Dear Julie: Advice About Body Image and a Play Date Gone Wrong

DAME’s Friendkeeper gets real about women’s weight talk and helps a mom deal with the parent whose son shunned her kid.

Dear Julie,

I have a friend who complains all the time about needing to lose weight. She’s heavier than she used to be but I lean toward the “who the hell cares” mind frame. It reeaaaally bothers her though. The thing is, she doesn’t do much to change her situation. If complaining burned calories, she’d be a size 00. I get feeling uncomfortable in your body, and I have a lot of patience for it, mainly cause I battle it myself all the time (who doesn’t? I’ll have what she’s having). But when this friend suggests splitting dessert after we’ve spent most of dinner talking about how her clothes don’t fit, I want to pull my hair out. And then I feel like a judgmental jerk. Is it my job as a friend to simply listen? Or would I be a better friend if I tried to help her lose weight? I feel stuck between a rock and a piece of cake.

No Jenny Craig 


Dear NJC,

If complaining burned calories, I’d be a size 6–9 months.  I have no doubt your friend is feeling unhappy with her body because, you know, she’s female. So many of us do. A few years ago I was going through one of those unfortunate life times and I lost weight and dare I say, I was too thin—for me. I looked hollow and worn out. When I gained weight back everyone told me how much better I looked and I felt better but I felt compelled to complain about having gained weight. I think every woman has this inner photo of the thinnest she’s ever been and it somehow makes us believe it was better then. I’m digressing but I feel like the way we women communicate is that we talk way too much about the parts of our looks that we are unhappy with. I’m 48 and I don’t talk much about my weight anymore … now it’s about wrinkles and eye bags. I wish I could stop—I wish we all could. That said, I think when your friend complains ask her if she wants help or support from you to lose weight or if she just wants to vent. Sometimes people can take years of talking about something before they’re ready to do something about it. It might be that, or she might be thinking you’re thinking she’s heavy and she wants you to know she is aware of it. Either way, if you feel like tearing your hair out every time a friend bemoans her appearance, you’re going to be Telly Savalas.

 xx Julie


Dear Julie,

A few years ago my son made this friend, Eric. They became super tight besties and his mom and I became friends. We are very different, but we’re both single parents and it worked. Eric was really sweet and it seemed great and then one day on one of their play dates my son said something that Eric didn’t like and he didn’t want to be friends with my son anymore—that was it. My kid kept asking and asking to see him again and his mom said he wasn’t ready. But she still wants to be friends with me. And I was really pissed that this Eric dumped my son like that so I don’t want to be friends, which sounds kind of babyish, but too bad. What do I do?


Bug Off


Dear BO,

This is a short-term issue in the lives of parents of young kids. The amazing part of life comes not when your children can speak or walk or read to themselves, it’s when they can start having play dates without your involvement. True bliss. You never have to go to another weird mom’s house who doesn’t have air conditioning in her Manhattan apartment and it’s 95 degrees and she has the fucking oven on or suffer a dad who spends the whole play date at your house with his gross dirty bare feet on your couch. Not that I know anything about this. Actually, the idea behind you not wanting to be friends with her might feel babyish, but you can also think that if you were to get together with her, it would hurt your son’s feelings. I think that’s what you can tell her.

xx Julie


Got a platonic problem of your own that could use the Friendkeeper’s advice? Fire away: [email protected]. No situation is too uncomfortable or too small and all details are kept confidential.



Your financial support helps DAME continue to cover the critical policies, politics social changes impacting woman and their allies.