Why Your Fat Shaming Is Ruinng Our FriendshipI rifled through the sale rack and there it was. The peacock blue cardigan I’d admired weeks ago, marked down to a price I could afford. One left in a size 16. You beauty! I snatched it up, already picturing which jeans it would go with, when you leaned over for a look. ”Oh, you’re a 16 now? Wow.”

Just like that, you reduced my happy bargain find to something to be ashamed of. You’ve been doing it for some time now. “You should buy this top,” you’d say, holding something off the rack, “It’s your style exactly! Far too big for me, though!” A no-so-subtle reminder that you’re thinner than me.

Eating out with you used to be fun. We’d have whatever we wanted and talk and laugh for hours over coffee and cake afterwards. I never really noticed what you ate or drank because that was never the point of catching up for a meal. Over the last few years, though, you’ve noticed my meal choices. You also made sure I noticed what you were eating. Like when you suddenly stopped liking carbs (you never really did). I know, because you tell me whenever I’m tucking in to pasta or eating my Thai stir fry with a side of rice. Rice? Eugh. You have no idea how I can eat that stuff.

We have been friends for a long time now, through uni, getting married, having babies and all the stuff of life in between. We clicked from the start, both of us loving live music and late nights, long lunches and sunshine. I can’t put my finger on what changed. You were always on a diet of some kind; back then, we all were. But where most of us moved on, you stayed. You don’t do the crazy shake diets or starvation regimes we all tried (cabbage soup, anyone?). In fact, you eat really well and you work out a lot because you seem to love it, and that’s great.

Every time you’ve tried a new class at the gym, I have heard about it. In fact, every time you try out any new form of exercise, you either tell me about how I should try it or how I probably wouldn’t be able to do it, because you’re so much fitter than me. When I venture to speak about the kinds of exercise I do enjoy, you remind me that you and I have different levels of fitness, that the things I enjoy are simply not challenging enough for you. So I don’t talk about it anymore.

The idea that not everyone shares your dedication to fitness, to slimness, bothers you. I can see that it does. I wonder if this is what is behind your constant reminders about our size difference? Is this why you feign shock or look dismayed whenever I pick up a shirt in a shop?

Here’s the thing: I know you’re thinner. You’ve been pointing it out for years now. After all these years of reminding me that you are so much thinner, has my body changed all that much? Not really. I’m not trim, taut and toned. I haven’t been for years. If your fat shaming goal was to motivate me in some way, surely you can see by now that it isn’t working? The way you react to the size of clothing I wear, the food I enjoy and even the exercise I do does nothing but make me feel bad. And I don’t need that. I’m happy with my body. I’m in good health. My size doesn’t bother me- I don’t understand why it bothers you.

Constant criticism and shaming like this has no place in a friendship. In fact, I bet it quickly outweighs the good in any relationship. I’ll never be the skinny friend you seem to want, but I am strong. I can’t lift as many weights as you or do as many spin classes, but I do have the strength to walk away from people who can’t see past my dress size.

Why do you think my friend fat shames me all the time?

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