My health kick inspired my friend to make some changes of her own — but now she won’t stop talking about it! How can I get her to stop?

Our elder has some tips on how to turn the conversation around.

Dear EWC

OK so I am having a problem I am having this feeling of jealousy towards a friend, but I feel they are trying to make me feel jealous. Years ago I started to change my life by going to the gym and eating healthier. This friend that I have never really supported me. I never told her how my journey was going, nor did she ask. Now I’m very happy for she is now making changes; her family has helped her change. But now she only calls me to tell me what she ate or had many miles she did on the treadmill. I’m happy for her but it’s getting annoying to hear every single detail. I told her how I felt and it has gotten worse. I feel she is trying to make me jealous, I don’t want to continue the friendship as it’s getting that bad. I never told her about my journey, nor did she ask. I still go to the gym and do me. I just want her to do it for herself and not tell me every detail. She tells me everything and only talks about her. Am I wrong to feel this way? How do I deal with this?

Mama-Joan replies

Yours is such an interesting question. I can see how all the sharing of details could feel like your friend is competitive with you and it could feel like she is trying to make you jealous. But, consider for a moment that your friend (even though you didn’t share the details of your fitness/health journey with her) was watching you closely. Consider that she admired you and finally was inspired to begin her own journey. Now, consider that she now shares every detail with you because she desires recognition from you and wants you to be proud of her. Consider that your affirmation is important to her.

We all process change differently. And, as you know when you are committing to significant change, you feel fragile because you worry you might not have the fortitude to carry through. This period that your friend is going through won’t last forever… she will get used to her new routines, physical changes, etc. and eventually she won’t be so focused on these immediate goals and her interests will expand and, hopefully, she’ll begin talking about other subjects.

I think it is wonderful that you’ve been there for your friend and listen to all her workout/health details. I can understand how that gets tiresome. Try ribbing her (joking around) about it a little. For example, when she starts up, say, “My Gawd, you’re telling me the treadmill went so fast it caught on fire?! Honestly, I’m a little worn out with all the workout/health talk. Let’s cover that ground for five minutes, then let’s find something else to talk about. I’d like our friendship to include more than our workouts and health.” Then, when five minutes is up, say, “I’m done with that subject for the night. Let’s move on.” If your friend keeps coming back to her workout/health, keep changing the subject and don’t engage.

Finally, consider that to have a deep intimate friendship, you need to share information about yourself. I’d like to see you volunteer some details about your life to your friend (don’t wait to be asked) and see if she engages with questions, concerns, humor, and interest. If not, the friendship is not a two-way street and may have run its course. Only you can decide that.
I hope I’ve given you a different way of looking at your situation that is helpful. Please feel free to write again anytime.

Letter #: 435588
Category: Friendship

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