When is it okay to tell a friend that her lifestyle of having sex with any guy, even ones she doesn’t like, is pathetic?
I’ve known her for years. She’s sweet and helpful as one girlfriend to another. But with men, she’s weak, a magnet for those who just use her.
She’s caught several sexually transmitted infections because she never protects herself and doesn’t ask any questions of her sex partners.
Her parents, living out-of-town, don’t have a clue about her behaviour. She confides in me like a big sister because I’m a few years older.
She shows no awareness that men just take advantage of her and tell others how “easy” she is. They’re even known locally as “bad guys.”
I fear that she’ll one day be set up for something very dangerous.
Very Worried Friend
Speak up! Tell her that she’s taking dangerous risks. Some STI’s can affect her health for years. Worse, when “bad guys” get fired up, they can become a wolf pack.
Urge her to make a fresh start elsewhere and help her move. Then, like a big sister, urge that she see a counsellor, even if you have to help find one and accompany her there a couple of times.
Dear Readers - The impact of over-indulging in high-sugar and fattening foods when young, to the point of becoming obese, can cause years of a poor self-image while growing up, and health problems that can last a lifetime.
Following are Readers’ Commentaries about a mother’s deep and personal concerns over her teenagers’ love of sweets (June 23):
Reader #1 – “Being overweight myself for many years I know the toll on one's self-esteem, and how it undermines self-confidence.
“Yet, I was extremely active and mostly ate a well-balanced diet all my life.
“Although my feelings of low esteem were almost always brought on by weight-related comments, I indulged in sweet comfort foods.
“Unfortunately, I was genetically programmed to be short and dumpy. I didn't choose to be short and dumpy.
“During my teens and early 20s, I felt the weight on my shoulders all the while friends, relatives and, to a degree later, my husband and also the culture that said I must be weak-willed.
“I now know that I’m a smart, intelligent woman who could’ve achieved much if I hadn't lived with the weight disapproval of others, both personal and professional.
“Today, I finally accept myself as I am. I eat a very healthy diet, try to exercise and don't waste a minute thinking I cannot do something because I’m overweight.
“I’d definitely encourage a healthy diet for everyone, just not at the expense of the overweight person.
“I’d also encourage an active lifestyle but again not at the expense of the overweight.
“I’d encourage people to learn/understand what is actually in their food and also how the big money-making food corporations have added to the problem.”
Reader #2 – “In today's world we are very aware of racism of any kind, as indeed we should be.
“However, this doesn't necessarily include all discrimination against others whom we believe to be different from ourselves. This is the discrimination against being overweight!
“People feel perfectly free to discuss someone’s weight in the most derogatory manner. Even medical doctors can be offenders.
“I realize that they’re concerned about the physical health of the patient but it doesn’t give them the right to imply weakness of character, or low intelligence of the patient, or any other comment that’s degrading to the person.”
Reader #3 – “It’s a big challenge managing kids’ food intake – and not always manageable.
“Time to mention how addictive our sugary and highly processed foods are. Some salt and fat bombs out there too!
“A mention of the addictive nature of foods may lessen the stigma of overweight. On the other hand, maybe this is such a well-known aspect of eating these days, that one does not need to mention it explicitly.”
Reader #4 - “The way to teach children about a healthy lifestyle is by example. Provide nourishing food, occasional treats, and go on family outings such as biking and hiking.
“However, teens are teens, and have friends, and will go to McDonald's with them.
“By harping on their weight, this mother is setting the boys up for negative body image and a lifelong eating disorder.
“She must stop viewing her sons through her own insecurities, and lay off the criticism.”
Tip of the day:
When a friend’s at serious risk, get involved in helping.