Dear Amy: I am a woman, worried about a close personal (male) friend that I have known for more than 10 years.
We have been colleagues and also socialize outside of work. I consider him a mentor. He is married and is quite a bit older than I. We have an almost familial relationship.
He has had some health issues. Now I feel like he is becoming a shut-in. The last few times I have visited, he has made disparaging and critical remarks about my weight.
He has never done this before, and it makes me very uncomfortable.
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I have been overweight my whole life. I was overweight when he met me, and he has literally never mentioned it before now.
The remarks he makes are things like, “When are you going to do something about your weight? You really should start exercising and controlling what you eat.”
Quite frankly, I am not trying to impress him; my weight is not his business. I know he needs my support right now, but he makes me feel rotten and uncomfortable when he says these things, to the point where I do not want to visit him, especially if there are other guests present to hear these statements.
What should I say to him? I value his friendship, but lately he has made it hard for me to enjoy our time together.
Dear Fat-So?: Your friend’s health and current circumstances might be affecting his personality or filter, but this doesn’t mean that you need to accept statements that make you feel bad.
The next time you visit, make a determination to respond honestly. You can say, “You’ve mentioned my weight a few times now. Why is that?” He might tell you that his own health concerns have made him worry about you.
Regardless of how he responds, you should make sure he understands that you don’t want to discuss it with him: “I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life. I don’t intend to discuss this with you.”
Dear Amy: My two sons and I lived in one neighborhood for more than 20 years (we recently moved to a place nearby).
“Kate,” a young girl from the neighborhood, is now getting married.
Another young woman from the neighborhood recently told us that, due to finances, the young couple will be paying for their own wedding and therefore are adhering to a strict guest list.
It’s apparent that we are not invited to the wedding.
We were all a bit sad when we heard this news. I completely understand their situation. I am, however, heartbroken that we got the news from a friend and not the young lady herself.
Amy, we have known her for almost her whole life! Why is she not acknowledging us?
I have not reached out to her myself, as I do not want to put her on the spot. I am just very sad, realizing that she does not care enough to acknowledge us at this milestone event in her life.
I realize that etiquette does not dictate that a future bride contact those who are not invited to the wedding. However, one would think that if there has been a close, longstanding relationship, that she could at least say something. Isn’t a small acknowledgment appropriate?
Dear Feeling Dissed: It is natural to feel disappointed to learn that you haven’t been included in a milestone event, but you are correct when you note that a marrying couple should not have to notify people who are not invited to their small wedding.
You seem to have the idea of acknowledgment backward. It is you who should acknowledge and congratulate the couple. That’s what mature, caring people from the neighborhood do. The bride can then respond by thanking you, acknowledging the role you have played in her life, and saying that she wished she could have included you.
You may receive an announcement in the mail or through social media after the fact. When you do, I hope you will respond graciously.
Dear Amy: “Battle Scarred” reported the intrusion, interruption, and accidents caused by “Nerf wars” that broke out in the offices of the Silicon Valley startup where she worked. This is the most ridiculous workplace practice I have ever heard of. Why is this tolerated?
Dear Bewildered: This is tolerated because the people running the company encourage workers to associate work with “fun.” But ... only a few people at the office get to define “fun.” For everyone else, it’s duck and cover.
Email Amy at email@example.com.