CW: eating disorders.
There’s no way that we can know everything there is to know about someone just by looking at them. Even the physically visible things may not be all that discernable!
But that sure doesn’t stop some people from having their immediate opinions, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor fidnn189 was out to dinner with her boyfriend, a friend, and her friend’s new girlfriend, who did not know that she had a prosthetic leg and needed to carefully maintain her weight to avoid having to get a refitting done.
But when the girlfriend made multiple comments about what she was eating, and even went so far as to psychologically diagnose her behavior, the Original Poster (OP) felt the need to put her in her place.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for shutting down a girl’s attempt to diagnose me with an eating disorder?”
The OP was an adult who had grown up with a prosthetic leg.
“I lost my left leg when I was very young from a hospital-acquired infection. I have a prosthetic leg which I use for walking and another one for running and exercise.”
“When I was on my parents’ health insurance growing up, I got refitted regularly as I grew up.”
“Now I’m too old to be on my parents’ insurance, and while my company’s insurance is considered very good, getting a new leg or getting adjustments for body weight changes are still expensive.”
“I expect to be paying a fortune if I get pregnant. So I try my best to stay the same weight, and if I gain some weight, I can immediately feel it becoming less comfortable to walk.”
A friend’s girlfriend saw the OP’s reasons for wanting to maintain her weight as problematic.
“Anyway, a friend’s girlfriend and I were talking, and she began remarking on how I was not eating much.”
“We were out to dinner, and I just was having soup and salad while everyone else was having baby back ribs. I’d stolen a few bites off of my boyfriend’s plate but generally, I was trying to eat light.”
“I said I was trying to lose a few pounds.”
“She immediately assured me I was beautiful the way I was and I didn’t need to lose weight.”
“I told her I know I am beautiful, but losing weight helps with my mobility.”
“She began ‘diagnosing’ me with an eating disorder, saying I must have delusions that I was very heavy and having issues walking.”
“I was p**sed. She sounded super condescending, so I blurted out that she had no business talking down to me about my weight even if it was to tell me not to change it.”
“The other people overheard and the girlfriend got really embarrassed and left with my friend soon after.”
The OP felt somewhat conflicted about how the dinner out ended.
“My boyfriend thinks I should have explained why I need to keep my weight the same, but I don’t think I should have to pull out my disability to get her to shut up.”
“Though, with long loose pants, it’s often hard to tell I have a prosthetic leg. I don’t know if she knew, but I didn’t feel like justifying why my weight needed to stay the same.”
“But was I wrong for shutting down her attempts to diagnose me with an eating disorder?”
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 agreed with the boyfriend that the friend’s girlfriend needed more context.
“Soft YTA. If she doesn’t know you have a valid reason for watching your weight so closely, then she is just a friend trying to be a friend. Not a close friend obviously or she would already know, I am sure.”
“I don’t know how often people are worried about you or how many in your social group even know your situation. I will assume you have heard it more than once and this time it got to you.” – OneLuv1987
“YTA. Explain things to friends who care about you is not unreasonable.” – utahtwisted
“YTA, Don’t bring up your mobility if you are not willing to talk about your prosthetic. Just say you are trying to keep your healthcare costs down and have a medical condition. Or that you can’t afford a new leg.” – Effective-Lab-8816
“YTA, your boyfriend was right. You should have just said, ‘You know what, you’re right. I don’t need to watch what I eat, if I need to lose weight I can just…’ and then pull off your prosthetic and drop it on the table.”
“(Obviously, this is a joke, but I do think your boyfriend was right and you were a little too quick to be on the defensive. I assume your friend is important to you, and so, you should try to have a good relationship with their partner.)” – YankeeWalrus
“YTA. She was trying to help, she wasn’t even rude really, and all you had to do was explain that you have a prosthetic and it’s hard to get fitted if you gain anything. You didn’t even give her a chance outside of mentioning mobility.”
“I do understand that she may have jumped the gun a bit and you may feel some type of way about the prosthetic, but just explaining your situation isn’t ‘pulling the disability card’ or anything, it’s being upfront and honest… which is important to a friendship of any stage.” – VVReptile
But others completely understood why this immediately set the OP on a defensive edge.
“NTA. People really need to stop commenting on each other’s bodies, and ‘diagnosing’ issues that aren’t there, and being unwilling to listen to reason.”
“I was taunted and teased and questioned for anorexia for a number of years, even though I had been underweight my entire childhood no matter what I ate. It was just my body type.”
“You have a legitimate reason for minding your weight, and it was extremely rude for your friend’s girlfriend to dig in so deep when she had no idea what she was talking about.”
“I could see explaining more if she acted with any polite curiosity as to what mobility issues you had or something, but to imply you’re having delusions… nope nope nope. She deserved to be shut down however you most felt comfortable doing so.” – fallingintopolkadots
“NTA. Bringing up a potential eating disorder in casual dinner conversation is rude as h**l, and she should be embarrassed about it.” – C_Majuscula
“NTA. You don’t have to have an eating disorder to try to lose or maintain weight.”
“You mentioned ‘mobility.’ I assume she didn’t ask anything further about that, but mobility can actually cover a huge amount of issues, not just prosthetics. Maybe you had an injured knee or back and keeping the weight helps you manage the issue.”
“NTA. I think you were in your right to shut her down.” – atealein
“NTA. You don’t need to explain your medical history. She was in no place to say anything. She didn’t know you and assumed you had an eating disorder.”
“Eating disorders are serious diseases, and too many people tell each other they might have an eating disorder. It makes me mad because my best friend died from complications as a result of her eating disorder.”
“Additionally, there could be a variety of reasons why you weren’t eating. You could have been avoiding the sodium content in the ribs or restricting how much pork you’re eating. It could have easily been you wanted to have a ‘girl dinner.'”
“Good job for shutting her down!” – camebacklate
“NTA. Firstly, polite people don’t comment on what others are eating at a casual dinner like this.”
“If you go into that topic anyway, the only response to someone who then says they’re trying to lose a few pounds is OK, right you are, uh-huh, or any other anodyne harmless remark, and move the conversation along to a different topic. You do NOT diagnose a near stranger with an eating disorder and you do NOT double down when you know nothing of that person’s history.”
“And it is NOT up to you to educate her on the specific reasons you have for wanting to keep your weight at a certain level.”
“No doubt if you had educated her, she would have gotten defensive and mad and you would have been blamed for ruining the night. You did the right thing, and to my mind the only thing you could have done with someone asking nosy, intrusive questions.” – ZippyKoala
“I would also like to point out that, even though this isn’t the case here, let’s say you DID have an eating disorder. What is pointing it out going to accomplish?”
“If you were battling anorexia, maybe that soup and salad is all you can handle, and hey, that’s pretty awesome that you are out with friends and eating a nice light meal.”
“If you are battling bulimia, well now, that might trigger you to go purge because of attention put on you.”
“If you are self-conscious about eating… well yeah, obviously pointing it out is just going to make it more uncomfortable.”
“So yeah, this person was an AH no matter what OP’s personal situation is. Props to you, OP, for taking control of your body and staying on top of things in a way that works for you!”
“Side note: I am an IBS sufferer and often have to turn down foods that may trigger me, and I have gotten questioned too. I am not really comfortable discussing over food that if I did partake, I would end up curled on the bathroom floor crying and spring-cleaning my colon. People are jerks.”
“Take home message: Don’t bring attention to someone’s food (or drink!) habits. It’s rude and you don’t know (and don’t need to know!) their reason for their personal choices.” – skippinit
The subReddit could show the new girlfriend a little grace and assume she was just trying to help the OP, but they were in disagreement over the appropriateness of her comments and the OP’s reactions.
Some felt that speaking out of turn once was hardly a call for embarrassment, and the OP could have simply clarified her health history for her friend’s girlfriend, which might have strengthened their relationship.
But others felt it wasn’t the OP’s job to teach another adult how to not make assumptions, and when she made assumptions as grand and triggering as eating disorders, it seemed it was time she learned to gather all of her facts before making such claims.