Etiquette Daily
Q: My sister asked me if I thought she needed to lose a few pounds, and I said yes, but then she got upset. This is such a land mine. What's the best response to such a question? A: Even in the most delicate situations, you should always be honest. But remember, it's not what you say, it's how you say it. Soften the blow by replying, "Yes, but you're certainly not alone-there's a reason why dieting is a multimillion-dollar industry." You might also want to suggest a plan of action, such as a gym class.

“Do I Need To Lose A Few Pounds?”: A weighty question

June 28, 2019 2 Comments

Q: My sister asked me if I thought she needed to lose a few pounds, and I said yes, but then she got upset.  This is such a land mine.  What's the best response to such a question?  A: Even in the most delicate situations, you should always be honest.  But remember, it's not what you say, it's how you say it.  Soften the blow by replying, "Yes, but you're certainly not alone-there's a reason why dieting is a multimillion-dollar industry."  You might also want to suggest a plan of action, such as a gym class.

Q: My sister asked me if I thought she needed to lose a few pounds, and I said yes, but then she got upset.  This is such a land mine.  What’s the best response to such a question?

A: Even in the most delicate situations, you should always be honest.  But remember, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.  Soften the blow by replying, “Yes, but you’re certainly not alone-there’s a reason why dieting is a multimillion-dollar industry.”  You might also want to suggest a plan of action, such as a gym class.

July 1, 2019

2 Comments

  1. Reply

    May

    June 28, 2019

    Let’s agree to disagree on this one. I believe the best answer, if you do believe the person needs to lose weight is something on the lines of: “If you feel uncomfortable with/unhealthy in your current weight, which is probably why you asked me, then by all means yes.” Suggesting a plan of action might also sound patronizing, so I’d go for “Have you thought about how you want to do this? If you need help, I’m here for you”. Obviously, if you do not know the person well, be extra careful what you say, and if you are dealing with someone with a history of eating disorders, it is best to make it clear you may not be the best person to ask: they should speak to a trusted professional.

  2. Reply

    Stefanie h Newman

    June 28, 2019

    I think there has been a total re-evaluation of body ideals finally. I would never answer a question like that in the way you suggest unless I were a doctor. Her sister’s weight might be right for her. I would just turn the question around and ask her how she feels..how’s her energy level, etc. That is really the main issue. To just say that dieting is a multimillion dollar industry only serves to show that it is an exploitive one, playing on women’s insecurities…hardly the example to invoke.

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