to find uninvited comments about weight rude?(57 Posts)
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...
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
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.
I'm now worrying about people I may have inadvertently offended, by telling them they've lost weight.
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.
JMargaret, do you comment on men and women's weight loss?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oh Nandocushion I seem to have quite spectacularly cross-posted with you
Here's to being generally and non-specifically nice!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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?!
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.
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.
Is there nothing people don't take offense to anymore? I think it's nice to compliment someone when they have lost weight. Yabu
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.
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!
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?
it's best never to mention weight.
hair is good, go for hair.
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
I had a girl at work going on about how much weight I had lost and how big I had been before
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!!!
I went to a family gathering last weekend and everyone kept saying how amazing I looked and how slim I was. I said "I fucking hope so as it's been bloody hard work losing all that weight since new year!"
Obviously it's true as I have lost 2.5 stone and dropped 3 dress sizes but I think I would be chuffed if someone had said that to me even if I had only lost 2lb or none at all. A compliment is a compliment in my eyes and seeing as rarely got them before I'm lapping them up now.
Perhaps the outfit you were wearing made you look slimmer? Whatever the reason it's nothing to get worked up over and just smile and move on.
Good to get peoples responses.
I think the counter-argument would be 'weight is just a number why are you so bothered?' but we live in a society that constantly tries to make the overweight feel subhuman and attempts to place the fear of fatness on those with a healthy BMI. Every time I see a wimmins mag about a female soap star so distressed that they are a size 12 and not a 10 I die inside.
Commenting on someone's weight can never just be simple and matter of fact if you don't know for sure how they will take it. It's extremely loaded and it's ignorant to suggest otherwise.
Hmm I know what you mean OP. I find that often when I GAIN a bit, someone usually comments that I have lost weight.
Now this could go one of three ways:
1) person thinks of me as much bigger when Im noit around
2) person thinks as a fat person, this is the "acceptable and flattering" line to make me happy on meeting
3) its a ploy to "spur me" on to lose weight.
ive struggled for many many years with an eating disorder (bulimic) and people being commenting on my weight, even positively, often sends me into overdrive with it.
Of course i know they dont mean to do that, and id never tell them, but its a big deal.
Relatives especially seem to absolutely fall over themselves to compliment me when im skinny. If they only knew how I manage it, they wouldnt be so enthusiastic im sure
YANBU, no one knows what's really going on in a person's life or mind and commenting on weight is intrusive and unnecessary. My SIL was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 4 months ago, only told close family. She was overweight and lost a lot very quickly.
People compliment her on how much weight she's lost and some are quite insistent on asking her how she did it. So far she's fobbed them off as doesn't want to discuss her illness with everyone.
Your poor sister Nora I hope she is ok.
My MIL does this every time I see her (about 3x a year) - "You've lost LOADS of weight!", except last time when I had actually lost 1.5st she said nothing!!! In her case, it's clearly a dig and I think, generally, people should not comment on weight unless they know the person is trying to lose (or gain) some and has achieved all or some of that goal.
tell me about it. i lost seventeen pounds in a fortnight last year, due to emotional trauma, and everyone, everyone, had something to say about it.
I think it is never acceptable to comment about weight unless directly asked for an opinion.
or about most aspects of appearance. Just say it is nice to see someone and talk about something more interesting!
I'm with you on this one, OP. Any woman who's ever done that to me, loudly at any rate, has generally either been completely insincere or has wanted to draw attention to the fact that, while I may be slimmer, I still outweigh her by a considerable margin.
Why do some people think that women must be complimented the moment you clap eyes on them? I don't need an immediate compliment about my appearance to put me at ease. Generally, I don't want the subject of my appearance being brought to everyone's attention and I'm not so insecure as to need constant reassurance about it, especially from people I don't know well.
So the whole culture of instant fake or un-thought out compliments we've got into is something I do find a bit annoying, it infantilises women. Of course people can pay a genuine compliment, but what's wrong with just saying (as men tend to do with one another) 'Hello, Angela, it's really nice to see you', or just 'Hello, how are you?'
My worst 'weight moment' was when my MIL and FIL (both slight and skinny) said how much they weighed. DH then chipped in with how much he weighed. Everyone looked at me expectantly.
There was a very awkward silence.
Why would you do that??????
I have lost about 1.5 stone in a short time. This is because I am literally ill with stress and anxiety. I look better - was not very overweight but now have a BMI well in the normal range. - but I feel shocking. LOTS of people have commented - including my patients - I am a GP - I HATE it. If you must say anything - try " Its really nice to see you" ...
How do you respond lemonstartree? Sorry to hear you're feeling that way, it's so bloody exhausting, isn't it?
I'm with you, OP. I'm a lifelong yo-yoer with big eating and food issues. I've lost a lot of weight recently and I absolutely loathe it when anyone comments. I find it embarrassing and awkward - I never liked talking about weight and food when I was big, and I don't like it now either. If someone I haven't seen in a while says, 'You're looking fantastic, you've lost so much weight,' what I hear is, 'You looked crap before and I've always judged you for it. You must have lost weight deliberately and you now measure up to what I think a woman should look like.' Whilst I recognise that that's not usually going to be the speaker's explicit intention, the implicit assumptions are there.
So my rule is never to comment on anyone else's weight unless they bring up the subject first, or I'm absolutely sure (e.g. postings on Facebook) that they've been losing/gaining weight deliberately and that they want to talk about it. If a very close friend seems to have lost/gained a lot of weight I might say in a more concerned way, 'Is everything OK?' but I'd still wait for them to open up a conversation about weight.
I too am very uncomfortable with conversations about weight. I have struggled with my weight for just about all of my adult weight, with thyroid issues complicating it all and causing me to yo-yo between slender and obese for years.
When I was slender it was because I was ill. When the thyroid issues were (apparently) brought under control I thought that would be it, but I have settled in the obese range and no matter what I do nothing changes. Maybe it will at some point in the future. I can hope.
The scales are my enemy and I try to avoid conversations about weight. I try to never judge anyone in relation to what they weigh. There are all sorts of reasons for everything. I also understand that for many people it is a very, very sensitive issue, myself included. Not everyone seems to understand that though.
* adult life, not adult weight!!
Sometimes I could do with an edit button on here.
Any woman who's ever done that to me, loudly at any rate, has generally either been completely insincere or has wanted to draw attention to the fact that, while I may be slimmer, I still outweigh her by a considerable margin.
That is SO true!
Taking on board everything said on this thread.
To be fair, it's not something I say to people often, but when I have said it, I've meant it sincerely and complimentarily. I've also witnessed people say it to others in my presence, and the recipient of the comment has visibly glowed with pleasure, so there are obviously plenty of people for whom such comments are welcomed and appreciated.
Obviously, for many, they're not. And that's fair enough.
The correlation with positive weight comments for me come, not when I'm lighter, but when I'm actually feeling great about myself so I carry myself differently and face the world with more confidence. That's what people are actually reacting to and find more noticeable although they probably don't recognise it as such so can only put it down to weight.
I find this very intrusive; I once started my own thread on the subject. By doing this to each other, we reinforce the idea that our weight is what defines us. Think of a more original way to greet friends!
yes, sicaq that's exactly how I feel. It's as if as a woman I have some sort of obligation to be always wanting to lose weight, and by extension I have an obligation to be delighted when someone comments on my supposed weight loss. I have never in my life discussed my weight with anyone other than my husband and my sister. I have never publicly declared that I am actively trying to lose weight, I have never claimed to be on a diet. I have never ever responded to an offer of eg a piece of cake with 'oh, I shouldn't, I'm trying to be good'. I might decline the cake, but I don't make a big show of it, a simple 'no thanks' always does the trick. With all this in mind, why on earth does anyone think I should be flattered if they comment on my weight? Or that I'm professionally offended for not liking it?
But there is a huge issue with women and weight anyway. I loathe the thinking that a woman who takes pleasure in eating something is somehow brazen or morally lax. Why can women not just either eat something or not eat something, why is it such a drama for so many of us? Why do we feel obliged to eat that cake whilst simultaneously beating ourselves up for eating it? (And I mean normal, healthy weight women, not women who are overweight and actively struggling to lose it).
I'm exactly the same. I had a lot of baby weight to lose, finally managed it when the last baby was three, and have been back to my "normal" pre-baby weight for about 18 months now. Every week, without fail, I will have someone comment on my weight.
I'm sure they mean it kindly- it seems to be one of those generally accepted compliments ("ooh, love your hair, that colour is great on you, haven't you lost a lot of weight, looks fab") we're expected to enjoy. I've always found it uncomfortable, it's none of their business and if I wanted to discuss my weight (loss or otherwise) I would bring it up
in the same way I would bring up my battle with thrush.
Oh god this is so rude. People especially love to comment on your body weight after you've had a baby. For years afterwards! My ds is two - TWO fgs, years not months! And if still get the 'oh you look so well! With an appraising glance across my abdomen
Also saying 'well it's supposed to be a compliment' perpetuates the idea that losing weight is a GOOD thing and therefore putting on weight is a BAD thing. Which I don't think is good for anyone. I try really hard not to say anything anymore either - unless it's a good friend and we are discussing weight specifically.
I was thin for years and then slim and the past decade the weight has come on. So I feel I have experienced both sides.
On a bad day - "Aren't you skinny" (subtext: scrawny, unwomanly) and "You're tall you can carry the extra weight better than me" (freakishly large) or "Goodness you're looking much much healthier these days" (what, healthy with arthritis, oh you mean my increased size, am I chunkier, thanks for that).
On a who cares? day the comments go over my head or I just smile and ignore. But I was brought up not to make personal remarks so unless invited to comment I wouldn't.
My DH has diabetes and before it was diagnosed (as a young adult - he has type 1) and now, if he's been ill with something else that has caused his blood sugar to rise for a while, he can lose quite a lot of weight through being ill. He also, however, lost quite a bit of weight when our DS got a) heavier so was more work to carry/push around and b) started weaning so we started eating more from scratch, on top of the weight he lost when we stopped eating out much because we had DS initially.
People tend to comment on the "ill" weight loss because it is more dramatic - but it is a clear sign of him being very unwell. I also lost weight due to post-DS lifestyle changes, and until I realised that DH had also lost weight I was a little worried I was ill too. And I find that, after losing weight then every time people see me they comment, even if I haven't lost any more. I think they mentally compare me to myself a couple of years ago, not the last time they saw me.
PS kudos to everyone who's spelled "lose", "losing" etc. correctly in this thread, I am finding myself so influenced by misspellings that I'm struggling to write it correctly - coupled with iPad sabotage.
Yanbu dsis is a recovering anorexic and whenever anyone says don't you look healthy I want to kick them- I know most people are trying to be kind and she does look healthy but please think about how she might interpret it.
I hate it even more when people comment on what your eating- yes I'm going to eat all this and no it's none of your business twat!
I once responded to a persistent weight-commenter's greeting of "Oh, you've lost WEIGHT!" with "Have I? Shit. [to barista] Can I have the large Rocky Road with my coffee, too, please?" To friend: "There, hopefully that will sort it."
Wasn't in the mood for cake but I felt like being contrary. Went over her head though ...
OP YANBU x 100.
I have used this example before on mn but it makes the point well.
In my last workplace there was a woman with a history of early MC. She got pg again and made it to I think just under 20 weeks, and then lost her baby.
Department numpty breezes into meeting "Oh, X, you look fab, you've really lost that weight off your tummy."
Awful silence. Woman unobtrusively goes to loo a few minutes later and never returns to meeting. Dept numpty clearly oblivious.
I also agree that it's simply not on to comment on people's weight, in the vast majority of circumstances anyway. I'm extremely sensitive about my weight, and even when I am happy with it I still don't like comments as they imply too much attention to my size.
Only comment on someone's weight if they start up a conversation with you about it, or you've had previous conversations about dieting with them.
At my last job there were 2 people who used to talk constantly about their weight, what diet they were on and what they eat. It wasn't a topic I had any interest in so stayed out of the conversations. One day I walked in and the bloke exclaimed loudly that I had lost weight, I hadn't. Then wouldn't let it drop."you've lost weight! Have you lost weight? You HAVE lost weight".
I shrugged my shoulders and said Dunno, as I had no interest in talking about my weight. So he turns to those around him and asks everyone if they think I've lost weight. So I'm stood there with a room full of people staring at my body.
I still don't join in, say don't think so and carry on. But he still felt the need to exclaim that I'd lost weight. As I walked out the door he said "she's so rude". What the actual fuck?
It's just plain rude to comment in someone's weight.
"Have you lost weight?"
"Have you had sex recently?"
"Do you shoplift?"
"What product do you use for your shamefully bad skin?"
As a PP said, what the hell is wrong with "how are you?"
It won't make me like you more if you pretend I've lost weight or if you draw attention to my body publicly and uninvited.
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