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to find uninvited comments about weight rude?

(57 Posts)
TheAwfulDaughter Fri 04-Apr-14 01:06:51

Firstly, I understand that some people are having very public battles with the scales over Facebook and other forms of social media and actually are very open with discussing their weight. I'd imagine some of these people would probably welcome comments from those who haven't seen in a while saying 'OMG, you've lost so much weight, you look great!'

However, I'm not doing this. I have massive issues with food, and I tend to yo-yo. I try and cut out carbs, hidden sugars and generally 'eat clean' in my day-to-day diet, but being in my last few weeks of study means that wine and peanut M&Ms are increasingly prevalent. I'm actually at my 'top weight' right now, but generally okay with it. It's not worth worrying about now!

Last night I saw one of the WAGs of DP's friends and the very first thing she said to me was 'OH MY GOD YOU'VE LOST SO MUCH WEIGHT'. I haven't. I know because last time I saw her I was at an event in a dress that I can't fucking zip up now. It was insincere and inaccurate. I don't think she was trying to be funny, but I feel like commenting on someone physique is the new 'your hair is fab' 'I like your top, where did you get it?'. I've had it said to me by DM's friends, customers in work, it's not just that isolated occasion. On some occasions I genuinely have, others you can just tell it's a stock filler compliment.

I didn't lose any sleep over it, but I think having a dear friend who is constantly at risk of a relapse into her eating disorder has made me look upon things differently. You can't tell who can laugh it off, like I did (I responded with 'No, I think my face is just really heavily contoured with make up') or those who will immediately think 'Was I fat before? Do I need to lose weight? Does she think I need to lose weight?'

Like I said, I know the woman meant well and it hasn't really affected me- but I know it can some people. You don't know who may have food issues, be recovering from an eating disorder, so I just think it's a stupid thing to point out when there are so many other ways to compliment people...

or AIBU?

Chottie Fri 04-Apr-14 01:10:57

I'm just wondering why she had to make such a comment too ?!? Let it go, move on, life's too short to even try to work it out smile

lessonsintightropes Fri 04-Apr-14 01:23:25

I'm at my highest weight ever right now for a number of reasons. For want of something else to say and be polite, I've been told I look 'incredibly well' by a number of people. I don't - I look exhausted and fat, because I am (about 15st 6lbs on a 5' 8" frame).

I think they are trying to be pleasant or complimentary and use size as a way of expressing this, even if it's patently not true.

My response to it is usually - 'you're so kind! Just back from holiday (even though I'm not) so probably looking more rested, but sadly not thinner!' as a way of acknowledging and appreciating the social nicety of the comment without accepting the falsehood of the statement iyswim.

She's just trying to be nice, please don't read too much into it or take it too much to heart. You and I both are probably accutely aware of weight and what it means to us, she was being sensitive and trying to be nice in a way which is socially acceptable I think. Nothing wrong with taking the compliment as its meant, even if it isn't true. She isn't responsible for your friend with eating disorder's feelings and anxieties, and can't be. It may be clumsy but we also can't wrap ourselves in cotton wool from normal reactions to us.

JapaneseMargaret Fri 04-Apr-14 02:11:11

I'm now worrying about people I may have inadvertently offended, by telling them they've lost weight. blush

When I've said it, I've meant it sincerely, and as a compliment. I have never meant that I thought they needed to lose weight.

Perhaps, if it helps, assume that the person making the comment was doing nothing more or less than paying you a compliment, and telling you that you look good.

NoodleOodle Fri 04-Apr-14 03:07:33

JMargaret, do you comment on men and women's weight loss?

TheAwfulDaughter Fri 04-Apr-14 03:35:19

I get completely that she was just trying to compliment me and she wasn't trying to be nasty, but I don't understand why she didn't comment on my fabulous hair grin

TheAwfulDaughter Fri 04-Apr-14 03:38:48

And I think that 'they may have an eating disorder' is a bit of a red herring in my OP. I think it's completely not-on to comment on something which is so personal. Noticing when someone has dressed up a bit nice skirt/nails done/new highlights is slightly different as it kind of invites genuinely admiring comments. My weight is just how I am, and it's invasive to point it out.

TheAwfulDaughter Fri 04-Apr-14 03:41:26

One horrible instance was when a male regular customer in work looked me up and down and said very bright and breezily 'Oooh, you've lost a bit of weight!'

Once again, I hadn't. But it sent me into mental overdrive questioning what I looked like before. I also hated this virtual stranger assessing my body. Just found it all a bit grim.

Nandocushion Fri 04-Apr-14 03:50:09

Why do people say things like this??? It's so inappropriate. The correct thing to say is always "You look fabulous" (or a variant thereof). Anything else is just wrong and, in cases like yours, often far too personal. There is no way I would comment on the weight of anyone save my closest friend of 40 years, and even then only in private, and even THEN only if she'd confided in me that she was trying to change it in some way and wanted support. Repeat after me: You look fantastic. You look wonderful. You look so very well in a non-specific way.

Nandocushion Fri 04-Apr-14 03:56:16

Sorry, OP, x-posts. I really hate this. I had a friend who did an annoying variant of this: every time I saw her she would say "Is that a new top/dress/whatever?" And it drove me crazy, not least because I only saw her every couple of months, and also because it suggested to everyone listening that I had a limited and not-often-updated wardrobe. And also because it wasn't a compliment, which she seemed to think it was!! Arrrgh.

Grokette Fri 04-Apr-14 03:58:43

I'm with you, AwfulDaughter. I've been round the jolly merry go round of eating disorders since I was very young, and have yo-yo'd all over the scale for years. I am quite uncomfortable when anyone talks about weight in general really, even when it is clearly positive and well-intended.

I just don't think it's necessary to bring up other's people's appearance with such detail, so specifically. If someone looks nice then why not say "You look lovely" or something like that? A general comment is nice, and is much harder to dwell on like you've described, which is exactly what people who have had or still do have eating disorders do.

Grokette Fri 04-Apr-14 04:03:10

Oh Nandocushion I seem to have quite spectacularly cross-posted with you smile

Here's to being generally and non-specifically nice!

treaclesoda Fri 04-Apr-14 04:08:41

I hate this too, hate it.

I don't find it a compliment at all, I find it an incredibly snide and rude thing to say, because the implication is so clearly that you should be delighted to have lost weight, and delighted that the person has noticed. It is almost always said by people who seem to want you to respond with 'oh, but I'm still not as slim as you'.

It is of course different if the person has very publicly been trying to lose weight, and perhaps would appreciate the encouragement. But to just randomly say it to someone and expect them to take it as a compliment is so bitchy.

Nandocushion Fri 04-Apr-14 04:26:08

And why is suggesting someone has lost weight always seen as a compliment? Why do people think that the suggestion that "Wow, you looked fat before, but less so now!" is nice to hear and will be welcomed?

JapaneseMargaret Fri 04-Apr-14 04:27:57

No, just women's weight loss, Noodle.

I jest of course, as that's clearly what you're digging for me to say in response to that question. I don't actually comment on many people's weight loss, but if I do, I don't discrimate between sex. Why would I?

I actually remember commenting on DH's weight loss, eons ago, before we even got together, and he took it as a massive compliment. Which it was.

Judging by the reactions I've had in the past when I have commented on it, people have been flattered, which was the intention.

I suppose I do have the cop-on to probably only make the comment to people I know well enough to know me, and to know I'm being genuine, and complimentary.

I wouldn't pass comment to someone I didn't know very well because God only know what sort of mortally offended reaction they might have.

nooka Fri 04-Apr-14 04:49:11

I think it's risky to comment on someone's weight because people often yo yo on diets and whilst you may think they have lost weight, they may actually be gaining it again and feel miserable about that. However there was a thread a while back where the view was put forward that saying 'you look well' was somehow a comment on how fat/thin they were.

daisychain01 Fri 04-Apr-14 04:55:40

I just dont get what posseses people to even mention body shape, either as a compliment or otherwise.

What's wrong with saying " its lovely to see you " and mean it of course. Its the person, not their shape that matters. People's weight fluctuates, I can put on 8 lbs just looking at a chocolate muffin, do I need someone doing a running commentary on my fat arse what proportions I am?

YoDiggity Fri 04-Apr-14 05:17:59

I hear you, and I could have written your post practically word for word.

I am guilty of doing it myself though, blurting out 'Wow! You've lost so much weight, you look fabulous!' and it is always genuine and well meant, but the automatic sub-text is 'therefore you you must have looked much worse when you were fatter.' Of course I don't mean it like that, but what else can someone take from it?! confused

I am personally thrilled if people notice when I have really lost weight, but I do get a bit irritated by people telling me I have when I know damn well I haven't, especially if I know I've put it on!

It's a bit patronising and smug - as though you need that constant encouragement and validation if you have look as though you may have lost a few measly pounds, and need to be praised for it, like you are a child who has just managed not to wee in her pull-ups.

My new year's resolution was to stop commented on weight. Mine, yours, everybody's. Of course I still obsess over my own privately, but I really don't care about anyone else's, and so it follows that they don't really care about mine either. I have obsessed over my own weight my entire life and I can't see it ever ending. But I have realised that NO-ONE else actually cares about my personal angst, my never ending battle to be in control of my own size and shape, my endless public self-deprecation where I make jokes about my own arse/thighs/double chin. It doesn't need to define me. I am so much more than just the size of my thighs. I am fabulous. I must be, because people tell me I am. grin

Going on and on about your own weight sends the message to your slimmer friends that you don't value yourself at all, and it sends the message to your fatter friends that you value them even less. And I think people find the endless moaning about weight quite tedious to listen to - I never consciously do it as a way to fish for compliments, but inevitably it does ellicit compliments, (of the consolation prize variety I think) which I immediately bat back instead of accepting gracefully.

Without meaning to, we can end up sounding needy and attention seeking. It's not a nice trait.

I have had a few slip-ups (usually when someone else has brought up the subject of weight and I've found myself drawn into the conversation - old habits die hard) but on the whole I am doing really well. If my friends discuss their latest exercise regime or their weight gain/loss I try not to particularly engage, and if they have noticeably lost weight I try not to comment on it.

Otherwise it becomes like an endless competition where one or other of you is always wishing they could be more like the other. It's ridiculous.

CoffeeTea103 Fri 04-Apr-14 06:52:57

Is there nothing people don't take offense to anymore? I think it's nice to compliment someone when they have lost weight. Yabu

badbelinda Fri 04-Apr-14 07:11:00

You're assuming they wanted/needed to lose weight Coffee, that's what's wrong with it. What if they're ill, stressed, have an eating disorder and that's why they've lost weight. Unless you're really sure it's a compliment (and for a lot of people it wouldn't be) just don't say it.

ALittleFaith Fri 04-Apr-14 07:19:07

I think the more tactful way to approach it is to tell someone they look 'well' assuming they do! I saw a friend for the first time in a while. She's lost 5 stone (starting at about 20 stone). I told her she looked great - because it's not so much about the weight loss as the fact that she's clearly more confident, getting more exercise (she was walking the family dog!) and looked happier.

I'm reminded of the Big Bang theory when Raj meets a girl You've lost so much weight, it's good because you were SO, SO FAT! grin

treaclesoda Fri 04-Apr-14 08:28:45

coffee I am not at all easily offended, and people who know me in real life often comment on how thick skinned I am, and how I don't take offence easily.

But I've never had someone comment on my weight that has come across sincerely, it has only ever been said to me by women who are either fishing for a compliment in return or who make it pretty clear that it's about time I lost some weight (and I'm not overweight anyway).

I am deeply suspicious of women who feel the need to comment on other women's weight full stop.

Also, I used to suffer in the past from very severe health anxiety. When someone commented to me that they thought I had lost weight, it usually ended with me rocking backwards and forwards in the corner of the room sobbing hysterically because I was so terrified that I was ill. And yet I'm somehow supposed to be grateful for the compliment? angry

thebody Fri 04-Apr-14 08:32:14

it's best never to mention weight.

hair is good, go for hair.

Lottapianos Fri 04-Apr-14 08:36:55

I'm with you OP. I have lost weight recently - I suffer from depression and anxiety and having got through the worst, I'm now managing it through diet and exercise. I've had so many people announce, in front of others 'oh you've lost SO much weight!'. With the implication that it's the most wonderful thing I've ever done. I've just taken to answering 'yes I have' and not elaborating further. Sometimes that's followed by questions about how much I've lost and which diet I've been following. At that point I say that I've been ill actually and that's why the weight has gone but even that doesn't stop some people!

Weight is a private and very emotional issue for some people and comments are not always welcome. I think we're all so saturated with the idea that thin is good that some people can't think about it in any other way

Lariflete Fri 04-Apr-14 08:49:27

I had a girl at work going on about how much weight I had lost and how big I had been before hmm while I was pregnant and then tried to insist I told her how much I weighed and she would tell me how much she weighed.
I am not easily offended (most things like that go straight over my head!), but I must admit she did not come off as complimentary!!!

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