Fabulous Friends

Published January 31, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

What a week it has been!  My last post got the most hits I’ve ever seen on any of my blogs, and a couple of days later the BBC World Service contacted me asking could they do a phone interview with me on fat prejudice and discrimination, particularly in relation to airline seating.

Unfortunately they left the messages at midnight my time, wanting an interview at about 2am from what I could see, and of course I was tucked up in bed by that time and didn’t get the messages until the next morning.  But it was still quite a delight that they contacted me at all.

So, tonight I wanted to talk a little bit about friendships of fat folk.  (Alliteration!)  I saw a post over on Fatadelic on Fat Women, Social Denigration and Social Rituals that really got me thinking about some of the “friendships” I’ve had in the past and how that has changed a lot as I’ve found my confidence and strong self esteem.  There was also another post somewhere, which I’ve sadly lost the link for, on a bridezilla who ditched one of her bridesmaids because she was fat and would “ruin the photographs”.

I wanted to talk a bit more about the friends we have as fat women in particular, and how our non-fat friends can stay our friends/be good friends.

Because we fats are plagued with low self esteem and confidence, we often tend to accept behaviour from “friends” that many other people would not accept.  I knew I certainly have in the past.  Right from downright nastiness (the bridezilla I was bridesmaid for who said to another bride, in front of me and the other plus sized bridesmaid “You’re so lucky to have thin bridesmaids.”), to insensitivity (the older female friend who said “You’re so lucky, fat people don’t wrinkle.”) to those who mean well, but are casting their own insecurities on to you, and not being supportive of you (“Are you sure you should be into this fat acceptance thing?  I worry that you’re just using it as an excuse not to diet and exercise.”)  Quite often, we accept this because we think we deserve to be treated this way, after all, aren’t we fat?  Shouldn’t we be grateful for the friendships we have.  Maybe nobody will be our friend if we’re fat and don’t accept how people treat us.

Well, I’m here to tell you that if you love yourself, regardless of your body shape and size, and only surround yourself with people who treat you well, you WILL have fantastic friends, no matter what your size or shape.

There is nothing selfish or conceited about holding the expectation that your friends will be supportive and respectful of you.  After all, isn’t that who friends are?  Your support crew?  When I think of the amazing friends I have now in my life, especially in comparison to those I had when I was younger and lacking in self esteem, they are my ultimate support crew, as I try to be theirs.  I honestly never would have believed that I would have friends like I have now back a few years ago, because I really didn’t think those kind of awesome people would like me, a horrible fatty.

To those of you out there who are non-fat friends of fatties, firstly, you’re awesome!  Awesome for not buying into the shallow shit that so many other people do, those charming folks who seem to think they’re better than someone just because of the size or shape of their body.  But I have a few things I’d like to ask you to remember when being a friend of a fatty.

  1. Please don’t criticise your body.  Not only does it do you no good, but how do you think it makes your fat friend feel when you say your smaller body is “too fat”?
  2. Please don’t talk about how “sinful” or “naughty” food is.  Food has no moral value, and when you refer to food in this way, it implies that your fat friend is sinful or bad for eating at all.
  3. Suggesting your fat friend should find more “flattering” clothes is a big no-no.  Flattering usually means “hides your fat” or “makes you look thinner”.  Fat people don’t have to hide their bodies away or not wear certain things because they don’t make them look thinner.  If you like an outfit that a fat friend is wearing, say so.  Otherwise, it’s best to stay Mum.
  4. Don’t exclude your fat friends from events and activities under the assumption that they won’t be able to keep up or participate.  Ask them.  They’ll say no thank you if they don’t want to participate.
  5. If someone insults your fat friend in front of you, or engages in douchebag behaviour towards your fat friend, speak up if you can.  If it’s not safe to do so, make your your fat friend knows that you are horrified at this and that they have your support.  One of the worst things I suffered for many years were “friends” that would either laugh along, go quiet and pretend it never happened or suggest I was overreacting to douchebag behaviour.  It was always so hurtful.
  6. Most of all, remember that your fat friend has probably had a whole lot of shit heaped on them for a long time just for having a fat body.  Some understanding and support will go a long, long way!

I am sure there are a lot of other things that my fellow fatz out there appreciate from their friends.  Feel free to leave them in the comments if you have any to add.

What I guess it all boils down to for me is that the best thing that ever happened to me was the realisation that I am a worthy person to have good, caring, supportive friends, and that I don’t have to settle for people who use me to either make themselves feel better about themselves, or people who feel sorry for me.

Real friends are awesome, but faux friends just aren’t worth the time and energy.

4 comments on “Fabulous Friends

  • This is a great post and it really does bring to mind a few friendships I have had in the past.

    Actually having been of a fluctuating weight all of my life I have found on a few occasions that when I have slimmed down I have lost friends because they really liked having the token loud comical fatty about to make them look more attractive and if I was slim then I was competition.

    I have watched slim friends terribly frustrated when the guy they had their eye on approaches me in a bar. I have been asked by two of my ‘friends’ how is it that I can always attract men (and men that they consider quite attractive) when I am so ‘umm…err..you know not skinny’ and ‘why would they choose you over me?’

    I think in all honesty I have copped both ends of the spectrum and feel that shallow people will always make crap friends but if you have low self esteem you will stick around and put up with it.

    Great post!

    • Yes, I too have lost some friends when I slimmed down, but gained other just as shallow ones who only wanted to be my friend now that I was losing weight, as though that could rub off on them or something.

      I’ve also had both the incredulity at my attracting a good looking man (Someone once actually asked me when they met my then boyfriend “How did YOU attract HIM?” as though it was fundamentally wrong that fat arse me could be dating a handsome, fit man) and I’ve had the whole thing where the “friends” take me along as they know they’ll at least get more attention than I will (or assume that) because they’re not as fat as me.

      When you have low self esteem, you inadvertently attract these faux friends I think. They hone in on the vulnerability.

  • For a very long time I had no “friends”, just those that would only have something to do with me when no better offer came along & they were bored. I got to a point that I just kept saying “Sorry I’m busy” whenever they asked me to do something because I knew full well that their plans had fallen through or those they wanted to do something with had already made plans elsewhere. They didn’t know how to respond to that because it seemed they were in shock that I was actually doing something that didn’t involve them (even tho 9 times out of 10 I was wallowing in self pity at home watching tv or reading a book). Whenever they were going to an outdoor event or were participating in sport, I was never invited & I was always the only one not invited.

    To this day, I still don’t have a lot of friends, infact, the majority of my friends these days are all online. But the people I consider friends of mine that I do see are of all shapes and sizes and my size doesn’t bother them, which I am still getting used to.

    I totally agree with everything you have said in your post. Your posts always bring tears to my eyes because it always makes complete sense to me & because I feel you are writing everything that I feel & believe myself.

    Keep up the good work hun!


    • Thanks for your kind words Foxie. I’m happy that I’m striking a chord with you, but I hope that the tears don’t continue. I’d rather know you’re smiling!

      Just remember, you choose your friends. If they don’t treat you well, don’t choose them. I certainly wouldn’t be accepting any “friend booty calls”!

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