DEAR HARRIETTE: Now that I’ve lost weight, my friends treat me differently. I’ve always been the heaviest friend. Last year I started my fitness journey, and it has done wonders for my self-esteem. I dress better, go out more, and I’m just a visibly happier person.
I noticed a few months ago that my friends didn’t treat me the same as when I was older. It’s pretty subtle, but I went from being invited everywhere with them to only getting invites for certain things. One friend in particular commented on how “arrogant” I became. There’s no way I’m being arrogant. I think they’re just used to me having zero confidence, so they don’t know how to deal with the confident version of me. How to handle this? — New Confidence
DEAR NEW TRUST: Start by talking to this friend. Rather than being defensive, ask questions. Find out what, specifically, this friend was talking about when he called you arrogant. Ask them what they think you are doing differently now. Listen carefully so you can get an idea of what they are thinking.
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Recognize that your life has changed. As you lose weight, you develop self-confidence, something you had little before. Tell your friend that your life is different. Among these differences is the changing dynamics of your group of friends.
Tell that friend and then the larger group you see that they treat you differently. Ask why. Tell them what you want. If it’s to stay close to them, talk it out to figure out what will make both parties happy.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My mother buys my children everything they ask for, but she usually asks that I reimburse her for the things she buys. My sons are at the age where they ask for a million things. I know when to say no to them, but not my mother. I end up paying for everything in the end. I told her that I couldn’t afford her to keep spoiling them like that, but she keeps doing it every time they spend time with her. What should I do? — Say no
DEAR SAY NO: Sit your mother down and tell her you have to draw the line. Explain that you don’t believe in giving your children all the things they ask for and that you can’t afford it. Warn her that from now on, when she buys things for them, you won’t be able to refund her. And then follow the corresponding action. DO NOT REFUND IT. At first, your mother will be shocked because you set a precedent by giving in to her whims. It’s time for a new precedent. Stop paying, and soon she’ll probably stop buying.