for you – for your laugh, your creativity, your interesting take on the world. Not for your eating/weight/exercise/size etc.

Courtesy of Inspirations for Eating Disorder Recovery.

You may also like:

Resources for Eating Disorder Treatment and Recovery

Breaking the Eating Disorder Stigma, One Story at a Time

Change or Transformation?

© Copyright 2011  Allison Stuart Kaplan  www.Askinyourface.com LLC

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