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Dear Harriette by Harriette Cole

Friend needs space from negative influence

DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend and I decided to join a weight-loss program. It’s a monthly subscription and costs a lot of money. Though I’m considered to be overweight, my friend is obese. We vowed that we would do this together, but she won’t quit complaining. She hates the food that the program provides, and she’s constantly talking about quitting — even though it’s only been a week!

I can’t keep trying to support her because I have to support myself. This is causing a rift in our friendship. I don’t want to be around her negativity. I’m thinking
of asking for distance until I’ve reached my goal weight. Is this the right thing to do? — Need Space

DEAR NEED SPACE: Losing weight can be difficult. In order to be successful, the process requires you to examine your lifestyle, your patterns and your choices. Being hungry can stir up a lot of emotions, too. It sounds like you and your friend are going through your individual challenges and having a hard time.

Rather than simply walking away, sit down and talk to your friend. Don’t point the finger at her. Tell her what’s going on with you. You are feeling the need to tackle your weight loss solo. You thought you would be successful buddying up with her, but you realize that your approaches to this difficult effort are very different. Tell her that you need to do this on your own. If she presses you to learn what is not working between you, you can tell her that her complaining makes it hard for you to stay on your game. Wish her well, then step away.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’ve been opening up to a family member that I shouldn’t have opened up to. I’ve always thought of my aunt as a
safe space. I thought that
the things I’d told her were staying between the two of us, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. My aunt has been telling several other family members the things I’ve told her in confidence.
I feel so betrayed and humiliated. Her defense was that she didn’t want to be solely responsible for knowing about the dangerous things that I’ve done in the past
in case something were to happen to me. Would I be wrong to cut her out of my life for this? — Hurt and Betrayed

DEAR HURT AND BETRAYED: You don’t need to cut your aunt out of your life. It would be wise to share fewer details with her about things you want to remain private. That said, it sounds like you are grappling with some issues that need to
be explored and tackled. Sometimes the risk of sharing things and potentially no longer keeping them private is worth it for you to heal.

Consider going to see
a professional. Someone who is trained in helping you process your stories and engage behaviors that make it easier for you to make smarter decisions can be helpful for you. As far
as your aunt goes, tell her how hurt you are that she betrayed your confidence, but don’t shut her out.

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