I Told My Friend She Should Go to the Gym If She Wants to Find a Partner, and She Got Offended

month ago

Sometimes, even when people mean well, their words can backfire and end up making things worse. A woman wanted to help her friend find a partner, but her advice didn’t quite hit the mark. Instead of bringing hope, it ended up making her friend feel sad and angry.

Let’s figure out what went wrong.

I know a girl who’s been trying to find a partner for quite some time now. She’s 26. Let’s call her Lola. She’s always on dating apps and even wears white clothes when we go out, hoping to «manifest» a husband. I usually don’t spend time with her one-on-one because of certain reasons, I’ll explain.

However, she’s friends with some of my friends, so we often end up in the same group outings. Whenever we’re together, Lola keeps talking about her dating struggles, even if the conversation is about something else entirely. It seems like she always finds a way to bring the focus back to her relationship issues.

Even though I try to avoid discussing this directly with her and let others handle it, it’s become quite obvious why Lola is struggling to find a partner. She has a long list of expectations for a potential partner, but she doesn’t meet most of them herself. For instance, she wants a guy who’s ambitious, financially successful, and physically fit, but she only works part-time, lives with her parents, and isn’t into exercising.

She also wants someone who’s musically inclined and tall, but she’s never played an instrument and is quite short. She often complains that guys don’t approach her when we go out, but I’ve witnessed many guys showing interest in her by asking her to dance or buying her drinks, only to be turned down every time.

While I usually keep quiet during Lola’s frequent rants about her dating life, she recently asked me for advice during brunch with some friends. She wanted to know how I ended up with my fiancée, Jim, who fits many of her criteria. I gently explained to her that people often gravitate towards partners who share similar traits and interests. Jim and I spend a lot of time together at the gym, we’re both passionate about our careers, and we share many hobbies and interests.

I suggested that if Lola wants to find someone similar, she should focus on improving herself, like dedicating more time to her job, hitting the gym, and picking up a hobby she wants her partner to enjoy. Alternatively, she could consider dating someone who appreciates her for who she is or embrace being single.

She got upset and accused me of fat shaming, even though I never mentioned anything about losing weight. I simply suggested going to the gym because she wanted her partner to be into fitness. One of our friends said Lola deserves a great guy just the way she is and shouldn’t have to change.

I thought I was being helpful, but it ended up causing tension. Later, I received texts from friends, some telling me to apologize to Lola and others supporting my advice, saying Lola was too sensitive. I was just trying to help, but now I’m questioning if I should have said anything at all. Was it wrong to give that advice, or should I have kept quiet?

Here’s what people think about this situation.

  • «You gave Lola honest, helpful advice when she asked for it. You didn’t fat shame her, just pointed out that people often date those with similar lifestyles. If she wants a fit, successful guy, she should work on those things herself.
    Lola got defensive when faced with the truth. Your friends are enabling her unrealistic expectations by saying she deserves an amazing guy no matter what. Sometimes we need to hear hard truths from our friends, even if it hurts at first.» Lucky-Procedure-500 / Reddit
  • «If you want to meet guys who go to the gym, then going to the gym would seem to be an obvious step. Blindingly obvious, in fact, and not fat shaming at all. People of all sizes go to gyms.» Diligent-Comfort-191 / Reddit
  • «Your advice sounded condescending a bit. She’s insecure, so instead of telling her, „Change who you are, or you won’t find your Prince,“ you could be kinder and say, „If you want a muscular man, you should go to the gym!“ That would really help her change her mindset of thinking love will fall into her arms.» Pettypris / Reddit
  • «I don’t have tons of experience, as I’ve only had a few relationships, but every time I’ve fallen in love it’s never been with traits on a list, I’ve fallen in love with the person. And they are all extremely different people and „types“. Different people can bring different joys to your life. Rejecting someone outright, based on arbitrary standards that she herself doesn’t meet, means that a lonely life is all but guaranteed.» SecretSelenex / Reddit
  • «She asked you directly, and you answered her honestly, but it’s a hard truth, and they have consequences. You may lose a few friends over this, including Lola. If you value these friendships, you better apologize to her.» barkingmeowad / Reddit
  • «Whenever someone asks for advice, I usually then ask them, „Do you want me to be honest, or do you want me to lie to you?“ If they choose the honest advice, they can’t complain about getting honest, valid, polite advice when they end up not liking it.» solair946 / Reddit

One of our readers, Holly, faced a difficult situation with her longtime friend. Despite their years of friendship, her childhood friend named her newborn son after Holly’s husband, causing a conflict.

Preview photo credit Wild-Implement215 / Reddit


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