Dear Annie: My friend "Janice" and I met in college and were bridesmaids in each other's wedding. We live down the street from each other, and our kids play together. Until recently, she'd been about 30 pounds overweight ever since I met her. She would always talk about losing those pounds but never do anything about it. So I was really happy for her when she found this new workout/diet program — not because she lost weight but because I could tell how happy she was to be staying active and healthy. She went from 160 pounds to about 130, and she's maintained that weight for the past six months.
But my happiness for Janice started to sour when she started pushing me to join the program, too.
"You've always mentioned wanting to trim down your thighs a bit," she said to me over lunch one day. "Have you ever thought about actually doing it?"
I was pretty taken aback. I stammered out something to the effect of, "Yes, but I'm happy with my body, really."
She pushed back. "But what's stopping you from getting in better shape?"
We went back and forth over the issue over the course of a couple of weeks, until I eventually agreed to go to a three-hour seminar on the weight-loss program she belongs to.
I was totally not into it. I could tell the people running it were just trying to make a buck. I had to leave a half-hour before the event was over so I could tuck the kids in, and the program representatives practically blocked the door. They tried to get me to sign a check for $200 right then and there to commit to losing weight. I politely said no and shoved my way past.
Well, as unpleasant as that whole experience was, I thought it would be worth it if it got Janice off my back. But it didn't. She keeps bringing it up and saying how much I could benefit from it. I'm not even technically overweight!
I don't want to hurt Janice's feelings, but I've had it up to here with this baloney. What should I do? — Weighing on Me
Dear Weighing: You can immediately shed 130 pounds by getting Janice off your back. Her judgment is clouded by the high that weight loss seems to have given her, so you're going to need to be extremely direct. Tell her that you're not interested in the program but if you ever change your mind, she'll be the first to know. And say that until then, you can't stomach another word on the subject.
Dear Annie: I have another take on the answer you gave to "Tired of Boring, Never-Ending Chatter," who was peeved because a friend interrupted his telling a story. When someone butts in to the middle of a conversation and just goes on and on about whatever he or she can think to talk about, it could be a hearing problem. My mother has bad hearing, and she is constantly cutting me off in the middle of a sentence. Then she goes on about something no one is even talking about. Tell "Tired" to see whether there is some way to get the hostess to get her hearing checked. — Frustrated With People Who Don't Know They Can't Hear in Texas
Dear Frustrated: You're not the only one who wrote in to offer that explanation. It's a great point. We are social creatures, and it makes sense that people with undiagnosed hearing loss would try, however haphazardly, to contribute to the conversation. Anyone who notices this sort of behavior in a loved one should encourage him or her to talk to a doctor about hearing tests.
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