Dear Intuitive Friend,
My friend and I are really close but I always get uncomfortable when we eat together. She’s bigger than me and always criticizes me for not getting the same portions as her.
Today we picked up Panda Express and she ordered a plate while I ordered a bowl. After we got our order, she asked why I didn’t get a plate. I didn’t know how to say that a plate was too much food for me without making her feel bad, so I lied and said that I had already eaten earlier and wasn’t that hungry.
A different time we went to Applebee’s, and again I still had food on my plate because I was already full, and she said that she wanted to get dessert. After I told her that I wasn’t going to get dessert because I was already full, she said, “Well, I can’t be the only one who gets dessert!” I felt guilty and ended up ordering the dessert just so that she wouldn’t feel bad.
It’s getting to the point where I dread going out to eat with her and feeling pressured to eat the same amount of food as her, but I don’t know how to have a conversation regarding this with her without making her feel self-conscious or offending her. How do I have this conversation?
Dear Already Full,
First of all, you are so kind and considerate to worry so much about how your friend feels in this situation. However, you are forgetting something vitally important. You must care for yourself first! It’s both physically and emotionally unhealthy to eat past the feeling of fullness, so please stop doing so in order to appease your friend.
You’re likely making this out to be a bigger issue in your mind than it needs to be. Just tell her that you simply don’t have a large appetite in general and that you will not eat more than you’re comfortable consuming. If you accept your friend for who she is, then she should do the same for you, and I’m sure she would appreciate the honesty.
Another thought is for the two of you to engage in some fun activities that don’t involve eating. What if you went to a painting class together, or out for a walk, or to go see a movie? I’m sure there are some things you’d enjoy doing together other than simply eating at restaurants.
Always remember, love others, but love yourself first!