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2/08/2006

 

How Rude is This?

QUESTION
Dear Laurie,

I have a friend that I have sung in a choir with for 10 years. She has always been overweight until she recently found out she has adult onset diabetes. She has been following the diet and taking the medication and is dropping weight. I, on the other hand, was thin when I met her 10 years ago, and with menopause and age have put on 20 pounds. I have been on diets during those 10 years and lost the weight, but right now it is not coming off like it has in the past. All of a sudden, she is the expert on losing weight and has all kinds of unsolicited advice and criticism for me. She has quite a forceful personality, but I am no pushover either. I'm finding it difficult to spend time with her lately. I do not know what to say to her to tell her to mind her own business. Is there a way to say it diplomatically so that we can remain friends? What is appropriate?

-Theresa

ANSWER
Dear Theresa,

Your friend is being rude when she gives you unsolicited advice and criticism. What can you do about it? Use the 3-step "Rudeness Cure" to determine what to say:
Step 1: Ask yourself, "What do I want?" From your letter it appears that you do want to remain friends with her, but that you'd like her to stop giving you advice when you haven't asked her for it.
Step 2: Stand in her shoes. She is proud of her weight-loss and is probably looking for affirmation and approval from others.
Step 3: Let her save face. You don't want to accuse her of being a know-it-all because that would start an argument and worsen your relationship.

Bring it all together and say something like this: "I'm really happy for you and your weight-loss success. You look great! I can see that you know a lot about how to lose weight, but right now, I'm not interested in talking about how I can lose weight. In the future, if you could hold off on giving me dieting suggestions unless I ask for them, I would really appreciate it. Can you do that?"

Now that's persuasive!

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