Worried About a Dear Friend

Updated on February 28, 2008
A.C. asks from Ballwin, MO
12 answers

Ladies, I am up late worried about a dear friend. We started becoming good friends last year, when she wound up in the hospital with a bad cough/hole in the lung. I am so concerned about her b/c of certain stressors in her life and I don't know if I should talk to her about them; she is very overweight (she jokingly calls herself a "white fat girl"), her husband is a downer, constantly harping on the kids (I've never seen any affection come from him, nor hardly a smile/laugh...I almost don't want to go over there anymore b/c he stresses ME out), her kids are very overweight. I watch the poor eating habits they have (tho my sweet tooth doesn't make me Ms. Know it all either) and it pains me to watch. This girl is probably the best thing that has happened to me in a long time, we are like 2 peas in a pod with our sense of humor. I sense pain behind her enormous sense of humor and I just wonder if I should mention any of this to her (minus her kids and all). Please help!

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So What Happened?

Thank you ladies! I will take all those suggestions to heart. I probably need to clear something up, that my friend's husband loves her dearly. And I think she knows that. It is just my opinion that he is a downer, and when I have been around, he does not speak nicely to the kids or shows affection. That being said, perhaps he does these things when I am not around. i just kinda want to give him the benefit of the doubt. I base a lot of my feelings for him on my brother-in law, who acts the same way, and has since come out admitting he does this. So, this is why I may be extra sensitive to how this husband acts. I saw how unhappy it made my sister. Anyway, I will update you if/when I say something.

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K.M.

answers from Kansas City on

Maybe you could together join a gym or walk. If she realizes how much better she can feel about herself by doing this she may pass it down to her children. This might also give you the "alone" time to help her open up to you about things that may be bothering her.

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L.K.

answers from Springfield on

Mandi had great advise that I would like to add to. You could let your friend know how much her friendship means to you and that you want her to know it concerns you to see her under so much stress. Just let her know you are there for her and would like to listen if she ever wants to talk. She knows she is overweight and that she needs to eat better. Don't bring it up if she doesn't.

Walking together or just bringing the kids to the park can be great ways to get out and get active. Good luck.

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R.K.

answers from St. Louis on

A. - it's always easier to see a situation from the outside. I'm sure your friend has no idea, or is in denial of how bad her life is at home. She cannot be happy with her husband being so unpleasant - that could be why she's eating so much! I was in a very difficult marriage for 13 years with a man who was always grumpy and short-tempered. I am the Polyanna type so I kept pretending it wasn't happening. You know what helped open my eyes? Comments from people like you. She needs someone to point out that what's going on at home isn't normal. A comment like, "He seems awfully mean to your daughter" She may defend it out of reflex, but it will stay with her. Another thing you can do for your friend, if you have the money, is take her out of her home situation for a weekend. Bring the kids if you have to, on a mini-vacation (without the husband). Or just take her to visit an out-of-town friend or relative. By being away from Mr. Grumpypants for a few days could just open her eyes to the fact that life is much less stressful without him around. I had this eye-opening experience when I took my kids to visit my mother without my husband. I was so relaxed and I realized I DIDN'T MISS HIM AT ALL! Red flags! That's when I picked up the clue phone and knew my marriage was in serious trouble.

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J.T.

answers from Wichita on

A.,

I have a friend in almost the exact same position except she is too skinny, can't keep weight on etc... b/c of so many medical problems. She finally divorced her beater husband, but her kids now have serious issues and her oldest of 3 jusy got diagnosed with a rare nuerological disorder.

My point is that I have always been very open and honest with my friend. I see her and talk to her everyday. I told her the truth, which was that it is very hard to see the people I care about the most hurting the way that she hurts and if there was anything I could do, to please tell me. Then, and here's the important part, DON'T WAIT FOR YOUR FRIEND TO ASK, just start helping. In small ways like in your friends case, bring her lunch but make her a salad or healthy eating choice and you do the same. Invite her to walk or work out and keep on her. If she says no, just invite her the next day and the next and so on. She will eventually say yes, believe me.

It is hard when you don't like the husband, I know, so invite her over to your house. Invite her and the kids to the park with you. Make it a time when her husband is at work so there are no conflicts.

Most important...Constantly give her love and reassurance and if you are 2 peas in a pod like you say, then I am sure you have already opened up about personal things to each other- so don't be afraid to tell her how you feel about her health, and show her you care.

Jenny

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J.M.

answers from St. Louis on

A., It is so nice you are concerned about your friend. It is my feeling from prior knowledge, don't. The only thing you might do is keep very positive aroung her. Maybe say "come on I am worried about you,I want you to tke car of you so i can have you around." I think she knows what she feeld like, how her husband treats her, and the shape her kids are in. I feel she might be mad at you later or say something to husband , and then where would your friendship be. Do tell her you love and pray for her to get healthy. Tell her it is you being selfish, you want her around. You might help by making sure she goes to Dr. incourage her to try new foods. You could ask her and include her in activites even if she refuses you will be trying. I think she feels bad enough already and love you and eujoys a friend to laugh with. He sounds like a no good slob that she will stay with because of kids. Till she gets ready to she will not change. I pray eberyone who reads this says a prayer for her and God bless you for varing . I just know sometimes, most times, if a husband is mentioned or she starts taalking alot about her friendship with you. He is only going to make it tough on her. I would make it plain that if she EVER needs help with anything "him" you will stand by her. You have to be commited to do it as it would be a huge change for her, God Bless J.

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Y.B.

answers from Kansas City on

You need to tell her that your worried about her & her family. Let her know how you feel about her & your friendship, you can offer to go walking with her or join curves or a weight watcher program of some sort...offer to do it with her (even if you don't need it) it can't hurt for the both of you to eat heralthy.

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M.S.

answers from Kansas City on

That is a hard situation. If she isn't coming to you with the issues that you see you almost hate to bring it up. If you are financially able maybe see if she wants to join a gym with you. You could do like the YMCA or a community center where she could get the kids active as well. Or if finances or time wouldn't work for that try getting her to go for walks with you when the weather gets nice. Walks can be great stress relievers and help her with her weight. Good luck.

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S.S.

answers from St. Louis on

I agree with Kate. If you say something you might make her feel worse about herseld or her situation. I would try something like 'When the weather warms up I was thinking about walking at XYZ park 2 days a week would you like to join me?" Then maybe see will say yes and with your alone time maybe she will open up and you can express her concerns.

I know if my good friend started telling me about my eating habits or family issues I would be upset with her no matter how good her attentions are.

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B.S.

answers from St. Louis on

I think that you should voice your concerns to your friend. Maybe nobody has ever cared enough to actually talk to her about stuff and she may listen to you. Good luck!

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S.P.

answers from Kansas City on

I think the best thing a friend can offer another friend is a safe environment to talk about problems, a strong support system for getting through hard times, and the knowledge that your friendship is both given freely and and a source of joy for you too.

I loved what Jennie said! But if you are worried about being that direct (not everyone can take it), maybe you can just open the door to these conversations really gently and see if she picks up on them. Say something like, "you know, we've been friends for long enough that I've seen some things in your life that must be stressing you out a lot. I know you don't always get the affection and appreciation you deserve from your husband, for example. No guy is perfect, but if you ever feel you want to talk about it or just let off steam, I'm here for you." Or you could be even more subtle by saying something like, "I sometimes wish my husband would appreciate me more. Do you ever feel like that?" and just see if she takes the bait.

Good luck to you breaking through. You sound like the kind of friend anyone would be lucky to have.

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E.S.

answers from Springfield on

Sometimes what a friend needs most is to know that you care. The advice to walk/workout together is great. This will help her get away from those stressors temporarily while she is doing something for her health. Including the kids can give them a break from a stressful environment too, but make time to spend without the kids too since motherhood can be stressful. Prayer and availablility... I hope things get better for her. She already has one very important asset - a valuable friend who cares enough to stay up late worrying!

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S.J.

answers from St. Louis on

I think as a friend you should bring it up to her. I know my own mother is very unhealthy. She is overweight, she smokes and just doesn't take care of herself. I made the decision to say something to her the other day because I want her to be around for a long time to watch her grandbabies grow up. It was hard because I didn't want to hurt her feelings, but if I didn't say anything no one else will. I don't know if she is going to change her ways because of what I said, but it made her think about it anyway. Just approach her as a friend and not like you are judging her. She might appreciate it. Good luck.

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