Friends can get away with saying tongue-in-cheek, slightly hurtful things more than strangers do.
After all, underneath those comments there is the mutual trust that, at the end of the day, the friend in question is as loyal and loving as ever. They’re just opting for some harsh humor in that moment.
But a recent post to the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit showed that it can go too far once in awhile.
The Original Poster (OP), known as shamrocking_ on the site, gave a sense of the incident with the post’s title.
“AITA for telling my overweight friend she’s fat?”
OP began by painting a picture of the friendship.
“So i [37-year-old female] have a bff [34-year-old female] of about 15+ years.”
“We met shortly after high school, were roommates for a few years, and even though we don’t live in the same city anymore we talk/video chat several times a week.”
Then she shared what would become a key detail.
“As restrictions have recently been lifted she came for a visit. I have always been on the thin side, and have been accused by others of having an eating disorder in the past (I have never had one).”
“I recently learned i have an overactive thyroid which may contribute to my ability to not gain or retain much weight.”
OP’s friend does not share that issue.
“On the other end of the scale she has always been a ‘bigger girl’, and has had trouble losing weight and keeping it off for any length of time.”
For OP, that difference has been made glaringly obvious.
“She has always commented on my weight throughout the years (you’re so skinny, you need to put some meat on your bones, dogs like bones, men don’t, etc)”
“…never ‘eat a sandwich’ because while living with me realized I eat the average amount. (3 meals a day+snacks).”
“We both have 2 kids similar in age. I lost the baby weight within a few months. 6 years later she hasn’t and is still above her pre baby weight.”
OP felt a clear imbalance.
“I have NEVER commented on her weight because I know it is a sensitive subject for her.”
“As of her last visit she said things that were very hurtful to me, in proximity to my weight. I look disgusting, my bones stick out, I couldn’t imagine being with someone as thin as you, etc.”
“I am technically underweight if you follow the bmi/height scale.”
Then OP surprised herself.
“This is where i may be [the a**hole}, because i kind of lost it and started saying a lot of negative comments about her body.”
“It must be hard to wash all those folds, that maybe more men would be interested in her if she lost a few pounds, and a few other comments im not proud of.”
The incident has led to an impasse.
“She said I was being cruel and fat shaming, and hasn’t spoken to me since.”
“I asked her why it was okay for her to comment on my body, repeatedly, but not for me to comment on hers.”
“I have apologized for what i said, because i do feel it was cruel. But stand by my point of if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Comments from Redditors fell mainly along two lines.
Some assured OP she wasn’t the a**hole.
“She’s not your friend. No wonder you lost it. Years of nasty comments about your body, it would drive anyone over the edge. NTA” — notAgirl77
“NTA, I am underweight as well and trying to fix it. She needs to understand that people can be body shamed in other ways then fat shaming and it’s just as hurtful.” — SyderoAlena
“NTA. As a skinny guy who has always had a hard time putting on weight the comments get old. Your friend is clearly projecting her insecurities and you through it back on her.”
“She started and you finished it. Some times you have to get down to their level for it to sink in.” — Headup31
“NTA and you shouldn’t have apologized. She was being cruel to you for may years. You are not her punching bag. She is not your friend and is extremely jealous of you.”
“Stay away from her. She is toxic.” — Fitbarbie1
Slightly more Redditors felt there was blame on both sides.
“ESH. You went low. I get why you did, but you should have put an end to the comments way before you fell to her level. Her for projecting her insecurities on to you.” — slydog4100
“I’m gonna say ESH. Ideally neither of you should be saying cruel things about each other’s bodies. She shouldn’t have said all of those things about your body for so long but I also tend to think there was a better way to tell her how you feel about it than the things you said.”
“IMO I think you both owe each other an apology or maybe you weren’t even great friends to begin with if you make each other feel like sh**.” — cosmicmillennial
“ESH. She has always been mean, but you shouldn’t have sunk so low. I’ve seen similar posts before where I was more forgiving of the poster, but your comments were especially bad.”
“ ‘It must be hard to wash those folds’ is what is really sticking with me. It honestly sounds like you two shouldn’t be friends.” — JennaFarce
“ESH y’all shouldn’t be shaming each other’s bodies. There are times when people go low and you should go high. There are times when people go low and you should go low too. And there are times when people go low and you should walk away.”
“You should’ve walked away. Your comments about how men won’t be attracted to her and how it must be hard to wash all of her “folds” were in no way appropriate.”
“As a side note, medical fatphobia is a thing. Be grateful you’ve never had to deal with it.” — TATastyFood
OP apparently heard those criticisms loud and clear. She added an edit to share her reflections.
“edit i realize i was out of line. She is NOT a toxic friend, completely the opposite, body issues aside. She has supported me though everything.”
“Helped me leave a bad relationship, took in me and my kids. Helped me get on my feet. I dont know if i would even be here to write this without her. All friends have hiccups. I shouldn’t have said what i said, but i do feel like i made a point.”
“I did apologize right away, and after some time she did too. She didn’t realize it effected me the way it did, and perhaps i was too nonchalant about approaching it in the past.”
“We’re back on good footing, and have made a point not to bring up each other’s weight unless in a positive light.”
Here’s hoping both friends learned enough from this incident to prevent anything similar from going down in the future.