100 lb. Club - does being fat inhibit your ability to make/keep friends? What are your opinions?




facingfacts12
06-19-2013, 11:30 AM
Am I hallucinating, or does it feel like being fat actually can have an impact on your ability to have friends?
Or is it always other factors that play and not necessarily your shape?

I'm not talking about the obvious attraction to opposite gender type thing, but rather making/having girlfriends if you are very overweight (and a woman) and so on.

Do people have a natural tendency to prefer being friends with thin beautiful people? Or is that baloney and do people choose and want friends based on a thousand other criteria?


Arctic Mama
06-19-2013, 12:13 PM
I think it's bologna. Anyone worth having in life will not be put off by something as banal as fat. I met my husband and most of my dearest friends around my high weight, it had zero impact.

Of course, the real point could be that I didn't *let* it impact, too. I didn't let fat be a shield or an excuse, which could be what you're seeing impact friendships. But that has nothing to do with appearance and everything to do with the insecurity underneath.

bargoo
06-19-2013, 12:25 PM
I think it's bologna. Anyone worth having in life will not be put off by something as banal as fat. I met my husband and most of my dearest friends around my high weight, it had zero impact.


Agree.


Tibbits2u
06-19-2013, 12:27 PM
In my experience being fat effects my ability to make and keep friends, i mean dont get me wrong I do have alot of female and male friends but they are all fat as well. however since I've gotten thinner i feel kinda excluded by them. Birds of a feather i guess.

I've noticed that people are nicer in general to me now though. they smile at me and make eye contact, instead of doing that thing where they look everywhere else except directly at you ! it annoyed me to no end. sometimes they even make small talk now ..they never did that before ! I dont know if its them or if its because i feel better about myself now and it shows. I'd like to give society the benefit of the doubt though and I keep telling myself its because of my increased self esteem.

the truely beautiful people have their share of problems as well, My sister was a model and naturally very thin. she has very few female friends. woman can get a bit intimidated by other woman who look better then themselves, heck sometimes they get downright catty and rude with her. calling her anorexic or treating her like she's a stupid, last week someone actually put a cheese danish inside her shopping cart at the grocery store !

I think in general people are most comfortable dealing with and socializing with people they see as being in Their "league" if that makes sense.

joefla70
06-19-2013, 01:00 PM
Not "letting" it affect your ability is important, as ArticMama stated. I think the reason I had few friends in school was due to my inhibition and lack of confidence from being overweight.

kaplods
06-19-2013, 01:02 PM
I think it can matter, but doesn't have to. I've never had difficulty making platonic friends of all sizes and even every "league" including socioeconomic (one male platonic friend gave us a such an expensive glass wedding gift that I'm afraid to touch it, let alone use it.

Dating was significantly more difficult than thin friends with my personality, but I like to think I made up for quantity with quality. However, even with dating, I was more successful than thin, beautiful friends who were shy (No one can accuse me of ever being shy).

If you're shy, introverted, or a homebody, making friends is difficult no matter what you look like, and it certainly doesn't help if you're overweight or otherwise outside the cultural standards of attractiveness.

I think personality plays a more important role. I never had the friend or dating trouble that my friends (of all sizes and socio-economic statuses), I suspect because I've always been outspoken, outgoing, and in most things, very confident in my abilities and worth. Before I studied psychology, it always shocked me when thin, pretty, and sometimes wealthy friends would date such losers (cute losers, sometimes rich losers, but still huge losers).

opheliaphoenix
06-19-2013, 01:15 PM
For me, personally, I would say yes. But, much like Arctic Mama pointed out, I think it has everything to do with my own insecurities and very little to do with my actual size.

I have spent a lot of years feeling shy and insecure, particularly during my more formative years, so it will be a tough habit to break. I've gone through periods where I've allowed myself to be more outgoing and have tried my best to be more confident, and - even at a higher weight - I was generally received positively by potential friends. But, I still battle that side of me that is a natural hermit, so keeping those new acquaintances as actual friends has been the difficult part for me. I tend to shy away from the things that other people love to do, so I have hindered myself from nurturing those friendships. But, it is something that I'm working on. I don't think being thin will make as much of an impact in other people's minds as a lot of us might think...but, I'm hoping that becoming a healthier weight will make me more open to them.

Hope that all makes sense!

Hyacinth
06-19-2013, 01:45 PM
More people approach me now that I am not morbidly obese, but I don't think it is because my personality has changed. I just think a lot of members of society aren't comfortable approaching someone who differs so much from the norm, whether it be a high BMI, a wheelchair or a hearing aid. Maybe now that I have lost weight, I am putting myself in more social situations though, too. I've always believed that my best assets are inside, not external, and I believe the same about other people.

I know that when I was fat, I had "eating buddies" much like an alcoholic has "drinking buddies." I think we tend to become closer to those who do similar behaviors and activities. I am now closer to several friends who have dogs, and we do dog dates and dog walks for social events, whereas in the past most of my social activities revolved around restaurants.

Garnet2727
06-19-2013, 01:52 PM
There is one useful thing about being fat. It's an a$$hole detector. Anyone who wouldn't befriend me because of my weight isn't someone I want to be around anyway.

AnnMarie77
06-19-2013, 02:21 PM
There is one useful thing about being fat. It's an a$$hole detector. Anyone who wouldn't befriend me because of my weight isn't someone I want to be around anyway.

So true!

I have kids in elementary school and activities etc, and man, do I run into a lot of *****y, stuck-up moms in my travels. I definitely think that some of them avoid me a bit because I am obese. But then again, they are also the jerks who avoid new people, who avoid the people who don't drive fancy cars or live in big houses or wear expensive clothes. "A$$hole detector" is right! Love that phrase.

I've also noticed that I'm more likely to think about how some mom snubbed me instead of thinking about how most were friendly. I think it's all about focusing on the nice people, and ignoring the rest. And then I try to reach out and be nice to other people who might feel even more on the outside than I do at times.

SweetScrumptious
06-19-2013, 02:49 PM
I believe it definitely has for me. I do think I had more of an issue with it throughout late elementary-to late jr high school (when popularity was developing). Altho I was very shy growing up and didn't like attention brought on to me; I probably wasn't very approachable. I remember having a LOT of friends in elementary school. But when we started getting near the age where popularity was an issue - friends started dropping me like flies with NO explanation. I pretty much had a new set of friends by Grade 5-6. But then the new friends I did make also started dropping me. I remember one year; I hung out with this certain girl a lot in Grade 8 (every day at school, went to her house lots). When summer started, she blocked and deleted me off of MSN Messenger. I had to ask a mutual friend why and all she could tell me was "Donna doesn't want to be friends with you anymore". No explanation, no reasoning. Just out of the blue - was not expecting it at all. I cried on my bed that day. I do believe that was based on my weight and low popularity status. I also had a couple of girls that I was friends with in Elementary. In Grade 9 (after all my friends dropped me in Grade 7/8 - I started "hanging" out with these old friends from Elementary again), one day I went to the bathroom and came back and they were gone. A girl came over and said that they ran away from me (she at least offered for me to come sit down with her group). After that, I made new friends and stayed with those consistently until graduation. I'm still only really friends with a handful of those girls and only have made a handful more friends.

Even though I'm less shy these days - I "just" started hanging out with people from work and this is after almost 3 years of working there. I do 100% believe that when I start dropping weight - I'll be more confident and probably be easier to make more friends. Or maybe it is because I'm acceptable to hang out with now. Who knows - I guess I'll see when it actually happens.

SuperHeroTeacher
06-19-2013, 03:24 PM
There is one useful thing about being fat. It's an a$$hole detector. Anyone who wouldn't befriend me because of my weight isn't someone I want to be around anyway.

This ^^^. Seriously. I, however, am someone who is very particular about friendships. I have 3 or 4 great friends and everyone else I would consider no more than an acquaintance. Chances are somebody who wouldn't want to be friends with me because I'm fat is someone I've already decided I don't want to be "friends" with for some other reason (probably because they're shallow and narrow minded).

That being said, I'm 40-years old and have a semi-healthy self esteem. I didn't become over weight until after my pregnancies in my mid-20s. If I had been an overweight child or teenager when I was full of insecurities and lacked any self-esteem whatsoever, it would probably be a different story...

Elladorine
06-19-2013, 03:40 PM
I was a pretty normal, happy kid through the first part of grade school, even if I was a bit on the shy, anxious side. Then the first weekend of sixth grade I became gravely ill out of nowhere; my mom took me to the hospital and I was having my first asthma attack, on top of a bad case of pneumonia and strep throat. I spent several days in the hospital and missed the following week of school, and was immediately reprimanded by my teacher in front of everyone for it upon my return (really, what kind of teacher does that . . . ). I lost all my friends practically overnight, not from getting reprimanded of course, but because I was gaining weight and I was gaining it fast. I had doctor's notes to excuse me out of everything from gym class to taking the school stairs since it could flare an attack, and was constantly teased about being fat and lazy and for the asthma attacks themselves. In turn, I started sneaking food and it became one vicious cycle. Looking back from an adult point of view, several of my teachers looked the other way and even supported the cruel exclusionary attitude from the other kids since apparently the shaming would cure me of my bad habits. The school psychiatrist often told me he "knew" I was faking my asthma attacks (?!) and demanded to know why I was constantly "cutting" school (i.e. in the hospital). I can remember begging and begging my mom to let me transfer to another school because even my best friend since before kindergarten preferred standing alone in the corner of recess over the embarrassment of being seen with me.

The rest of junior high was much of the same and it absolutely destroyed my self-esteem. Luckily things got a little better with high school since our school merged with another and introduced a lot of new students, but I was so unsteady and unsure of myself that it was still hard to make friends. Even now with GAD I still have a hard time and I find myself being extremely intimidated by those thinner than me even though I know it doesn't matter. I don't really blame my weight alone, but it was an obvious trigger that's still taking a lifetime of effort to heal from, even as I find myself in my 30's. I also used to think that losing weight would solve all my problems, but I've gradually learned that my insides have had to heal for the process to begin. I think I'm doing much better, but I still have relapses of wanting to drop dead from feeling like the fattest girl in the room. Making the built-up shame go away is an enormous process.

Trazey34
06-19-2013, 04:28 PM
I disagree. I have friends I've had since high school, and lots of friends I've made & kept along the way. I have a naturally outgoing personality and I find it very easy to speak to people, and I'm funny :D

That being said, a lot of people let their weight affect them, become shy and introverted - which makes it hard to make/maintain relationships.

It's always funny to me when people, after losing weight, say all of a sudden people become so much friendlier ha ha and never think the black cloud they had over them making them Eiyor is finally gone and now THEY are nice first :)

gamechanger
06-19-2013, 05:03 PM
Well, I don't mean to sound like Negative Nellie. But, quite frankly, the general public is prejudice against overweight people, so it is more difficult for an overweight person to make friends and to keep them. This is even more prevalent for a person who has been overweight for most of his or her life (childhood traumas, being ostracized, shamed, and/or ridiculed by children and adults can take a heavy toll on an individual's perception of life and of himself/herself) There are some folk by the grace of God or by the shear strength of their outgoing personality who have avoided the negative social effects of being overweight. However, not everyone has been that fortunate and blessed. Personally, I have also discovered that even when you make a friend your friend can either consciously or subconsciously treat you with less concern or with less esteem because you are overweight. The friend begins to view you as a tool or as a "fall-back" plan when their initial plans fall through. The friend may conclude based on your weight that your time and activities are not as important as his or hers. This is when the issue of keeping a friend comes into question. My only answer to this dilemma is: Bolster your self-esteem, and find your own interests and purpose in life. Work towards your goals while continuing to have faith in God. Also, loving yourself while being good to others will help you to remain stable and joyful as people enter and exit your life.

Trazey34
06-19-2013, 08:10 PM
Personally, I have also discovered that even when you make a friend your friend can either consciously or subconsciously treat you with less concern or with less esteem because you are overweight. The friend begins to view you as a tool or as a "fall-back" plan when their initial plans fall through..

yikes!!! you picked the wrong friend, cut 'em loose!! Fat/thin/tall/short whatever, rudeness is rudeness and no one should stand for it

punkrocksong
06-20-2013, 07:18 AM
I don't know how much of it has to do with being "fat" persey, but I've never had had very many friends because I'm a really introverted person and whether or not that has ever had anything to do with my weight, I'm not sure. It probably does a little bit on my end at least.

Martine
06-21-2013, 05:58 AM
I've always been quite shy around new people to begin with, but I've allowed myself over the years to develop really poor self-esteem because of my weight and THAT is why I do not make friends, not because of the weight itself.

kaplods
06-21-2013, 01:27 PM
I disagree. I have friends I've had since high school, and lots of friends I've made & kept along the way. I have a naturally outgoing personality and I find it very easy to speak to people, and I'm funny :D

That being said, a lot of people let their weight affect them, become shy and introverted - which makes it hard to make/maintain relationships.



I don't believe that it's a matter of "letting" weight affect us, so much as the effects of two variables:

1. The temperament we're born with (the genetic aspect of personality), and
2. The fact that our cultures and subcultures in many cases, put pressure on us to conform to expectations which seclude us. In many subtle and not-so-subtle ways, we're taught that as fat people (and the stigma really extends to anyone who looks in any way physically unattractive) we don't deserve the same courtesies, respect, and decent treatment as the "normal" and attractive people.

I believe gamechanger made a very good point that good fortune and strength of personality play a very important role.

I've been fat since kindergarten, and I also was born with an extremely outgoing, sociable, and optimistic personality. My parents (one mildly shy and generally optimistic, one extremely shy and extremely pessimistic) parents didn't know what to do with such a child. They tried to reign in my personality - this child who happily trusted and talked to strangers.

Being fat added another layer to the problem, as the females in my family (who tended to be thin in youth and early adulthood and fat in later years. They had so many "fat girl" rules (not to blame them, they didn't invent the rules, they just passed them along).

Some of my optimism, sociability, and outgoing nature was effectively suppressed, just not enough to rob me of friends - or enough to keep me from doing things I wanted to do badly enough (like swimming and going to college).

Trazey34
06-21-2013, 11:23 PM
I don't believe that it's a matter of "letting" weight affect us, so much as the effects of two variables:

Some of my optimism, sociability, and outgoing nature was effectively suppressed, just not enough to rob me of friends - or enough to keep me from doing things I wanted to do badly enough (like swimming and going to college).

I guess I just find that a bit contradictory -- it's not a matter of letting it affect you...but then you illustrate exactly how you didn't let it affect you.... if you get my meaning???

I know that people are born with a personality and weight can contribute to that personality. I also know, like a lot of things in life and the world, 'mind over matter' is a real thing.

If every slight from society can determine who a person is going to BE, there's more evil at work here than fat thighs.

Interesting topic!!!

kaplods
06-21-2013, 11:59 PM
I guess I just find that a bit contradictory -- it's not a matter of letting it affect you...but then you illustrate exactly how you didn't let it affect you.... if you get my meaning???

I know that people are born with a personality and weight can contribute to that personality. I also know, like a lot of things in life and the world, 'mind over matter' is a real thing.

If every slight from society can determine who a person is going to BE, there's more evil at work here than fat thighs.

Interesting topic!!!


Yes, the situation is quite paradoxical.

It would be to say that I didn't let social pressures affect me, but I'm not sure how much choice I had in the matter. I think the temperament I was born with, did much of the choosing for me. No doubt, if I had been born without such a strong, even forceful personality, my situation would be very different. Our personality may determine our choices and opportunity for change.

My parents and sisters didn't choose to be shy. Being shy, limits a person's choices.

Certainly a person can make choices to overcome their natural instincts, even faking personality traits they don't actually possess, but that's damned difficult.

Medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds and other mood-moderators can help, but that's not a solution everyone is comfortable with (though I've seen it work miracles).

I'd like to think my advantages were all my own doing, that I excelled academically and socially by my efforts, but I have to acknowledge that I may have simply won the genetic lottery for intelligence and social skill (though I lost the lottery for a tendency towards obesity and health problems).

Genetics, environment, and choice ALL play a role, but there is no way to know exactly how much - and it's probably a different proportion for each person. To make it even more complicated the variables interact. Your environment can effect which genes are expresses, your genetics and environment influence and even determine some of the choices available to you, every choice influences others and can influence your environment.

The paradox only lies on the surface. When you see all the variables at work, it makes much more sense. There's only so much a person can do to overcome or compensate for their environment, upbringing, and genetic predispositions.

"Faking it" is great, but oversimplified advice.

Lyn2007
06-22-2013, 11:24 AM
Maybe before, I was so obsessed with getting a giant plate of fried zucchini and onion rings at the fair and making a beeline for the Ranch dressing that I didn't have time to socialize. It's hard to chat and make friends or notice the people around you when you are off in binge la-la-land where nothing exists but you and the food.

ikesgirl80
06-23-2013, 03:00 PM
Maybe before, I was so obsessed with getting a giant plate of fried zucchini and onion rings at the fair and making a beeline for the Ranch dressing that I didn't have time to socialize. It's hard to chat and make friends or notice the people around you when you are off in binge la-la-land where nothing exists but you and the food.

Though I was nodding and agreeing with everyone's responses in someway, for me, this was the "BINGO!" post.

Food overtook me for several years, and food was a better friend than ANY, except for 2 (Ricky & Stephanie) in my WHOLE life.

ellezony
06-23-2013, 03:48 PM
I feel that I had more friends when I was larger. But that is probably due to the fact that I was still in school so I was forced to be around people.

gamechanger
06-23-2013, 05:30 PM
I agree Ellezony. In college while living the dormitory life, I had many more friends and acquaintances.(Yes, I was overweight during my college years.) However, during this time I was constantly surrounded by people, and I was significantly younger, had less self-esteem, and was less selective when it came to picking my friends. With time, experience, and maturity I have developed a better definition of real friendship. Based on this more mature and emotionally healthy definition, the number of people I call "friend" has decreased significantly. One factor of my definition of friendship is that a person must respect me and judge me by the content of my character and not by my physical features. If a "friend" demonstrates that he or she considers me less worthy based on the fact that I'm overweight, I no longer consider that person to be a friend. When I finally got to the point of eliminating those on my friendship list who considered me to be less than worthy, I was left with precious few names on the list. However, I don't miss the ones who didn't make the cut. :-)

GirlyGirlSebas
06-24-2013, 10:38 AM
Strange as it may seem, I forget that I'm a large woman. In my head, I'm the same size as everyone else. I can say with certainty that people treat a large woman differently. It has been much more difficult for me to make friends now that I'm almost 300lbs. People are still "friendly" and we have wonderful conversations when we are at the same social events. However, people seem less inclined to accept my offers to go to lunch, shopping, movies, etc. And, I never receive invitations to do the same things by others. And, let's don't even talk about the subpar service I now receive in stores and restaurants! Even though I have gained a lot of weight, I still take pride in my appearance. I wear makeup, style my hair, wear pretty outfits with nice sandals or heeled shoes, spritz with my favorite perfume....but, shop clerks never approach me to ask if I need help and cashier's don't make eye contact. So...pesky me....it has become a game to force the cashier to look me in the eye and to ask the shop clerks a ton of questions! :D

Vex
06-24-2013, 01:40 PM
It definitely made a difference in high school and my 20s. Now, 20 years later, not at all.

Maturity, on both ends, makes a huge difference.

Hyacinth
06-24-2013, 03:37 PM
GirlyGirlSebas, I get "pesky" in that way with apathetic customer-service workers, as well. lol

Lyn2007, I wonder if there isn't more than an inch of truth for me in what you said, too!

gamechanger
06-24-2013, 06:28 PM
Rhonda, you're a girl after my own heart. Keep on being pesky. :D

Mission Fat to Fab
06-24-2013, 06:38 PM
I grew up constantly feeling like the outsider but when I look back I realise how many friends I had while I was at school. I went to university in London and picked up more friends there, then did my masters and met my soul mates, then worked and did another course and worked again and along the way I just picked up lots of friends. I've always had a very busy social life and I know a lot of people, but I realise that that is just me.

Now that i've moved back home, The people who shunned me for being a fat kid have all grown to become my friends over the years - they've all been through their own dramas and we've all grown to respect and love each other for who we are and not what we are.

Now that I've started losing weight, I've shut myself off a little bit, and I find that i'm really shy now. I can't begin to imagine what i'll be like when I get to goal weight.

Missys Mom
06-24-2013, 08:26 PM
In my opinion, being fat affects all areas of your life....whether it be friends, family, employment, relationships, etc, etc, etc. I think the only relationship it has nothing to do with is when you have pets....they love you unconditionally. I have a border collie and two cats and they love me as I am. I was married for years and there was abuse teh whole time on and off but as the marriage went on, my weight became more of an issue and teh abuse got worse. I only found out after the fact that my husband cheated on me repeatedly over the 15 years we were together. During our legal separation I lost 60 lbs really easy, I starved myself and I started looking half decent. In 2005 I was on the brink of 400 lbs. I was finally divorced in 2007. I then dated a bunch of douchebags. I then met who I thought was "The One". He disappeared on me because he couldnt stand to be with me because of my weight issues....funny though because apparently according to his mom he was in love with me.....chalk it up to someone obsessed with vanity and I guess he was ashamed of me. I dated more douchebags after him and havent had a relationship since 2005. I have read articles one of which put things in perspective for me. I put on my weight because I have a horrible opinion of myself (I have had low self esteem and have hated myself since I was a child) and in order to not ever be hurt again. While I miss the companionship, I do not miss the drama of a relationship, the bullshit, the lies, etc, etc, etc. My friends etc talk about "the deed" and to be honest I guess I dont miss that anymore either.....I often wonder what that even is because Ive never had any that was satisfying.
Oh and on top of it all, my family was always horrible to me because of my weight problem, my grandmother especially....at one point of my marriage she asked my now ex husband what he saw in me....that he could do so much better.....well, guess what? He has.....he is now married to a rich ***** who is 10 years older then he is....he is living the high life and Im struggling.....and Im not bitter.