How many times have you tried to make a healthy new habit stick only to find yourself on the couch one week later, chowing down on ice cream and drinking wine with your best friend?
Making any sort of meaningful change in your life is difficult as is, but it’s almost impossible when the people closest to you aren’t supportive.
One of my health coaching clients has a friend named Sally. We fondly refer to her as “Sally the Saboteur.” Sally is the type of person who gets you to tell her all your health goals and then little by little, crushes them right before your eyes. Dramatic? Yes, but you get the idea.
So how do you know if your friend is a Sally Saboteur? Look for these warning signs:
- Do hangouts with your friend only consist of eating?
- Does she always eat junk food in front of you while fully understanding that you are trying to change your own bad eating patterns?
- Does she invite you out to social gatherings at restaurants that only serve unhealthy items?
- Does she question if you are eating enough?
- Does she remark that you have become obsessed with your new diet or with going to the gym?
- Does she bring you baked goods and insist that you try a bite in front of her?
- Does she criticize your health goals as being silly, impossible or unnecessary?
- Has she outright told you that she does not like the changes you are making in your life?
If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, you may have a saboteur on your hands!
It may be that you're on the verge of so much positive change that she's afraid of losing you, or it's possible that she can't stand that you and your goals are in the spotlight now. Whether her saboteur motives are unconscious, self-preserving or sinister, it doesn't necessarily mean she's an awful person.
There are many ways to handle people who sabotage, but the first step is distance.
Your friend has already made it clear that she doesn't respect what your health goals are, so it would be wise to set some firm boundaries with her. Gently explain that you need to take some time for yourself to really focus on achieving the goals you've laid out.
This distance not only creates time for you to continue to improve yourself without her judgement, but also allows you to assess if the friendship is a lasting one or not.
If you find that her attitude remains the same over time — even after some distance — seriously consider why her friendship is important to you. Is your friendship one that is deep and meaningful or does it exist out of a sense of obligation?
It could be time to form new, healthier relationships with people who can better support you than the friend who eats brownies in front of you while complaining about how obsessed you are with trying to stay healthy.
Do you have a close friend that you feel you need to set some boundaries with?
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