when does pc go too far?

@jb78000 (15173)
August 19, 2010 1:05am CST
being polite is all well and good but i suspect in some cases it can go too far. for example it might be rude to call an overweight person 'fatty' but pretending they are just curvy doesn't help. i have a friend who died of a heart attack before the age of 40, probably due to being obese. we had told him for years he was eating too much. i don't think pretending bad habits are normal helps anybody - but what do you think - tell somebody they are hurting themselves (and their friends) or make them feel ok?
6 people like this
16 responses
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
19 Aug 10
Well weight is a ticklish subject, isn't it? I'm sure your friend knew he needed to lose weight and either couldn't get motivated or didn't believe anything bad would happen to him. Would saying something have been taken in the spirit intended, or would you have offended him and possibly lost a friend?
@jb78000 (15173)
19 Aug 10
he knew. this silly sod was well aware that he was hurting his body - thing is we all had bad habits too (smoking etc) and he thought his were minor. he carried it off ok - he was big and black - and didn't think it was a problem. idiot
1 person likes this
@sulynsi (2836)
• Canada
19 Aug 10
SURPRISE!
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
19 Aug 10
It depends on whether you saw him making a pig of himself or he was eating the wrong food to scold him . And was probably inactive as well. My father was active and walked a lot but he had diabetes as well to the certain foods (of the cabbage family ) that would help him. I also think having a large frame does not help. There is A difference between someone with bulges at the waist and pockets of fat under the thighs and those who are large, curvy, and the only way one knows if they are obese is if the doctor remembers that muscles weigh more than fat So one has to be careful and not assume that the large person pigged out on chips or fries .9
@jb78000 (15173)
20 Aug 10
he ate too much, and a lot of it was junk. the thing is he carried it off well, and i think he liked the look of being really big. he didn't realise how dangerous it was. i think you can safely assume somebody who is overweight is eating too much of the wrong things, very occasionally it might be genetic but not normally.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
21 Aug 10
Liking to look big is not that good of a thing. I am large boned and also on the short size so what a smaller boned and taller person can eat, i cannot. Besides what weight I lose does not show much on the outside so the only way someone can see if I lost or gain weight is if they have not seen me for a while. Also the wrong thing could do it. Before all the warnings on tran fats, I gained and did not know why, but once the warnings came out, I stopped. Trouble is that I had the wrong kind of trans fats since I was a child.
@marguicha (106185)
• Chile
19 Aug 10
I think there are different ways to tell truth to people. It depends on how close you are and what you say (and don´t say) to each other. I´m sorry about your friend and I am also sorry about how obesity has become a health problem in one part of the world while starvation in common on some other places. When I have such a problem with a friend (about any important issue) I invite him/her alone and talk about the subject. I try to do a brain storming conversation to bring up what we can do about it. Friends can halp a lot by helping face up the problem and being there. Language is so incredible, including sign language! It is very rude to say "you are so and so". It is an agresion and it won´t help. But saying "what can we do" is involving yourself in the problem and helpping him to face it and solve it. The we I see it (it has happened to me), when someone says that I´m eating (or smoking, or drinking or whatever) too much, they are also saying they aren´t. They are saying that they are perfect and I am not. So that won´t help. It will only bring more misery. Happy posting!
@jb78000 (15173)
20 Aug 10
you get denial, especially with eating or drinking too much (would be hard to deny you smoke). i think i would express my concern far more strongly now if i though a friend was doing either.
@marguicha (106185)
• Chile
20 Aug 10
I wonder many times if weshouldn´t step in at the beginning. Maybe then we could be of more help.
@Porcospino (19727)
• Denmark
19 Aug 10
I have a friend who very obese, and I am worried about her health. She has been told by her doctor that if she doesn't lose weight she won't get old. The truth is she is more than a little overweight and I am worried she could end up in the same kind of situation as your friend. She is aware of the problem and we have talked a lot about it. She lost weight some time ago, but since that time she has gained more weight than she lost. I don't think that I help her by pretending that the problem doesn't exist or that she is just a little chubby, because she has a serious problem. I know that it might be painful for her to talk about it, but if we ignore the problem the result could get a lot more painful.
@jb78000 (15173)
20 Aug 10
that's dangerous. if she is that overweight then losing it could be really difficult, there are probably psychological issues involved, can she get help from her doctor?
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (19727)
• Denmark
20 Aug 10
Her doctor suggested that she take a course where the students learn about healthy lifestyles. They learn how to cook healthy food, they get lots of exercise etc. My friend took this course and she lost 20 kg while she was there. She was very happy and excited and I was very happy for her. Unfortuneately she didn't keep the healthy lifestyle when the course was over and now she has gained the weight that she lost during the course, and today she is more obese than she was before the course.
@MsTickle (24994)
• Australia
26 Aug 10
You think telling a person who is obese that they are obese means something?? Being obese doesn't also mean stupid. Most people know they are obese and are unable to do anything either because they don't have the knowledge or skills or because there are psychological or other physiological issues. Telling them is just going to make them feel worse. Most know that diets don't work but they continue to try stupid diets that will only reduce their finances. Weight loss means a huge life style change and most people have no idea how to go about this. Obviously I am overweight and I find it very difficult to lose as I have always been healthy and active but osteo-arthritis came into my life and reduced my mobility. Some movement is extremely painful; day to day stuff like going to the loo and getting out of bed or a chair. Getting out of the car can bring tears. Sitting at my lap top all day doesn't help either. So I have finally figured that if I make a couple of small goals and hope for a result. So far so good and I have begun to lose at last. I would love for a friend to go for a walk with me 3 or 4 times a week and I've asked but I've had no takers. I've even started a walking group with about 8 ladies signing on, 3 turning up the first day and none on the next. There are no footpaths where I live and if I fall I can't get up so walking by myself is a hazard. How many are really prepared to help a friend by becoming involved and truly stepping up to the mark and helping them work out a healthy eating plan, shopping without cheating and buddying up for activities??? Reckon the answer is a big fat zero.
@jb78000 (15173)
26 Aug 10
do you have a dog? then you could take him for walks. otherwise i am sure you have friends and neighbours only too happy for you to borrow theirs, this might give you the motivation (and security if the dog is big) you need to keep walking.
• United States
22 Aug 10
If it's something the individual really needs to hear, tell the truth in love. If it will make no difference, don't say anything. If you're asked point blank, don't lie but be gentle. If the individual is refusing to listen to the truth, be blunt.
@jb78000 (15173)
26 Aug 10
i think this is a good summing up of things.
@RobtheRock (2485)
• United States
22 Aug 10
I don't think being politically correct means that you shouldn't tell someone that he's overweight, shouldn't smoke, shouldn't rob a bank, shouldn't eat unhealthy food, etc.
@jb78000 (15173)
26 Aug 10
maybe not
@epicure35 (2822)
• United States
20 Aug 10
For the purpose of this discussion, I'm assuming that your are using the term pc in its narrowest sense. That is, meaning polite, but tactful by correcting one sensitively or by not correcting them at all. Finding the right words can be difficult when trying to be helpful. Speaking "the truth in love" can be daunting. But, conversely, ignoring the truth can allow people to self-destruct. It's a delicate balance, to be sure.
@jb78000 (15173)
26 Aug 10
it's general sense is politeness, however it is applied. not offending people. you can not be rude yet speak the truth if it helps
• United States
20 Aug 10
It's a tough question. If you tell some people of their bad habits, they increae them to, in some perverse way, 'get back at you', which, in effect, only hurts them more. Others can take criticism and try to turn their lives around. PC may be good up to a point, but we tend to push the envelope until we've ripped it to shreds. We have a small quotient of people who speak the loudest, decide certain words are 'bad' and convince the rest that they are horrible people if they continue using those words. Calling a person 'fatty' is not a good thing - why not call them by their real name? Telling a person you are worried about their health and offering to go into a program with them is a nice way of saying you care without pointing a finger in their face. Welcome them to walk with you a little further each day. As the weight drops away, include other exercises. My husband listened to his mother harp about his weight all his life. It never occurred to her that SHE was overweight and supplying every fattening food possible at every meal, with nothing to balance them. He began eating more just to irritate her. My daughter was 4' 4" tall and weighed 205 pounds at age 27. She has a very slow metabolism and is on synthroid. While she listened, a doctor said is was impossible for a Down's Syndrome child to lose weight. She marched into a diet center three years ago on her own and today she weighs a delightful 120 pounds. She is one of those folks who hears a challenge and has to tackle it. She is no longer on the program, but watches her weight and refuses to get one pound heavier. It really depends on how the other person reacts, more than the words used. But, if people use words like 'fatty', 'retard', etc., they probably have the sensitivity of a rock and would be furious if the tables were turned and they were called names.
@jb78000 (15173)
26 Aug 10
inspiring story
@Hatley (164450)
• Garden Grove, California
20 Aug 10
hi jb one can help a friend with some gentle talk about worrying that their weight is going to cause a heart attack, but to plow into strangers who are overweight drives me into a fury. Yes stranger I do know I amn over weight,I do have a mirror and yes I have a doctor who knows why I ma overweight, and he is helping me, and yes I know its unhealthy, now is there anything else you would like to know before you call me fatso or blubberpuss and I slug you one. goodbye maam..Some people feel they must do a savage number on a stranger who is overweight. there are limits to what you should say to strangers.
@jb78000 (15173)
20 Aug 10
that is just rude. going up to complete strangers and telling you think they are too fat is the behaviour of a rude 6 year old.
@Rollo1 (16685)
• Boston, Massachusetts
19 Aug 10
The truth is that every one of us knows our own faults and frailties but pride keeps us from admitting it. The overweight person knows its unhealthy, they know they are overweight - they know what size clothes they wear and how short of breath they become with light exercise. The smoker knows that smoking is bad for you. There are two forces at play here: pride and self-determination. People ultimately have the right to do things that are very bad for themselves, and they are likely to not want to publicly admit their weaknesses or addictions. I think it's alright to voice concern, or better yet, offer help and support. However, it's very unlikely that the person you offer to help will take that help. Voicing concern too often will make them want to avoid you - they will feel "nagged" even if you have the best intentions. If you can gently get the person with an overeating problem into a program, the best motivation for them at that point is to experience success. What keeps most people from truly dealing with problems is the fear of failure. You have to judge your own position in someone's life to know if you are close enough to broach sensitive personal subjects. If you can do it, you should. But don't expect a grateful reception, people really hate to look in truthful mirrors.
@jb78000 (15173)
20 Aug 10
i agree with holly, very good comment. with this friend i knew, and he knew, he was overweight, and it was commented on. however none of us really knew how big a problem it would end up being.
@Capsicum (1444)
• United States
19 Aug 10
My dad is morbidly obese , No one could ever tell him anything. I am forever on my hubby to watch out ,Not to eat certain things,ect. Though my daughter,mother and father all tell me to leave him alone. I know whats best for my hubby after 26 years, And have told them so. Thank goodness ,None of them are living with us.
@jb78000 (15173)
20 Aug 10
he is putting himself in danger if he allows himself to get overweight. ignore your family members telling you to leave him alone, i bet they wouldn't be saying that if he drank too much, and this is just as dangerous.
@spalladino (17924)
• United States
19 Aug 10
Political correctness or social politeness cannot be the primary concerns when it comes to the people you care about. Just as it's perfectly fine to discuss bad eating habits and a lack of exercise with someone who is overweight instead of pretending that it's okay, it's also acceptable...and pretty important...to talk about other bad habits as well as obvious or suspected problems. People need emotional support and encouragement sometimes so, if friends and family aren't going to speak up and be honest, who will?
@jb78000 (15173)
20 Aug 10
going up to a complete stranger and saying 'hey fatty, cut out the doughnuts', or 'you're a drunk' is rude. however saying much the same thing to friends is just expressing concern.
@sulynsi (2836)
• Canada
19 Aug 10
There is a world of difference between a stranger calling a person "fatty", and a concerned and trusted friend expressing anxiety over someone's health. A friend would express their concern in a considerate manner, taking the person's feelings into consideration, not hurting them unnecessarily. While truth can be difficult to accept, "The wounds inflicted by a lover are faithful.." (Prov. 27:6) as this proverb says, when you know the person speaking has genuine love or concern for you, it can make a bitter pill more palatable. All of us, at one time or another, have had to hear some unpleasant truth. How much better when it comes, borne of genuine caring, than as a harsh, disinterested criticism.
@jb78000 (15173)
20 Aug 10
i kick myself now for not telling my friend strongly enough how dangerous his habits were. he knew he was overweight but somebody should really have told him in no uncertain terms he was endangering his life. of course going up to a stranger and telling them they are fat is completely different.
@wmraul (2557)
• Bucharest, Romania
19 Aug 10
Talking the example you put it in the post, a I am an overweight person who recently have had experienced twice cardio-respiratory strokes ... well, I think it depends on the one is about and the relationship level. Some will take it personally and get angry, some may take it as joke .. some like a good advice .. However, the ultimate way I personaly think is to be follow - truth hurts but better a small pain at feelings / self esteem level than permanent health damage .. or whorst. So, yes, tell him/her the truth. After all, that's what friends are for, isn't it ?
@jb78000 (15173)
20 Aug 10
well if you are overweight you should start doing more exercise and eating less. it is obvious but some people can be really touchy about their appearance. i wouldn't for example ever tell my sister she is a bit overweight, although she is, because that would really hurt her feelings. she's only a little bit overweight anyway.
@Qaeyious (2362)
• United States
19 Aug 10
When it comes to health, I would let him initiate a concern, be it out of breath often, sweating, sore legs or feet, then ask him if he saw a doctor about it yet. There are such things as healthy people who are above the weight guidelines, and only a doctor can really tell if it is not some other condition. Then the doctor can offer advice about diet, exercise and the like. One should always consult a doctor anyway before starting exercise or drastically modify their food habits.
@jb78000 (15173)
19 Aug 10
too late. he wasn't quite right in his breathing but he thought it was ok. he was seriously overweight