At what point do I step back from being the supportive friend?
July 16, 2013 10:43 AM Subscribe
I need help deciding how to set boundaries with a friend - if I should even BE setting these sorts of boundaries. More within.
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have a good friend who has been struggling to lose weight for the entire time that I have known her – at least a decade. She and I started out as compatriots in this struggle, and about 5 years ago something finally clicked for me and I stuck with the plan and lost the weight. She’s yo-yoed up and down, up and down over the years.
I have been her biggest cheerleader through all of this. She will make a declaration – “This is it! I’m going to do it!” and enlist my support. I’ve joined exercise groups with her, I’ve done research on different diets with her, I even joined Weight Watchers with her at one point. It always, always, always ends the same way.
She loses interest and I find myself being not only the cheerleader, but the coach. And then I become the Mom. I go from being her compatriot to her supporter to being a nag. I think that, in the end, she sees the work as something to fight against (“Rules suck! This sucks! Neither you nor any stupid diet can tell me what to do!”). She is the queen of self-sabotage and I try to help, I try to be supportive, but she fights against it. And then, once her diet and exercise plan has collapsed into a little pile of cinders, she feels bad about herself. Until the next time she throws down the gauntlet and decides “This is it! I’m going to do it!” and enlists my support.
So, here we go again. This time it’s running and the Atkins diet. She’s asked me to join her in training for a 5k at the end of the summer. She is sending me information about Atkins and claiming that it’d be good for me to try as well.
Not only do I not want to do it (run or Atkins), I’m getting so tired of this cycle and just want to not be involved anymore. And then I feel like crap because I KNOW it’s hard for her, I know that she struggles, and that I am her friend (her diet and exercise friend, even). But it’s a time-suck, an energy-suck, an emotion-suck, and in some cases a money-suck (signing up for races that she is 99% not going to even show up for).
Mefites, help. Am I being selfish? Should I continue to support her efforts, even though I know that odds are we’ll be heading down the same path? Should I tell her that I can’t do it anymore? How can I let her down after setting up this long pattern of being the person she can count on for help with this?