Wednesday 15 August 2018

Dear Mary: Obese housemate makes me feel so guilty for NOT eating

Stock picture
Stock picture

Mary O’Conor

I'm not sure if you deal with friendships that are not of a sexual nature, but I'll give it a shot as no one else seems to be able to answer my problem. I live with a very good friend of mine. She has put on a lot of weight over the last few years and gets quite upset over it at times. For the most part she is happy-go-lucky and easy to live with - hence why I still live with her.

I am health conscious and energetic. I have a small figure by nature and I also work on it. When my friend decides she wants to get a takeaway or eat pancakes, or ice cream late at night, I generally don't want to partake and it really upsets her and she seems to take offence. I actually dread now when she decides to go on a binge and sometimes I'll have a small bit to eat just to avoid her getting annoyed over it.

She has asked at times if I want to order a takeout pizza - but if I say I'm not interested she gets annoyed and says she won't have one then either.

I have started going to the gym the last few weeks and have been hiding it as she makes sarcastic comments like "aren't you great". Don't get me wrong, I really like her, but I just don't know how to deal with these episodes? I can't find an answer to this anywhere.

Mary replies: Surely it's a good thing if your housemate decides not to get a takeout when you refuse to join her. I wonder what is going on in her life that is causing her to overeat, or perhaps it is simply that she puts weight on easily. But, whatever the reason, you should not have to suffer because of it.

When she offers you food late at night and you don't want to have it, then it is her problem if she gets upset and it shouldn't be yours. While not wanting to appear judgmental, you could say to her that you find if you eat late at night that it upsets your sleeping pattern and then you are not able to get up in the morning.

Also you should not be hiding your gym visits, nor should you see her remarks as being sarcastic because they might not be. Next time she says ''aren't you great'' you can reply that you are not really great, that it takes a lot of effort to get there but that afterwards you really do feel great.

Explain about the endorphins being released after working out and how good that makes you feel, and she may understand a little more as to why you do it.

Life is made up of choices - you have chosen to be healthy and work out, she has made her own choices.

If you don't feel guilty about your choices then your friendship will be able to continue.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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