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Will You Tell Your Friend About Her Unhealthy Eating Habit and How To Do That Tactfully?

November 6th, 2009 · 6 Comments ·


You probably have been eating healthily and exercising regularly. But, sometimes, when you are eating with your friends and see them eating lots of meat with soda, what will you do?

Will you say something to her or him or will you just keep quiet?

For me, it depends on the friendship and situation:

  • I do spoil myself with fast food, chocolate, ice cream or Starbucks coffee occasionally after weeks of workout. So, if my friend is having a “cheat day” diet like me, I doubt I will say anything. It is important to know your friend eating habit before you jump into conclusion that she always eats junk.
  • Second, women tend to be more sensitive than men. My guy friends normally have no issue when I tell them to watch their diet or exercise, but I am very tactful when I have to say the same thing to ladies. As much as they want the reality check from a friend, they can easily get offended if the wrong word such as fat, overweight, flabby or plump is used.
  • Some of my friends actually requested me to give my comments on what he eat – whether he has eaten too much meat. I have lunch with him pretty often and we work in the same place. We are close enough to trust each other and therefore this sort of communication works.
  • Of course that is also another group of people, regardless of gender, does not take comments with open mind. To them, “who are you to tell me what is good or bad?”


Therefore, consider following few pointers before you say anything:

  1. Look at the friendship and understand your friend’s eating habit. It sounds weird too if you are overweight yet keep on offering eating advice to someone who has better body shape.
  2. Look at the situation too. Do not offer any advice during a buffet or in a party. People are looking for fun and you can leave that advice to some other day. Never offer advice when third person in presence.
  3. Praise your friends when they eat healthily. Make them know that they are doing something good. Trust me, this type of compliment will spark off more discussion on how to eat or cook healthily.
  4. The most important thing is to let your friends know that you care. Make your intention clear. You offer advice because you want to genuinely help, not to make them look bad. Share with them the mistake you have made and the lesson you have learned.


Have you done any thing listed above? I am keen to hear from you.



Category: Nutrition

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6 responses so far ↓
  • Jonz // Nov 6, 2009 at 9:15 AM

    I advocate healthy eating and lifestyle all the time to my colleague and friends. Whether the msg goes across is another enigma. I believe they will come to a point in time whereby they’ll be asking for tips.
    Cant force it, ppl have to take their future in their own hands and for that to happen – self realization is needed.

  • Teddy // Nov 6, 2009 at 10:44 AM

    Never offer advice when third person is in presence. <– Really important if you care for the feelings of your friend. If your friend feels uncomfortable, then it is more difficult to get the message across.

  • Yin Teing // Nov 7, 2009 at 3:09 PM

    Great tips Mun. And I agree with Jonz- that sometimes, they may come on their own to us for advice, especially when they see the positive effects of good eating habits has done to us.

  • KL // Nov 10, 2009 at 12:21 PM

    I always take the middle road. I like to start a topic for discussion and make it look like I’m taking the neutral stand point – I love to provoke (not in a bad way) others thoughts, so that they’d think carefully before they voice out. From there, I’ll then know their stands on the topic and then decide how I should go about voicing my opinion. I always use sentences like “don’t you think that ONE should do blablaba?” I try not to approach someone with “don’t you think YOU should do blablabla?”

    I’ve once had close friends who were actually quite offended by my ‘healthy living’ advices because, I think, they think of me as a party pooper regardless of whatever situations we were in. They are so used to the life they are living and that they just don’t want to change and listen to any comments that I can give. They just don’t care.

    I went out with a friend to the supermarket the other day and so happened that his gf was there to buy snacks she can eat during office hours. I was suggesting healthier alternatives to her and my friend overheard our conversation and said this: “I think I should eat foods less in KLs”. He really cracked me up that day.

  • Tomasz // Nov 11, 2009 at 6:28 AM

    If you are a real friends then you can say everything to each others. You don’t have to beat about the bush! Plus most of the people realize they eat unhealthy and have they own reasons for keeping bad habits.

  • astrothsknot // Nov 20, 2009 at 3:49 AM

    I honestly think that unless you’re asked – don’t say anything. I work as a healthy heart mentor and the fastest thing to turn people off your message is to start telling them what they should be doing.

    They’re adults and can chose what they wish to do.

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