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How Do I Keep an Adult Friend Who Has A Very Limited and Unhealthy Diet

I have a dilema. I have a female friend who is 42 years old and a professional. She is single and desperately wants to meet someone special. She is of above average looks and is of average weight. He biggest social is the fact that she only eats Pizza, cheese, bread, pasta with either butter or a plain marinara sauce, mozzerella sticks, french fries/baked potatoe or pancakes/waffles. And, of course she eats sweets -- candy, ice cream and all sorts of pastries. Yes, she eats like a 6 year old.

She keeps asking me why she doesn't meet anyone and i cannot help bringing up the way she eats. She is interested in men who "like the finer things in life" and I keep telling her that one of those things is food! She just ignores me. Infact, I have just recently told her that as a friend I cannot go out and dine with her...it is like i am sharing a meal with a toddler.

Any advice on what to do?

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  1. You cannot help those that do not want to be helped.

    What if you invite her over for dinner? Will she eat what you serve?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Jen76

      Unfortunately she won't eat what I serve. We spent 8 weekends with her in a house share out in the Hamptons and it was a gastronomic nightmare...she will choose not t eat than try something...I even work with her...in a very professional setting and have watched her a work luncheons completely ignore the food on her plate at company paid for conventions. And, then she doesn't understand why she does not get the respect of her peers. She does not draw a link between her eating habits and her character

      1. re: jansteph

        "She does not draw a link between her eating habits and her character..." - excuse me, but what sort of "character flaws" would be evidenced by such a diet? And in what industry do you both work where this would cost her "the respect of her peers"?? I'm curious, really. Not eating what your friends or company graciously offers is a bit of a manners problem, but I don't really get the rest of the "adventurous eating equals good character" equation, especially when it comes to platonic friends or in a business setting. Really, who cares what's on your plate - it should be how you do your job or what kind of friend you are that really matters...

        1. re: Morticia

          Ok..i am not talking about someone who is a meat and potatoes girl...i am talking about a grown woman, who by the way works in the healthcare field, who is 42 years old, who eats literally nothing and i mean nothing but pizza, french fries, cheese and plain pasta...no meat, no vegetables..not even a piece of lettuce, not a legume, not a fruit...no juice....who has been recently rushed to the hospital for stomach ailments was given a chat to by physicians and still chooses to eat like a toddler..and to be frank, toddlers eat better. It is like sitting by and watching someone who is grossly overweight eating a plate full of twinkies and then continuously complaining why they are overweight...at some point you just either say something or walk away.....being a friend is about saying something...walking away is being a coward...and not a friend....

          1. re: jansteph

            But you have said something, as have the doctors, and the ex-boyfriend. Is there much more to be said?

            1. re: julesrules

              you right..there isn't much more....i guess these posts have been my last ditch effort to possibly uncover a bit of insight to keep my from walking away from this friendship which needs to be done somewhat delicately since we do work together......she doesn't have many friends....infact, none that I know of.....and now i can understand why....i know several people have posted to just ignore it...or take food out of the equation....well, when you work long hours and have limited time on your hands, coupled with a social culture that is driven by food (reason for this website and many others)....that is quite difficult.....and at 42 myself, i choose to attempt to eat more healthy...and pizza/french fries are not a staple in my life...moreover, the constant whining about why she is alone and doesn't have anyone in her life has reached critical overload as well......i guess i really know what i have to do, i am just reticent to do so; it will hurt her and it is not something i like doing

              1. re: jansteph

                Perhaps you can print this thread for her to read?

        2. re: jansteph

          Your friend missed her chance in the Hamptons if she only wanted a white collar guy. Blue collar men in the Hamptons (Landscaping, building trades, service providers make very good money. On the other hand, white collar real estate brokers are making zilch. I take it that the Hamptons house share was an "investment".

      2. If she's a good friend, I might write her a letter that she can reread. A conversation is too easy to ignore, but when it's pen & ink, it can carry a bit more weight.

        I had a nephew in law that fit this same general description - but even more limited.
        My niece divorced him after 12 yrs. She's met someone new who actually eats!
        What a relief & he is a joy to be around because he'll try new things.

        If you could get her to try a few new things, perhaps she could slowly increase the foods she eats. There are actually remedies for this type of behavior. But would she take one?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Isabella

          A letter is not a bad idea....that way I too can think thru what i want to say...thank you

          1. re: Isabella

            Letter is not a good idea. Do not put into writing your criticism, however well meaning, of a friend. It will lose you a friend. Unsolicited help, the road to hell, etc.
            If you have told her when she asked, that should be enough. If she asks again, you can say it again. A letter can be kept forever. Don't do it.

          2. I would let it go. You are not her caretaker. She has asked for your opinion, you gave it and she ignored you. IMO you will wreck the friendship if you write to her or tell her again.

            5 Replies
            1. re: smartie

              Agreed.

              1. re: smartie

                Agreed - it's not up to you to change her eating habits. She asked for advice, you gave it, she declined to take it (so far). Done and done.

                I am not sure why you can't go out and dine with her as a friend, but that's your choice.

                1. re: akq

                  I also agree. You call her a "friend" I can't see how the eating habits of a friend would be a deal breaker in whether or not to remain friends with them. Yes, it might be annoying, but many people do something others find annoying, it's just life and we learn to deal with it. If you have fun with her and this isn't an excuse to end your friendship then let it go. If it is an excuse for something else she may be doing, it could need further looking into that might warrent a break in the friendship.

                  1. re: michele cindy

                    Y'know, I find it harder to eat with a friend who is too much of a self-declared food or wine or beer snob, than it is to eat with a friend with simple low-brow tastes. I can always simplify my choices to match theirs and find something I'm happy to eat/drink. With my snobbier friends sometimes it can be a bit trying, as they pick apart and criticize the food, the service, my selections, the wine, the beer, etc. Yes, its fun to eat with someone who is adventurous and enjoys sharing the experience with you, but sometimes going too far to the food snob end is worse than the other. I'd just go have a pizza with your friend.

                    1. re: Firegoat

                      Yes it's always a delicate task finding the 'right', re: usually similar, minded people.

                      Classic experience of too high brow was going out with a couple who were family friends of my partner. The spent the whole evening savaging the food service etc. and then at one point turned to me and asked what I was studying, and to my response they asked why would I do two degrees that qualified me for nothing?

                      But if you go too far 'low' brow you find yourself mentally groaning when they pick an all you can eat trough experience over an actual restaurant - I think would probably rather be insulted by the high brow couple than waste stomach space on fried grease with some boiled grease and a side of oil slick. Even if they were better company.

              2. Go to the movies, go for a hike, go window shopping, take a Spanish class... find ways to spend time with her that don't involve eating... if you want to preserve the friendship. If you're looking for an excuse to end the friendship it could be that you're masking the real issue behind her eating habits, in which case it's time to stop calling her and start conveniently having other plans when she wants to get together.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Jetgirly

                  Seconded. Not all relationships have to revolve around food. Find something that both of you like to do and pursue that instead- be it going to concerts, watching films, hiking, taking a some sort of class together, or volunteering for a charity. She can pursue the same philosophy with romantic relationships and avoid going to dinner as a main date option. There are plenty of fine men out there who won't care that she's a picky eater, but if she's starting out a relationship by going to finer restaurants, she's just not going to get anywhere.

                  1. re: Jetgirly

                    To the OP:

                    I agree with Jetgirly. Take food out of the equation of the relationship. Meet for a movie after lunch. Meet in the park for a walk. Have drinks after dinner.

                    She has asked the question about her love life and you have answered it. Now quit answering it. If she brings it up again remind her that you've had that conversation ("I'm sorry, I don't think I have anything new to share with you, sweetie!"). Then change the subject.

                    Now on the other hand, if you are a fixer type of person, Habitat for Humanity might be a good place to go. There are lots of other worthy causes, too, of course.

                    Best of luck to you!

                  2. I disagree with the people who said you should just let it go. She can't meet the men she wants, and she's asking you for your help. As tough as it might be to tell her the truth, if you're really interested in keeping her as your friend (and helping her solve her problem), you have to try to help her. And it's clear that you want to.

                    I think a letter is a great suggestion. It will give you the time to think about exactly what you want to say and to express yourself clearly. Sometimes it's tough to say everything you want the way you want to in a conversation. When you give it to her, be sure to explain that this isn't something she needs to be taking lightly. Be crystal clear with her that her eating habits are negatively impacting many areas of her life, INCLUDING your friendship. Tell her flat out what you've said here - she eats like a child, and (fair or not) people around her have difficulty respecting her because they perceive that this behavior extends to other areas of her life as well. It's very important that you make her see a direct cause and effect relationship here.

                    If she wants to work with you, that's fantastic. If you can afford it, maybe offer to take her to lunch or dinner once a week - you'll pay if she agrees to try ONE new thing. Even if it's something like whole wheat pasta versus white or meat sauce instead of marinara, don't forget that it's still progress. Be prepared to be patient with her. Another alternative is, if you can, recruit someone she admires and respects to help you. My younger sister used to be a super picky eater, but when she would go over to friends' houses or out with guys she really liked, she would eat what they liked in order to impress them. Although it's not necessarily the right reason to try different foods, it worked for my sister. She still likes her food a bit bland, but she's made tremendous strides, discovered tons of things she was missing out on, and is now generally willing to try different foods when we go out. Since your friend seems concerned with garnering the respect of her peers, this might be an effective route.

                    On the other hand, she may refuse entirely. If you have mutual friends who feel the same way, you might even want to go so far as to have an "intervention" with her and let her know that it's not just the opinion of one person that she needs to consider. If she refuses all of your efforts though, just let her know that there are going to be consequences. Namely, you will no longer be willing to go out to eat with her or to do anything else with her where this type of childish behavior is likely to manifest itself. It sounds harsh, but you also need to let her know that if she's going to choose not to act on the advice that she personally requested, she needs to stop burdening you with this problem since, at that point, it's really just a waste of BOTH your times to keep discussing it.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Al_Pal

                      From my experience, when people ask why they're not meeting wonderful potential partners, it's more like getting something off their chest rather than looking to have their specific flaws analysed. It's usually a rhetorical question along the lines of, "Why do I always lose my keys?" If the person flat-out ignores your contribution to the conversation, it's a further sign that it was meant as a rhetorical question.

                      1. re: Jetgirly

                        Very good observation, Jetgirly.

                        To the OP: You've said your piece. How about just let her eat what she wants and don't worry about it.

                        1. re: Kagey

                          i think he isn't worried about it, but annoyed by her constant griping about her situation. from the op's description, she seems like an emotional vampire, stealing the op's energy. she eats pizza and downs it with a chaser of your energy.

                          op: i feel for ya, bro!

                          how-e-ver:

                          since you have to work around her, much can't be avoided without really engendering a poor work environment. you've said your piece about her personal issues. let it lie, and if it bothers you to eat around her, just don't! if she is otherwise a fine person, then you need to dial-down your frustration level by dialing down your need to make her change. if she is not a fine person to be friends with, then you can just be professional colleagues.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            I think the key is that JS needs to say something. Presumably she became friends with this woman for some other reason, and if it's strayed from that to the friend griping constantly about how she's single, that's a problem that needs to be address. I've done it on multiple occasions and it usually works out as long as both parties are mature adults. Part of being a friend is realizing that you're not going to love everything a person does or says and doing what you need to do to look past those flaws/disagreements.

                      2. re: Al_Pal

                        The OP said she spent EIGHT weekends in a house share in the Hamptons with her. This is in addition to working with her. Daily.

                        If she didn't get a clue then, she never will.

                        OP-Move on.

                        1. re: Cathy

                          I actually think that the amount of time the OP has spent with this woman is crucial. She works with her but still wants to spend vacation time in the Hamptons with her. This is obviously an important friendship, and it sounds like this is more of a recurring issue than a rhetorical question. I don't think the OP would be asking for advice unless she felt like this person was worth the trouble.

                          I know I've already posted, but I find this thread kind of fascinating. I mentioned that my sister has similar food issues (she's recently gotten better though), but I also have a really good friend who sounds just like this woman. Both my sister and my friend act like children in a lot of other respects as well, and I've never before considered that there could be some sort of connection.

                          My friend is well on her way to being a university professor, but she just WILL NOT eat like a grown-up. She eats tons of oreos and other junk foods, won't touch anything with lettuce on it, and eats the heck out of some french fries. Although I don't work with her in a professional capacity, I can only imagine what those who do work with her think if even our mutual friends believe it's ridiculous. She's an attractive girl, but there have been plenty of men interested in her who have come and gone over the years and have consistently mentioned her eating habits as being one of the primary reasons they were ultimately turned off. And the guys we're still friends with invariably list that as one of the reasons they could never see themselves dating her.

                          I've had my share of emotional food-related issues over the years, and it occurs to me that her behavior is possibly indicative of some deeper problem. Even if it isn't, it's still something that the OP should try to address for the sake of her friend's happiness.

                          Another suggestion: there's a current thread on one of these boards asking if food issues are grounds for dumping someone. Maybe even showing her those posts will awaken her to the fact that, for those people who do enjoy the "finer things," having a partner to share them with is an essential element of happiness.

                          1. re: Al_Pal

                            Yes - I too think she has other issues that are manifesting through her diet. She may need a therapist. It's something deeper then just speaking with her will help. I do not see any problem with a close friend suggesting this. It's a lot more going on here then simply breaking up over a diet - Here's another amateur psych. take, she does this to avoid commitment, she thinks she's ready, but deep down inside, she's not. This is a way out for her.

                        2. re: Al_Pal

                          Thank you for your articulate and thought out response.

                        3. I hate mothers who say, "My daughter is my best friend." Give it up! She needs a mom, lady! Conversely, I hate friends who appoint themselves to be my mother! You say she is your "friend?" Then it's time to back off. Respect her as an individual and give her room to figure things out for herself. Besides, I've known lots of guys who claim to like the finer things in life but eat crap. Maybe she'll meet one of them.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Caroline1

                            "Besides, I've known lots of guys who claim to like the finer things in life but eat crap. Maybe she'll meet one of them."

                            Love it!

                          2. If she just ignores you, then there's your answer right there. She's not interested in hearing the truth--if indeed her eating habit has to do with her not meeting anyone. Do you have any actual evidence of this?

                            It seems like there are other issues at play, namely your distaste of her eating habit, as opposed to anyone else's.

                            I have friends who stick pretty closely to a diet consisiting of the exact things you mention, and they haven't had any issues meeting people.

                            I find this all a bit judgmental. Are we all so perfect?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: gloriousfood

                              Yes, we do have evidence of this. Her last BF told her specifically that one of the reasons it would never work out is that he could not see himself eating like that for the rest of his life.

                              1. re: jansteph

                                And apparently, she didn't care enough to change her habits. So again, there's your answer right there. She either really doesn't want to know the answer to her question or choose to disregard it. The only thing you can control here is your reaction/action. For your friend, enough has been said to her, and it's time to either let her be and remain friends or remove yourself from the equation.

                                1. re: jansteph

                                  sounds like the last BF is making excuses....

                              2. You shouldn't impose your likes or dislikes on your friend. We are all individuals and will do what we want. Maybe she'll end up with someone who owns a pizza or ice cream shop, is that bad? Just be her unconditional friend.

                                1. Well, in terms of your friendship with her, I don't think her diet should really matter. You guys are both adults and can decide what to eat for yourselves. But if you want to help her out with her love life, just point her to this thread.

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/559260

                                  1. my advice: drop any more advice. she ignores it and doesn't want to connect her behavior to the lack of "fine living" companionship. she's a chuck e. cheese wanting to live in a caviar domain.

                                    give up hope all who enter here.........

                                    and when she starts to (again) bemoan her status, just say, "yeah, we've discussed this so much, it is like i'm seeing a field-full of beaten, dead horses!"

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      Alkapal's comment is pretty close to what I'd say. I'm a guy and I had a friend who had many bad habits and constantly bemoaned the fact that he didn't have a girlfriend. I listened, I talked to him about it, I offered suggestions and help. I offered him a computer so he could do on-line dating. After a while I really didn't want to hear about it and then it became such an irritation and chasm of lifestyle differences, that I parted ways. We had been very close, for many years, but I felt he had grown into living a lie and I just couldn't put up with it.
                                      Perhaps, as others have suggested, you can do something that doesn't involve food and tell her you don't want to hear about the problems finding Mr. Unobtanium. She may want to find herself a willing, more sympathetic ear. You are enabling her, to a degree, by palling and listening. In the end you have to decide what you can accept. Sounds like you are getting tired of it. Don't go out to eat with her till she does something positive and stick to your guns!
                                      That will be five cents.

                                    2. A 42-yo professional who can't see themselves objectively is a lost-cause. Most men can sniff women who only like them for their taste in "finer things in life"; and men who can probably prefer women in their 20s. Her unhealthy diet is just the tip of the iceburg.

                                      Unless she's a long-time friend, I'd cut bait on this one and socialise only when necessary.

                                      Sorry to sound so harsh.

                                      1. Perhaps her eating habits aren't the reason she isn't meeting anyone. It seems like you jumped right to that conclusion based on your own bias. If 'the finer things of life' means money - I've certainly met some very rich men with eating habits just like her. That's not for me but they would certainly work for her.

                                        Also, eating poorly is not a moral failing or a repression of some deep seated psychosis. It really is just preference and probably reflects on the rest of her less than adventerous life. (Which may be the real issue with her meeting men with whom she is interested.)

                                        Focus on the good things in her and your realtionship (and there must be many if you work and vacation with her) - just ignore her food decisions or avoid meals together. She is an adult and has the responsibility of caring for herself.

                                        At 42, it's likely that the only change she will make will be at the direction of her doctor.

                                        1. I hate to say this, since I am an almost-40-woman and hate generalizations. My female friends who are single and constantly wondering why they haven't found "the one" have multiple issues that turn men off. While I may enjoy being with them and can overlook these problems, I'm neither dating them nor living with them.

                                          The women I spend time with who do NOT always talk about men are the ones I most enjoy. I can only imagine that would be the same for men.

                                          Food is one way to share with another person. There are many other ways. She doesn't necessarily need to change her diet, but probably needs to find interests and hobbies. Wouldn't it be great if by a happy accident she actually met someone rock climbing?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: mojoeater

                                            yes. perfect articulation of how i see the matter. if she doesn't enjoy what we might consider good food, so be it. she'll meet someone on her own grounds. this is not for you (the OP) or us to orchestrate.

                                            rock climbing is awesome, btw. ;)

                                            1. re: mojoeater

                                              Totally concur. My aunt who is in her 50s has never been married (kind of rare for a woman of her generation and background). She's received countless marriage proposals, but has turned all of them down. She's not closed to the idea of marriage, but feels that she hasn't found the right person yet.

                                              And some of the Chowhounders may find this hard to believe, but due to a health condition, she can't eat any meat or have any oil that's been heated up (no sauteed foods, but salad dressing is fine). Otherwise, she breaks out into a huge rash and gets sick for days. Still, she's got guys after her all the time because her personality is so unique and vibrant (think of Julie Andrews from Sound of Music -- yes, she will sometimes pull the guitar out of nowhere and break out into song much to my chagrin).

                                              You're so correct that food is just one aspect of a person's life. In the thread I linked to above, I was surprised at how many people would dump a person solely on the basis of food preferences. While I'm risking losing my Chowhound badge by saying this, there really is much more to life than food.

                                            2. Believe me, your friend's eating habits are not preventing her from finding a man she deems suitable. The "finer" things? What does that mean exactly? A guy who orders pork belly, cheese foam and a bottle of 86 LaTour? Does this pretentious, metro, snot sound appealing to you ladies who responded? I don't think they're important to her either. The finer things are sitting by the fire on a cold night, a weekend at the shore, a walk in the woods with a picnic basket....These things aren't monetary, and should be more important 42 yr old woman. Men can smell gold digging, narcissistic, ladies a mile away. And talk about "finer" things, how many threads do we see here talking about good pizza, or the best way to make french fries? I would rather have a lady who enjoyed a good burger and a cold beer than one who forced down sashimi and evian

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                I hear what you are saying...but in this case...the issue is not about money...it is about celebrating life....you can't get away from it...food is apart of our culture...so, you get a promotion....you are having a family get together....how about the holidays...very few people over the age of 10 celebrate life's big moments with pizza....and as for the burger....she won't touch it...not because she is a vegetarian...because it is icky...she will eat the bun though...and tell you it is the best bread she has ever had

                                                1. re: jansteph

                                                  Sounds like she might be a carbohydrate addict...get her into a 12-step program, it might help. No, just kidding, but seriously, there ARE such things as upscale pizzerias that have tasty (yet relatively plain) wood-fired oven pizzas, with quality ingredients and nice atmospheres, that I, for one, would be happy to celebrate any special occasion in...and by the way, I am a little bit over the age of 10!

                                              2. I just began to wonder how long this woman has been looking for someone special. You mention that she's a professional, and it's far more common these days for women to establish their careers prior to getting into an establish relationship and starting a family. Singles who work all the time often rely on fast food/takeout and if she's been doing this for 15+ years, it's no wonder her diet is so bad. Obviously the workaholic lifestyle brings a lot of other issues along with it that could help explain why she's having so much trouble finding someone now.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: queencru

                                                  "She is single and desperately wants to meet someone special.' "She keeps asking me why she doesn't meet anyone"
                                                  Doesn't sound like someone saying they want to put off a relationship. What they say and what they mean mat be different.

                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                    She's desperate to meet someone special now, but that doesn't mean she was desperate 5 or 10 years ago. A woman who has put off trying to find someone special in favor of her career is going to have totally different issues than a woman who has been trying and failing for the past 15-20 years. I have been single for several years by choice, as are many women looking to further their careers or other goals.

                                                2. I think it *might* be appropriate to tell her, gently, that you find it rude and weird when she won't even taste something and leaves her plate full at business & social gatherings. That you were raised to take a bite and make nice faces, etc. That it might be affecting her more socially and professionally than she realises.
                                                  And that is really as far as I would go with it. Many women have eating issues (think dieting, extreme low fat or low carb, vegetarianism) and still manage to have friends, careers and relationships - so while this *may* be a symptom of some larger issues, I doubt it's the sole cause.
                                                  I do sympathize because my picky friend eater can drive me nuts, especially in a vacation setting where we are eating together often. For example, I buy some cakey, giant blueberry muffin monstrosities because I know she likes that kind of thing. The next day she still goes to the local donut chain to get a blueberry muffin.. because apparently she only likes that particular kind of bad mass-produced muffin. But she is appreciative when I cook for her (within her very limited specs) and I love her. I just have to remember that her food issues are HER issues and in the end, why should I care?

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: julesrules

                                                    Somewhere out there is a man for OP's friend who eats the same way she does. There must be some way to get these two together. If they are vacationing in the Hamptons they obviously live in or near New York City, where there are more single men than probably any other city I can think of (and hold your statistics -- Im just generalizing here).

                                                    I am wondering if the OP's friend has actually MET a man who prefers the "finer things in life" and noticed that his food repetoire is much wider than her own. And that "finer things in life" phrase is just a euphemism for "guy with money and willing to spend it". As her friend, OP has already explained that juvenile eating habits are holding her friend back. Her friend just doesnt want to hear it. Someday she'll meet a really great guy who WILL point this out to her, and perhaps HE can lead her out of the boring food arena.

                                                  2. Hi... Comedian Adam Carolla has commented/ranted about how a certain percentage of folks are forever stuck in what he refers to as their "Yummy Phase". Basically, beverages must be sweet(ened), appetizers must be crunchy/fried, meat/fish/fowl must be off the bone and free from any hint of visible fat (read: flavor) or cannot resemble an animal body part, and veggies cannot have 'weird' textures. Nothing too bitter or sour or fragrant, either. They pout when bits of onion get too near to their potatoes or drops of pickle juice touch their french fry. And their likely comparison of any sauce beyond ketchup is : snot. For them, if it ain't 'yummy', its 'yucky'. I'd compare their culinary taste to children, but that would be unfair to children, who are at least curious. The Yummy Phaser has lost all curiosity. To each, their own...

                                                    1. Hey JanSteph - your friends real or imagined issues aside, I wanted to tell you that it's ok to stop being friends with someone. There are people here saying that friendship is about staying the course and I argue that is not always true. You need to take care of yourself too. Maybe what is really troubling you about this friendship is that it seems to be a one way street with you giving all the support. I do think that it would be tough to regularly hang out with someone that eats junk like that, I even have a friend or two that do, but having a friend that just won't shut up about how unhappy they are without every doing the things in their power to get themselves at least a little happier, would be tough for me to continue to swallow, even over a delicious meal.

                                                      You will feel better if you address with her what is causing you to feel she is hard to be around. Maybe that conversation includes the food issue (but maybe not), maybe it includes the idea of a fun conversation once in a while, maybe it includes your own personal needs. And then if things don't work out, they don't, and you are not a bad person.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: emmaroseeats

                                                        I completely agree Emmaroseeats. Some friendships, just like romantic relationships, are so emotionally draining and unhealthy that they are not worth maintaining. JanSteph - I don't think you are under any obligation to remain friends with someone whose negativity is affecting your own well-being and happiness.

                                                        1. re: emmaroseeats

                                                          JS: You are absolutely not a bad person if you try and fail at helping someone that (perhaps), only wants to suck the life out of you, so they can exist. It is common for people to "dump" on others to lighten "their load". Then they go ahhh..... I feel better; but it is a momentary relief, because they have not addressed anything. These are usually very one-sided friendships.
                                                          JS mentioned working in the health-care industry. She might be some kind of care-giver, like a nurse. I'd guess there is guilt with the prospect of being the last to abandon this woman (she says she has no other friends). You do need to maintain your own sanity and mental health.

                                                        2. this isn't necessarily about food, as many posters have pointed out. We have all known i'm sure, at least one friend who complains about their situation and constantly asks advice, only to simply not take it, fail, and return to complaining and asking for advice, Yes it's draining, yes we sometimes lose patience even with beloved friends.

                                                          Does your friend whine and complain and ewwwww her way through every meal you shared with her? If she simply, and tactfully, does not eat or equally tactfully makes some form of explanation, this does not make her a beast of a dining companion. Yeah picky eaters annoy me a bit too, but less when they don't get on with these kinds of antics.

                                                          Besides which, unless you've dated her yourself (which is really the ONLY way to know what someone is like), you really can only suppose why she is not hitting it off with men. However, if she is the type to constantly question or reflect on why she doesn't have a partner, it probably has more to do with that, than her food choices....it does sound a bit desperate. (sorry). There's something to be said for what happens when you're not looking.

                                                          And please, i've seen plenty of men make some majorly questionable choices in women because they're physically attracted to them or what not. (this is not a man bash btw) Something tells me that picky eating habits wouldn't turn anyone off. I am not saying your friend is questionable

                                                          1. You're assuming that she can't find someone because of her eating habits because you don't like her eating habits. A lot of people who are around her age eat poorly, particularly men. If she's 42, the reason she can't meet anyone probably has more to do with probability than with her eating habits. Because there are more older women than men and because many of "the good ones" are taken by that age, the chances of finding single, decent men are low after age 35 or so.

                                                            I don't think her eating habits are the issue. You see it as one because it matters so much to you, but you're not helping her by pointing out what you don't like rather than other contributors to her problem. It seems that you're using her unfortunate situation to address something that troubles you.

                                                            Given the type of board this is, it's no surprise that a lot of people share your bias and reinforce its validity. However, that doesn't make your hunch correct. It just means you're taking your opinion to a place where you'll be largely agreed with.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: Orchid64

                                                              i guess what you are missing here is the fact that in order for relationships to truly be successful you must share some key areas in your life.....in this case, my friend wants a "professional white collar guy, who is successful, who is physicially active and who enjoys the finer things in life -- by that i mean enjoys travel, food, wine and in her case boating. Since I and her friend and work with her as well at a major pharmaceutical company I have been around her quite often to see and hear about what she finds attractive and what she goes after...these guys are indeed that...and truly take great pleasure in taking their girlfriend out for a wonderful dinner ...it is a part of their life and social culture. She does not understand that most guys are not willing to change their social habits....like dining out at nice restaurants and do not want to make pizza, french fries or mac and cheese a special saturday night out...moreover, you can't even take her to a bbq....she won't even eat a pasta salad because she wants her pasta warm...it get's ridiculous very quickly.....and let me make one thing perfectly clear...the reason i cited her age was not because you should be done and married at 42....rather...at 42 one has experience enough in life to understand that most men at that age are not changing...have children of their own and if you date them you should not eat like his kids....and at 42, you should also begin taking better care of yourself....she is heart disease just waiting to h appen

                                                              1. re: jansteph

                                                                I'm not missing any "facts" here. I just have a different opinion about the basis of a good relationship. I've been married for 20 years now and my husband and I are still madly in love with each other. We're just as obnoxiously interested in each other as we were when we first got together. My relationship with my husband has nothing to do with "key areas" like food habits, hobbies or physical activity. It has to do with communication levels, honesty, shared ethics and values, and compatible levels of need in all areas (attention, affection, etc.)

                                                                You're now playing the "I'm worried about her health" card, but, the truth is, and you can deny this all you want, you disapprove of her lifestyle when it comes to food and that is an obstacle which you cannot overcome. If that's the way you feel, then so be it. However, this is your issue and can't be projected onto potential suitors. I'm sorry that I can't agree with you and offer the validation you appear to be seeking to make you feel comfortable ditching a friend because she eats junk food.

                                                                If my friends judged me by something as trivial as food (or based on conclusions about my health based on what I ate which frankly is none of their business), then I'm not sure I'd care if they remained my friends. I want people to spend time with me for my character, not for my dietary choices. To me, this is little different from deciding to end or keep a friendship based on wardrobe, type of job, or pet choices.

                                                                1. re: Orchid64

                                                                  Aside from the whether or not they remain friends aspect, (which I agree, a real friend is a friend who is always there for you, especially if especially if one is ill, physically, or mentally). I think you missed something Jansteph said. This women has been hospitalized because of her diet habits. It's not as simple as "ditching a friend because she eats junk food". The women has a serious problem, that could be life threatening. This is a time she needs her friends most, and her friends need to be honest with how they feel about how & they care about her. They need to express they don't want to see her hurting herself regardless if she listens or not.

                                                                  1. re: Orchid64

                                                                    hey there..you hit the nail on the head when you wrote "share ethics and values". Unfortunately because my friend refuses to address her eating habits she has been hospitalized 2x in the past 4 months...as a friend I am concerned...i could not imagine being her husband or boyfriend who is invested in her on that kind of level. Her refusing to take care of herself is a 'value' and when she does not care if she gets sick what truly is she communicating to the people who care about her.

                                                                    Food being referred to as trivial is kind of curious as well...our US culture as well as other world cultures are obsessed with food; driven by food; our holidays and ethnic makeup is defined by food -- yes, it is about the people you are with...loving and sharing -- but food is omnipresent. And unfortunately, too many people are indeed over indulging...which is why the U.S. type 2 diabetes rates are as high as they are...food is not trivial...it is vital...far too many people do not take its impact seriously.

                                                                    As for being there for my friend, i have been. i have made the decision to step a way for awhile because she choses not to be there for herself.

                                                              2. The things she eats are comfort foods...carbs, dairy, and sugar. Any way to start with theses and gradually expand. Will she eat pancakes with blueberries in them? What about her usual pizza with one new (healthy) topping added?

                                                                One other thought is that she has gluten, casein, and yeast issues which make these foods addictive. Wonder if she would try gluten-free pancakes or gluten-free pasta? Another place to start would be with the pastries, maybe some healthy gluten-free pastries. Fresh fruit (strawberries, peaches, blackberries, etc) on her ice cream, different flavors of ice cream or sorbet/dairy-free frozen dessert.

                                                                Might also be a texture thing.

                                                                Is she very set in her ways about issues other than food?

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: lgss

                                                                  People should be aware that gluten free does not mean healthy. Yes, often the starches used tend to be a bit healthier (chestnut, garbanzo, soy flour, etc) but a lot of it is just that; starch (tapioca, corn, etc) with almost no health benefits but all of the carbs and calories. My fiance used to be addicted to gluten free pizza and gained a LOT of weight last winter! Another thing to keep in mind is that because it is still a "specialty" food, gluten free often means "a LOT more expensive!" That being said, a lot of people may be gluten sensitive who may not know it- if you're having stomach problems for a long time you may want to test yourself by eliminating all gluten for two weeks and see if you experience any positive changes.

                                                                  1. re: Nicole Glassman

                                                                    Yes, I believe lgss understands that gluten-free doesn't necessarily mean healthy. I think what she was getting at is that some people who have sensitivities to certain things end up having unnatural cravings for them. When they eat it, their cravings are satisfied for the time being and feel great. Then they feel crappier about an hour later as their body tries to metabolize the things they have issue with.

                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                      It's true. I love chocolate but dark and bittersweet chocolates give me migraines. Usually if I order a dessert that could have either of those in it (which I do regularly), I get a coffee with it and it keeps the headache away somewhat.

                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                        The OP's friend's diet sounds very much like the diet of individuals with autism spectrum disorders, many of whom have gluten sensitivity or celiac disorder. (When my nephew was diagnosed with autism and my brother and SIL attended parent support groups, parents introduced themselves to each other by asking, not the other's child's name or age, but "Which 6 foods does your child eat?" Those six foods were almost always wheat, dairy, and sugar based. Many families have discovered that a gluten-free diet or at least specific digestive enzymes play a significant role in those individuals expanding the foods they're willing to eat. Many individuals with celiac do not realize they have it. I'm not saying OP's friend is on the spectrum but couldn't help notice the similarity of diet. FWIW, I'm gluten-free (because I feel better enough to make it worth the trouble) and I work with individuals on the autism spectrum.

                                                                  2. Jan Steph - Just curious, so many points of view here. What have you decided to do?

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: michele cindy

                                                                      well, i have decided to keep my distance. I cannot stand by and watch someone physically destroy herself. She just landed in the hospital again for 'stomach' related issues. She knew better this time then to call me to take her. This is the 2nd time she has been hospitalized in 4 months. She told me this at work at the same time she was telling me she could not make one of my meetings...she was going home because she still did not feel well. She said she was trying to eat and pointed to the huge pastrie in her hands. For the first time i really felt like i was talking to someone with a serious eating disorder. One that is making her subclinically malnurioushed.

                                                                      1. re: jansteph

                                                                        Yikes! I think you're right... I hope she gets better.

                                                                        1. re: jansteph

                                                                          I hope one day she is able to seek the help she needs.

                                                                          1. re: jansteph

                                                                            That's a shame, but unfortunately some people just don't seem to get it no matter how sick they get. I have a few friends like this as well. One is now uninsured and still developing health issues possibly due to her weight. I've had talks with other friends about what we can do to help, but it just seems like it's pointless.

                                                                            1. re: queencru

                                                                              What if you set up a "Biggest Loser" like contest for you and your friends (unhealthy and healthy)? Use your own desire (unless you are an uber Chowhound and they won't believe you) to lose weight/eat healthy/lower food bills/etc., but lack of motivation so need company as the reason for.

                                                                        2. jansteph, any update?

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                            I'm dying to hear as well. With hospitalization #2, I'm wondering if this friend has taken any steps to improve her diet.

                                                                          2. Alot of armchair MD's here.

                                                                            Do we even know whether her stomach ailments (in quotes stated above as if suspected to be malingering) are even caused by her diet ? Perhaps it is the other way around? maybe whatever the heck has been going on with her stomach is influencing her meal choices.

                                                                            On another note....lots of mentions on here about how you work together and how she doesn't have the respect of her peers...how she couldn't make it to your meeting because she felt ill. I HOPE, that as a friend who happens to work with her, that you do not talk about her within the worksite, they way she is being referred to on this thread. Not likely she will get much respect then anyway.

                                                                            1. My husband and I have a friend who eats like a toddler, basically only white food (but no cauliflower) and pizza. As important as food is in our lives and as odd/unhealthy/stunted we see his eating habits, his positive attributes far outweigh this aspect of his personality. So, we go for good pizzas with him.

                                                                              1. Keep the friend by keeping your mouth shut. She'll find a partner who will love to feed her pizza from Spagos.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: melly

                                                                                  they have a spago's pizza kiosk in the hospital cafeteria? <ducking>

                                                                                  (sorry, i couldn't resist. i know, i know, it's a serious matter.... etc. ).

                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                    Please. Who cares what this chick eats. They must have become friends because of work. There are plenty of boring, stunted people out there with whom she can hook up. Even though I wouldn't care how another person choses to eat (we all have tons of friends, family, and co-workers who don't share our passion for food), I do, however, think that food choices will tell you everything you need to know about a person.

                                                                                    1. re: inbiz

                                                                                      inbiz, i am presuming you intended to reply to the original post, and not mine.

                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                        I did. Forgive me.

                                                                                        1. re: inbiz

                                                                                          I searched through this entire thread and did not find th e word "fart" once, so other than that, who cares what she puts in her mouth. She has problems NOT related to food, and won't be happy until whatever is really plaguing her is remedied

                                                                                2. Your friend's diet is limited but not that bad. Good enough if she's happy with it -- she's old enough to decide for herself. It's up to you if you want to remain friends. You decide, your choice. What happened to that woman who let her dog eat off her guest's plate? I would befriend her, and work with her dog so it doesn't end up at the pound when it's older and difficult to manage.

                                                                                  1. I think that a lot of people tend to associate food preferences like the OP's friend has with a sense of immaturity and irresponsibility, but obviously, this isn't the case, since the post author's pal works in health care, which is a field that calls for a sense of responsibility, so the colleagues who observe her eating patterns should just mind their own business.
                                                                                    I think if this lady changes her food patterns, it will be because she wants a healthy body, as everyone does, and it will take a doctor to explain that a diet of, basically, processed snacks is NOT the way to maintain a healthy body. And I don't think the OP has to quit the friendship, just, like everyone says, do things with her that don't involve dining.
                                                                                    And I believe that even without changing her eating style, this woman will find her Heart's True Hero one day, and they'll be happily sharing pizza and Oreos by romantic candleglow

                                                                                     
                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Sparkina

                                                                                      "...who has been recently rushed to the hospital for stomach ailments was given a chat to by physicians and still chooses to eat like a toddler.."

                                                                                      The doctor appeared not to work. Also, I disagree. Eating like this IS immature and irresponsible. She's treating her body like shit. Of course, it's perfectly within her rights to do so, but I doubt Mr. Right is going to be banging down her door, since she's looking for a man "who enjoys the finer things in life"; one of which is food.

                                                                                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                        "Eating like this IS immature and irresponsible. She's treating her body like shit. "

                                                                                        You do have a point, but there's a chance that her immaturity and irresponsibility is confined to food/eating rather than extending to other aspects of her life

                                                                                        1. re: Sparkina

                                                                                          It's definitely possible.

                                                                                    2. When something's none of my business, I try (sometimes less successfully than others) to butt out. Same when my advice is solicited, then ignored.