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Missing Friend

I’m beginning to wonder if my oldest friend is avoiding me because of my weight loss.

Pigtails and I met back in 2nd grade and somehow have managed to stay in touch over the past umpteen years. She currently lives about 3 hours away from me, but she’s never been great with e-mailing or that old thing we used to do with envelopes and paper and pens. What was it called? Letter writing?

My point being, it’s not uncommon for us to go months without hearing from each other or seeing each other, but it’s starting to get pushed to an extreme here. I last saw her in January, right before I started losing weight, and she hasn’t seen me since. There’s been one or two phone calls since then, an e-mail or two, and recently a postcard from her Disney cruise. But that’s it.

The first 10 months or so I just cracked this up to Pigtails being her regular busy, communication-challenged self. She works a full-time job, goes to school part-time and is married. I’m rather amazed she hasn’t had a psychotic break by now. Hey, maybe she has! She hasn’t called because she locked up in a padded cell mumbling about credit hours.

Now I’m starting to get the creeping suspicion the weight thing might have something to do with it. Pigtails is a large woman too and I don’t know how my weight loss has made her feel. I think she is genuinely happy for me, but I also wonder if on some level I’ve made her feel bad about herself or guilty or some other feeling that would cause her to avoid me. I’ve heard of people losing friends right along with a lot of weight and I really hope that isn’t happening here. However if the situation were reversed, I’d probably feel jealous of her for doing something I couldn’t. Hopefully it wouldn’t be my dominant feeling though.

I just want to go hang out with her on the weekend, but I can never get in touch. She works a night shift, so I only ever get her voice mail. The longer this goes on the more the shock value is going to increase when we eventually do see each other again. It could very well get to the point where she could walk past me without recognizing me.

Hopefully I am just being paranoid and Pigtails is just being Pigtails. Or maybe there is something else going on with her that’s causing this continental drift in our relationship. You never really know what’s going on in people’s lives. If I have a motto in life it’s “People will always surprise you.” Sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad ways, but I never doubt someone’s ability to shock the hell out of me.

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10 Comments

Kirsten • November 30, 2005 at 10:00 am

There could be something else going on. Or it could just be that the longer you go without contacting someone, the more difficult it seems to do it.

I have to admit, I’m speaking from the heart here, because I went for nearly two years contacting hardly any of my old friends. I went through a bad time and didn’t want to talk to anyone, and when it was over, I’d sort of got out of the loop. I did want to get in contact, but didn’t know how to do it (on the most mundane level, over two years e-mail addresses and phone numbers can change, especially at our age!)

Now I sound like a weird loner, which I’m really not. But I kind of felt that nobody wanted to see me, because I’d vanished for so long… and then it just became longer.

I hope everything is OK with your friend, and that you do get back in contact soon…

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PastaQueen • November 30, 2005 at 10:37 am

Yeah, I’m hesitant to go with the “This is all about me. Me! Me! Me!” theory of why she’s been out of touch. I’m wondering if she’s depressed or something.

It’s okay to be a weird loner. I’m pretty much a weird loner myself.

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Hilly • November 30, 2005 at 11:17 am

Kristen -

Don’t feel like a wierd loner at all becauwe I know exactly how you feel. I sort of went through a rough patch about 5 years ago, then a metamorphosis and for the whole two years that took, I sort of shut everyone out and ended up making some new friends after all was said and done.

I agree that the longer you go without contact, the harder it is to make tht effort. If I can bring in a cheery spot though, I just recently heard from a friend that I have not talked to for a few years and everything picked right back up where it was left off…so maybe that can happen for you :).

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Mark • December 1, 2005 at 7:13 am

It doesn’t sound like it’s relevant to your situation, but I’ve read that some weight loss counselors recommend to people who are trying to get in shape to ease out of relationships with friends who are triggers to bad eating and fitness habits. For instance, if your friends are overweight and the only social activity they do is to go out to eat, sign up for some volunteer activity where you can meet more physically active people, and use that as your excuse for avoiding your less healthful friends.

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PastaQueen • December 1, 2005 at 11:37 am

Mark, I think that’s also part of the reason my friend has never quit smoking. Most of her friends smoke, not to mention it’s hard to break away from the social activity of taking smoke breaks with co-workers. Sometimes I wished I smoked just so I could go take a break every couple hours :)

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Rachel • December 5, 2005 at 8:28 pm

If it IS because she is jealous, try not to take it too personally. One thing I noticed when I was losing my weight is that even just being around me (and I was not talking about my weight loss at all, I was anorexic for Gds sake!) some of my friends felt like I was too “good” for them because I wouldn’t eat with them, or I wasn’t available as much (at gym). Of course, I had a major issue, but they saw my weight loss as me judging them rather than me making changes. Oy. Good luck, and don’t worry.

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Country Chicken • January 3, 2007 at 5:29 pm

I was reading through your archives and found this intriguing posting about losing friends.

Unfortunately, losing a lot of weight sometimes means that you also will lose some friends. A few weeks ago, I visited an old friend who has known me for almost 20 years. I had not seen her in a year, but when she saw me, she blurted out, “You’ve lost a lot of weight.” She looked perturbed. I didn’t know what I was supposed to say, so I said, “Thank you.” She said, “No, it’s really apparent. You’ve lost a significant amount of weight.” She didn’t mention my name throughout the conversation. Last week, I received a holiday card in which my friend wrote that she was confused and didn’t remember who I was because I looked so different. This incident made me wonder about the whole dynamics of outer appearance. I am aware that some people did not approach me in the past because I was morbidly obese. At work, the same people who once ignored me, now invite me to casual get-togethers. Long time friends worry that I am a different person. Inside, I am the same person, but how people treat me in the outside world is different now than before.

I lost a friend in the summer of 2006 because she felt threatened by the weight loss. I believe that some people secretly want their fat friends to remain the same weight.

So I am curious: did your oldest friend ever get in touch with you?

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Bekah • January 27, 2007 at 5:47 pm

Many friends will almost always react to you differently, at least at the start, when you lose a substantial amount of weight.

It’s hard not to take in personally, but I’m teaching myself to remove myself from the situation and put it down to their own personal body image issues rather than a reflection on your friendship.

Let’s face it: as women we all play the “weight” game – the I’ll-be-happier-when-I’m-skinny and expecting a magic pill to melt the pounds away, and most people do not have the patience or motivation to do it the healthy and less instant way. So when they see the weight loss in you, they feel jealous. Threatened. Inadequate. Like they have failed themselves.

I’m the first to admit this is how I have felt many times when I met a friends/acquaintance who lost a lot of weight.

And I’ve hated the hostility and lack of support from some of my own “friends.” But if you are doing it the right way so that it is a healthy lifestyle change rather than a crash diet, take it as a compliment.

When they start saying you are “too skinny” take it as a sign that you are changing your body shape and achieving what you set out to achieve.

And if you feel like the friendship is really worthwhile, take them aside and reassure them that you are still the same old person, you just come in different packaging!

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Susan • July 31, 2008 at 1:01 pm

I wonder if you and Pigtails ever got back in touch? What’s the story?

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PastaQueen • July 31, 2008 at 7:29 pm

@susan Yes, I’m happy to say we did and we’re still good friends.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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