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Woman Balks After Friend Asks Her To Stop Wearing Midriff-Bearing Clothes Because It’s ‘Triggering’ For Her

Andre Sebastian/Unsplash

Mental health and body positivity are two subjects that have become increasingly important to a person’s sense of health and self-worth.

Loved ones who choose not to respect these things might be put at a distance, confided the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Blackbird-1973 started to think that she needed to step back from a friend who was beginning to make her question her body and mental health.

When the friend questioned her, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was going too far.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for refusing to change the way I dress so I don’t ‘trigger’ my friend?”

The OP had a good friend she could talk to about anything.

“I (19 female) have recently had a situation with my close friend (also 19 female) and it has had me conflicted on whether or not to compromise what I believe in order to maintain this 4-year long friendship.”

“My friend and I have always been super open and honest with each other when it comes to personal details, whether it be mental health or struggles we go through, and it’s something I value and appreciate within a friendship.”

“We have both been open and honest about having issues surrounding the way we view our bodies and have always been big supporters of encouraging each other to embrace and love the way we look.”

“However recently that has seemed to change on her part.”

The OP and her friend started going through changes.

“This shift all started when I went through my very first real heartbreak where I came out of a long-term relationship.”

“In dealing with the heartbreak, I have not only tried to work on my mental health but physical as well.”

“In doing so over the last 3 months of hard work and discipline, I have started to see solid results in the way I look including having a more toned defined stomach (something I’ve always wanted to achieve). As I’ve seen these results I became more confident in dressing in more revealing clothes you could say surrounding my midriff.”

The OP’s friend didn’t respond well to her transformation. 

“As I’ve been dressing more like this, my friend had increasingly made little comments about reasons why I should change. Most of them didn’t seem to make sense (whether it be the weather or location etc).”

“She has also started to criticize herself regarding her midriff, more to which I always make sure to reassure her that all bodies are beautiful and encourage her to embrace and love what she’s got working for her.”

“This kept happening for about a month until last week when she made a statement that caught me off-guard.”

“My friend informed me that the way I was dressing served as a trigger to other people and her self and she does not want me to wear clothes that show my midriff around her because it makes her feel uncomfortable as well as others.”

“This hurt me to hear as I never do anything will Ill intent but also because it made me feel insecure about my body as well (as if I should be ashamed in some sense).”

The OP spoke up for herself.

“After considering what she said, I informed her that I would not be changing the way I dress and told her that telling someone their body is a trigger is wrong and damaging to my mental health.”

“She called me selfish and said she would have thought I would be more understanding but I’m ‘not the friend she thought I was.'”

“I’m starting to wonder if I am in the wrong and should just be covering up around her.”

“So AITA for standing my ground and not changing the way I dress?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said the friend was the problem, not the OP.

“NTA. I also have a friend who has a smoking hot body, she works extremely hard for it, and she also wears revealing tops, and despite the fact that I know for a fact my stomach does not look like hers, it is not her job to make me feel good.”

“We’re both hot in our own way, and I still wear revealing tops too lol her projecting her insecurities onto you is what makes her the a**hole.” – AlternativeView1636

“NTA at all. Your friend sucks. It boils down to jealousy. As women, we have a hard enough time accepting our bodies when men make comments, other women should be allies. Cut this friend out, they’re toxic.” – DonnerKatze89

“NTA: good on you for developing more confidence from your hard work. Be proud.”

“As for your ‘friend,’ cut her off. That’s the end of the friendship. She could simply start working out with you but decides to blame you for her feelings.”

“You’re not responsible for her insecurities nor triggers. Trust me, insecure people are the cruelest when you’re no longer miserable with them. For your own mental health, kiss that friendship goodbye and keep working on yourself! Proud of you!” – Direct_smoke1750

“I’m a fat girl with LOTS of insecurity with my own body, but I’d NEVER project my feelings onto my thinner friends. My friends wear revealing outfits all the time like crop tops and low-cut shirts, and I’m always the first to be like, ‘You look f**king amazing!'”

“Real friends hype their other friends up, not try to bring them down because they don’t like their own appearance.” – aural89

Others agreed and took issue with the friend’s use of the word ‘triggering.’

“I hate it when people twist ‘triggered’ to mean ‘upset,’ and even more so imply that you’re responsible for managing other people’s feelings.”

“Like, yes, you should be kind to people and their struggles where you can swing it, but that doesn’t mean they’re entitled to control you.” – burnalicious111

“If this is true, NTA. Your friend is being ridiculous and weaponizing trauma theory in the process. Tell her to get over it.” – Smile_Technical

“What? NTA. Your friend is ridiculous. You dress for yourself. She’s not ‘triggered,’ she’s envious.” – Slugdirt

“There are very few things more irritating than someone using the language of abuse and mental health to try and manipulate things to their liking.”

“One solid minute of thought would be enough for the friend to know she’s being ridiculous, but she’d rather try to shame everyone else into conforming to her preferences than do even a tiny little bit of actual introspection.” – Wind_Yer_Neck_In

After receiving feedback from the sub, the OP shared an update.

“I don’t have a huge update so far but said friend reached out wanting to meet up and talk (she did not clarify it from her side if it was about our last conversation).”

“Considering all the advice I received and support I had by standing my ground, I’ve decided to leave a bit of distance between us for the time being.”

“I sent her a message and to sum it up, I let her know I understand body image can be a big struggle and although I still want to support her on her self-love journey the way she chose to address me and my body was not okay.”

“I also addressed that since I am taking time to build up my mental health as well, I need to be surrounded by people who would rather build me up than tear me down for my accomplishments.”

“I tried to be firm in the fact I would not be continuing on this friendship without an apology and proper change in her words and actions, as sorry can only go so far if change doesn’t follow.”

“I’m trying to be as understanding as possible because I know body image issues can play into a lot of delicate things that can be damaging to one’s self, but I’m also aware that I am not a professional and can not offer her the help that she might need to be seeking.”

“I have not yet received a response from her end.”

The subReddit was as taken aback by the OP’s friend’s reactions to her clothes as she was, but they insisted she was not doing anything wrong by wearing clothes that made her feel confident.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit