Welcome to Friendzone, Jezebel's column devoted to dealing with the valuable people in your life who you're not humping. Got an issue and looking for guidance? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most of my friends have gotten really into fitness and crash diets lately. They work out like crazy and post Facebook photos of all their "healthy" foods. That's well and good, but one of them has started to really get on my nerves. She called my snack "unhealthy crap," made fun of me for not wanting to go on a morning jog on our camping trip, and put up a status update that read, "Love my spinning workout! Fat and lazy people don't know what they're missing!" I called her out on the "fat and lazy people" comment, and she told me that if I found it offensive, I had self-esteem issues. This girl used to be fun. What the hell do I do now?
Your letter reminds me of a coworker who told me she "hates" fat people. I was quite confused until I did some thinking and realized the truth beneath her words: she's probably terrified of being overweight because she equates being fat with being unloved and unwanted. In this way, she is not unlike the archetypal homophobic high school football player who secretly fears his own desire to suck all the dicks.
Your formerly awesome pal has morphed into one of those awful Health Nazis. These people are convinced that they're members of a superior race simply because they've decided to incorporate cardio into their daily lives. We've got plenty of those here in Southern California. These folks are different from Health Evangelists, who are simply so stoked on the power of exercise and nutrition that they've got to share the good news with other folks. Health Evangelists are generally pure of heart. Health Nazis are jerks who've finally found an excuse to hate on people who are different from them.
Once people latch onto a belief that makes them feel superior to others, it's really tough to get them to let go of said belief. Part of her identity is now bound up with being fitter than others. Talk about self-esteem issues. God forbid this woman ever get an injury that prevents her from being able to ride her precious bicycle to nowhere!
Anyway, you might want to try sitting her down and calmly telling her exactly how and why she's offended you. Start with "Suri, you are important to me, but I've been having trouble with our friendship lately." End with "Again, I'm telling you this because I care about you and I want to improve our relationship." I don't know that it'll change her in any way, but it might make you feel better – and heck, maybe she'll come around a bit. If a chat doesn't appeal to you, you've got to decide if you can put up with her comments or if it might be better for you to step away from this relationship.
My BFF is a doctor. She regularly posts on Facebook about patients that are especially frustrating. Sometimes she says some really catty stuff (including embarrassing personal details about the patients). I think it's possible she could get in a lot of trouble for this, even though she doesn't use names or identifying information. I also feel bad for the people she's mocking, even if they never find out. Should I say something to her, or should I just limit her posts in my news feed and never recommend anyone go to that hospital ever?
I like your instincts, lady. You're looking out for your girl, and you care enough to tell her something she might not exactly want to hear. Sometimes the best friends in the world are the ones who call us out on our less admirable behavior. The important part is to let her know that you're doing this because you care about her.
I couldn't quite figure out whether or not her posts might constitute a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). I'm no lawyer, and certainly no expert in medical ethics. I did consult a medical professional who teaches budding young medical professionals and she said that there must be an ethical violation in here somewhere, because somebody could potentially figure out a patient's identity based simply on details provided. I think this is especially true if you live in a small community, even one within a larger city. Bottom line: if it's bothering you this much then I think it's worth bringing up with your BFF.
Have a phone chat or, better yet, a face-to-face encounter. Say, "Listen, Shiloh, I'm really proud of how hard you work and I know it must get difficult sometimes. I see you using Facebook as an outlet for work stress just like many people do. But since you're a doc, I'm really afraid you might get in trouble for violating patients' privacy. Also, these posts don't show you in your best light. I'm concerned they might make someone think twice about seeking your help or even hiring you."
My friends and I are in our late thirties. One gal in our group was with a guy for several years, and she spoke often about her desire to have kids. Last year, she went through a breakup and rebounded with a younger man who is like 30 going on 18. Lately she's been railing against the idea of having kids, really trashing the whole concept to the rest of us – which is kind of awkward, since some of us already have kids (I have three). I've always known this woman to really want children, and her sudden about-face seems a little strange. Plus, we're not getting any younger, and I don't want her to have regrets later in life that she never went for it. Should I bring up my concerns or let it ride? We live in a small town, so it might get real awkward real fast if she and I have a blow-out.
Ooh, I would definitely keep your mouth shut about her fertility. Your friend is clearly in a bit of a transitional phase. She's feeling out her boundaries, exploring new sexual territory, and adopting ideas that may previously have seemed alien to her. I'm sure the whole fertility issue is something she's considered on her own. She's no dummy.
What she is is rude. I'm not sure I want to have kids, and I certainly find some of them irritating, but I don't constantly go off about it (and certainly not with people who've chosen to have children). You might consider saying, "Hey, Apple. Me and Viv and Rumer and Tallulah and Moon Unit had a great time with you at the country club yesterday. But one thing in particular bothered me. You said, 'Ugh, kids are so awful.' Keep in mind that I actually have kids, and they're a pretty big part of my life. I've noticed that you express negativity about children pretty frequently these days. I'm just wondering what's behind that." Then see if she opens up and talks about what's going on. At the very least, she may stop sipping on so much child-flavored haterade.