walking clip artOverweight Friend

Although making headway, weight, is still a sensitive and somewhat controversial subject.

People blame fast-food joints, lack of money, lack of time, food manufacturing industries, upbringing, video games, an inactive lifestyle, etc.

Whether you are in the camp of “They can lose weight if they really want to” or, “As long as they’re happy with themselves…,” one thing is true, we must bestow dignity to every human being, no matter what we think they should do.

From the Audience:

Q:  I belong to a wine-tasting group where we have a mix of men and women of different ages. We get together a couple of times a month at different locations. Some locations are a distance from public transportation or parking structures. This is not a problem for any of us except for “Sven.”  Over the last few years, Sven has steadily gained considerable weight.  On occasion he mentions that he must do something about it.

The increased weight has affected his ability to keep up with the group. He has slowed down, frequently stopping to catch his breath. At the venues, we have to find special seating for him.

At first everyone was patient and made sure to maintain a pace Sven could keep up with. Because he is much slower, I’m usually the one left behind caring for Sven.  I don’t mind once in a while, but I’m out to have a good time and mingle—not to be a care-giver.

What can we do without discouraging him or leaving him to fend for himself? –Amir

A: Dear Amir, First of all, you have a kind heart.  Not to say that the others don’t, but it is understandable; as you said, you’re all out to have a good time.

Here are a few options to consider:

  • You can select venues close to parking or public transportation. (Not always possible.)
  • You can warn Sven that this week’s venue is quite a distance from parking/public transport. (Either he’ll back out, it will go right over his head since he’s always had assistance, or he may perceive it as a “we’re sick and tired of waiting for you” message.)
  • You can relieve yourself from this duty by walking ahead with the group, leaving someone else to help Sven out.
  • As a group, privately devise a plan to take turns assisting Sven. (Slightly clandestine, but it could solve the problem without hurting Sven’s feelings.)
  • You can bet that Sven is aware of the circumstances. Why not have an open discussion with him. It’s more awkward not to communicate the groups’ concern for him.

No matter what the person’s disability, condition, or ailment is, it affects the people around them.

Airlines are having a tough time maintaining a balance of sensitivity and practicality when it comes to the over-sized passenger. If the ample passenger requires two seats or a portion of, should they be charged for it?

Keeping the other passenger happy is a concern too. When a person of stature or weight encroaches into our space, we are not happy. You can’t blame them can you?

So what is the answer? I certainly don’t have it.  All that I offer is this piece of advice; practice a little patience and make the decision you believe is right for you.


Helping Businesses and Individuals Find Success Through Better Communication and Social Skills

having lunch with a CEO, business dining etiquetteRosalinda Oropeza Randall, Social Skills and Civility Presenter, Media Source, and author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom.”

Presentations are available to support HR policies, sales teams, up and coming managers, millennials & new-hire orientation process, service technicians, professional development events, conferences, college/university students, interns. For more information, please contact me, 650.871.6200.

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