When to say sorry
Thursday, August 06, 2015
Last week, a friend looked over at me mid-chat and informed me: "You have lost a lot of weight." I agreed, and then she said: "You look very different now." In a slow, contemplative way. I then said, apologetically, that my doctor had "made me" due to blood pressure issues.
I have learned the last few months to talk matter-of-factly or with an attempt at humor, when friends or coworkers bring up my weight. But this time, I felt the need to apologize. I'm not sure it was the appropriate response, but it was what I felt at the time.
My friend was still recovering from surgery she had a few days earlier, and waiting for biopsy results. She is also more overweight than I have ever been, and over a decade older so has had more time to learn to live with it. I guess it felt awkward to joke or talk in detail about my weight issues when she is dealing with potentially much more serious health issues.
My friend is one of the most amazing women I know. She's brilliant - it's sometimes hard for me to keep up with her since she thinks and speaks at light speed! She and her husband adopted two young boys with special needs, internationally so they are a multicultural family, and the boys are unrelated so had to learn to love each other in addition to their new parents. Their kids are still young and their health issues will need a few more procedures before they reach adulthood, so parenting requires so much more effort and patience than most would be able to provide. I think of my friend and her husband as modern heroes, for the family that they have made with those two boys.
So I'm not sure if it was logical, but I felt apologetic not just for my weight loss, but for my relatively good health (at least for now!). I've been fielding questions about my weight loss from other people who've asked for advice, but have never offered it unasked. But for my friend - I wonder if it would help for me to bring it up the next time we get together for lunch, after she recovers from her current health near-crisis. She's mentioned being concerned about her husband's weight in the past, and that she had to work hard the two weeks before her surgery to eat healthier and be more active. Maybe she could use a friend to talk to about a longer-term effort.