Asking for a Friend: Help! What do I do when people body shame me?

  • We have tips about how to maintain friendships on social media and what to do when your friends seemed obsessed with your food
  • If you have difficult, embarrassing or awkward questions to ask about teen life, send them in anonymously, and ‘Friend of a Friend’ will do their best to help
Amalissa Hall |
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Don't be afraid to say, "Why are you so obsessed with what I eat?"

Hi Friend,

I’m a guy and a bunch of my friends have good friends who are girls. But I just don’t get how they do it. I am pretty extroverted and can chat with girls in person, but I don’t know how to keep up the friendship over messaging.

I also want to make sure they know we’re just friends, and nothing more. How can I maintain my friendliness in person and carry that over online?

Online Girl Friends

My friend has a crush on a girl, so do I need to stop being friends with her?

Hi Online Girl Friends,

Making friends in general can be challenging, and the added layer of confusion over whether friendships are platonic or potentially romantic makes it harder. But it is totally possible to be “just friends”!

You already have the skill of talking to new people, so I recommend you don’t overthink what you should or shouldn’t say. Some might believe there are certain “rules” about chatting online, but every conversation between individuals is different, so it’s totally fine to speak to your female friends online as you would do in person - if that is most comfortable for you.

My BFF spilled all my secrets, but I can’t let her go

A good place to start is having their phone number or following them on Instagram. If you don’t, you can ask next time you’re with them in person, because that in itself is an indication that you want to connect with them. When they are aware of that, it will be easier for them to reciprocate, and perhaps they may start the conversation first.

If you are going to initiate, the best way to start talking online is to carry on a conversation you had previously. Did they mention a song you were interested in but forgot the name of? What about that Instagram page they referenced? Or did something happen in class that you want to talk more about?

Text or DM them, and start by asking a question. That way, there is room for them to answer, and the opportunity to continue chatting.

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If you don’t have anything to ask them, you can send them a photo or a meme that reminds you of them, or refers to a previous conversation. Memes are a casual and easy way to get in touch with someone, though make sure you keep it light and friendly so you don’t confuse the tone of conversation.

Don’t be worried about not receiving a reply; if someone isn’t responding, don’t hound them with more messages - give it time.

Another idea is to have a group chat with both your male and female friends. That way, there’s always someone who can keep the interaction going, and you can also see how your other male friends interact with the girls.

Hopefully that helps, Friend of a Friend

You'll be the most interesting person on social media with these tips.

Hi Friend,

I’m so sick of being called small and being told I should eat more. I’m really petite and skinny, and I know things could be worse, but I really hate the comments I get from my friends. They either say they want to look like me, or that I should eat more, and honestly I hate both.

I’ve tried gaining weight, but I’m a vegan (for ethical purposes) which seems to make it harder. I guess my metabolism is just very high.

I know I shouldn’t care what other people think, but it’s annoying that they have to comment on it every time I see them or when food is involved. What should I do?

Small Body, Big Problems

My friend and I flirt, but it’s not for real ... is it?

Hi Small Body,

Sorry to hear that you are dealing with this kind of body shaming on a regular basis. It can’t be easy for you, and it sounds like your friends could learn a lesson about compassion and empathy.

The best thing to do is be straightforward with them. Tell them that what they’re saying is hurtful, even if they think it is a compliment or they’re trying to help, because it doesn’t feel that way to you. Explain that you do not want them to discuss your body on a regular basis, because it doesn’t make you feel good. You can also tell your closest friend how you feel, because having someone stand up for you, and with you, can affect other people’s actions.

What to do if you have a crush on your friend

Hopefully, as friends, they’ll understand your request and stop, but if they don’t, stick to your guns.

When they talk about your body, point it out to embarrass them; say something like: “Why are you so obsessed with my body / what I eat?” or “It’s really strange that you always talk about my body / my eating habits”. If you vocalise your discomfort, it might make them stop.

Alternatively, you can take yourself out of the situation and leave the conversation. They will most likely get the message.

Regardless of your friends’ attitude, you should probably speak to a doctor about your weight. It might just be part of growing up, but it’s worth checking there are no other issues. They may refer you to a dietitian, who would help to create a meal plan to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need.

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In the meantime, consume healthy foods that are rich in calories like nut butter, avocados and sweet potatoes. You might also want to look into forms of exercise that focus on building muscle - ask your PE teacher for tips.

It’s also important to focus on your mental health by meditating and finding ways to let go of the comments you regularly hear. Unfortunately, some people will always say insensitive things, so the best thing you can do is learn to protect yourself from their opinions.

Best of luck, Friend of a Friend

If you have a question you’d like answered (about anything at all), please send an email to [email protected] with “Asking for a Friend” in the subject line. Don’t worry, you will remain anonymous!

!

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