Cardamom77

Are people nicer to you?

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So I have noticed an interesting phenomenon. People (strangers, essentially) are far nicer to me now that I've lost weight. In stores, while walking on sidewalks, in restaurants, at the library, etc. - people smile at me, ask if I need help more often, people flirt with me more. I think it's the weight and bias, because I've always been a very outwardly friendly person and I've always carried myself confidently, even when I weighed 80+ lbs more than I do now. Just pointing that out so we know what variables we're working with here. 

Anyway, it bothers me a bit. It's nice to feel like people are being nice and that they think I'm attractive and worth their time, but I know that they wouldn't give me the time of day before and that's really a bummer. I was awesome then, too. I decided to lose weight and have been able to do so, but what if I hadn't been able to get insurance to pay for it? What if I had complications that made it difficult to lose weight? Then people would still ignore me and treat me differently. It just makes me kind of sad and I wanted to know if others had experienced this. It was honestly an outcome I hadn't expected. 

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Absolutely people are nicer to me now....well strangers are! Some of those I knew before are actually nastier now, so it goes both ways!!!

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1 minute ago, Aussie Bear said:

Absolutely people are nicer to me now....well strangers are! Some of those I knew before are actually nastier now, so it goes both ways!!!

Ha! Yeah, I know that jealousy can be an issue. No one has been nasty to me about it, but I have had some folks be really upfront and honest and say that they're struggling with seeing me lose weight. But I really respect that candor and we talk about it and move on. I don't know what I would do if someone was a jerk about it. 

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1 hour ago, Cardamom77 said:

Ha! Yeah, I know that jealousy can be an issue. No one has been nasty to me about it, but I have had some folks be really upfront and honest and say that they're struggling with seeing me lose weight. But I really respect that candor and we talk about it and move on. I don't know what I would do if someone was a jerk about it. 

I've had people say they are "jealous" of my weightloss....that's pretty easily dealt with. The really nasty ones I've shown the door. While that appears unfortunate, it's really not. Clearly these folk weren't positive influences in my life before the weightloss either....it just took a big positive change on my part to realise what a negative influence they were.

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Absolutely true. I've lost significant weight several times in my life, and with the (hopefully not this time though!!) regain, the most heartbreaking thing is to have people gradually become less friendly, less apt to talk to me for no reason, and less interested seeming. It always made me feel invisible. Then, during the big weight loss, all the friendliness and openness comes back. It gives you a lot of empathy for people who have NOT lost weight - like: "Hello, person. I see you. You are a valued member of the human race." 

This is a thing, and it's not one that society acknowledges. Well, I suppose only people who've lost and gained large amounts of weight would be able to understand. People are pretty appearance-oriented and those who don't fit the ideal are brushed to the side. The only thing that makes me feel better about it is trying to be more mindful of people who are fat. 

This was something I knew was coming because of my past WL history, and frankly, I was looking forward to it. 

Improved student evaluations will be another related phenomenon. Waiting for the end of the semester to see that.

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I have a job in public service & I tend to treat(help) heavier people more & treat them better.

it may be that I know what they go thru?

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10 hours ago, Aussie Bear said:

I've had people say they are "jealous" of my weightloss....that's pretty easily dealt with. The really nasty ones I've shown the door. While that appears unfortunate, it's really not. Clearly these folk weren't positive influences in my life before the weightloss either....it just took a big positive change on my part to realise what a negative influence they were.

Yeah I had weeded those folks out a while back. Haha! 

@Jen581791 - I'm curious about your evals, too! That would be really interesting. Let us know how that shakes out - I love me some data. :)

@Bigfuzzy - I'm a social worker and I know exactly what you mean. I know that there's often a lack of touch for larger people, especially those living alone, so I try to touch my bigger clients on the shoulder (if it seems appropriate - it doesn't always) or do the social worker side hug - ha! Again, only if it's appropriate. I also am cognizant of the fact that they may avoid medical treatment for VERY understandable reasons, so I consider that when I'm helping them with resources. 

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I wonder if it could be because of our own actions too? I notice that I look up more now, notice more people around me, feel better about myself and the clothes that I wear! My self esteem wasn't the best before and I still have much room for improvement. But it makes me wonder, if I didn't notice myself before, and wasn't nice to myself, why should others? Food for thought :)

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1 hour ago, Ladybugzzz86 said:

I wonder if it could be because of our own actions too? I notice that I look up more now, notice more people around me, feel better about myself and the clothes that I wear! My self esteem wasn't the best before and I still have much room for improvement. But it makes me wonder, if I didn't notice myself before, and wasn't nice to myself, why should others? Food for thought :)

I was thinking this exact thing, @Ladybugzzz86. This could definitely be a part of it...I know it is for me. People have always told me I was sweet, had a kind smile, etc. I know I am more of an extrovert now than I ever have been, at least as much as someone with my anxiety issues can be. 

But...it is only one part of it in my case anyway. You know that I use a wheelchair part of the time. People used to look at me with pity, or even disgust, if they looked at me at all. Because you know that a fat person in a wherlchair is there because she is fat and lazy, right? Ugh. Now, though, I have people tripping over themselves to open doors for me, offering to help with things and yes even flirting with me (in front of hubby, no less...double UGH). I am EXACTLY the same person I was before, except for the weight. So, @Cardamom77, it makes me sad too...to know that I’m more worthy in the eyes of society now than I ever was as a fat person. 

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People are totally nicer to me now as a slightly overweight middle aged lady with a turkey neck than they ever were to me as a younger, smooth-skinned fat chick.  I get a lot more random eye contact and smiles than I ever did before, and frankly it's a bit weird.  I was very heavy my whole life... and I was NOT that great lady who carried my weight with confidence.  Now I find that when people make eye contact and smile I'm not quite sure what to do.  I probably either maintain the eye contact too long or look away too fast and too awkwardly...

I've noticed a lot of little things.  Like a coworker I never had any physical contact with in my nearly 8 years at this company gave me a hug when he saw me the other day.  And in the elevator, people smile and say "Which floor?" and hit the button for me.  Strangers start small talk with me when they never even looked at me before - just little "oh this weather" or "did you see the game" stuff.  Neighbors out doing walks or yard work come over to chat with me when I'm out walking the dog.

I feel like when people look at me now they see a person, whereas before they saw something they didn't like or that embarrassed them.  (Which is funny, because I'm just one person now... I used to be three people!  :D )  It does make me feel weird... I was the same person before!  But I admit, it also feels pretty good. 

 

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@Kio, it does feel good sometimes, too... when I can get out of my head long enough to just take it for what it is and not overthink it. I think at some point I have to accept that society isn’t going to change, and I only have control over how I act. I can’t keep being bitter about how people used to treat me. I can only keep being the person I’ve always been, and treat everyone with the respect I always wanted. 

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This is something I've been struggling with, too -- and this is about prejudice, plain and simple. I assure you that I carry myself almost exactly the way I always have (I am just not one of those people who felt ashamed of my weight) -- I have always held my head up, smiled at strangers, and been polite and friendly, and yet I still see a noticeable trend in how people respond to my efforts. It makes me angry more than sad.

My therapist has been helping me frame it this way: there's no way to know whether each individual person interacting with me (if it's a stranger, of course) is being nicer to me than they would have otherwise. Would they have still smiled and been friendly to me 130 pounds ago? The only answer the universe is going to give me is "maybe." Considering I can't know for sure, it's not really my problem to suss out. I have to choose to let it go. 

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Yes to all of this. People are nicer. Men in particular. On planes I've had men offer to help me place my 5 pound lap top bag in the overhead compartment. When I was fat, no one ever offered to help me with my carry on whether it weighed 5 pounds or 30. I didn't get big until my 20's and then spend a couple of years in my late 20's at a normal size so I expected some of it. What I didn't expect was for women who would have chatted me up when I was fat to not give me the time of day now that I'm not. I had one outright tell me she expected me to be a high-maintenance jerk based on the way I looked. I laughed so hard tears ran down my cheeks. 

 

@kristinwitha_k, I was angry about this too. Really angry for a while. The company I work for is overly focused on appearance. People talk about how the employees here 'have a look'. I didn't have it when I was fat and I don't have it now. But now that I'm not fat, people I worked with for YEARS that I had very little interaction with when I was fat started to seek me out for projects, lunches, after work drinks, etc after I lost weight. I may have been fat and invisible. But I was never stupid. 

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59 minutes ago, kristinwitha_k said:

This is something I've been struggling with, too -- and this is about prejudice, plain and simple. I assure you that I carry myself almost exactly the way I always have (I am just not one of those people who felt ashamed of my weight) -- I have always held my head up, smiled at strangers, and been polite and friendly, and yet I still see a noticeable trend in how people respond to my efforts. It makes me angry more than sad.

My therapist has been helping me frame it this way: there's no way to know whether each individual person interacting with me (if it's a stranger, of course) is being nicer to me than they would have otherwise. Would they have still smiled and been friendly to me 130 pounds ago? The only answer the universe is going to give me is "maybe." Considering I can't know for sure, it's not really my problem to suss out. I have to choose to let it go. 

I'm in the same boat. I wore flamboyant clothes, smiled at everyone, started small talk, etc. before, too. I don't think it's a confidence issue for me. I think it's pretty much the weight. I like your therapist's take on it. The nerd in me needs to remember it's just a correlation. Haha! 

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6 minutes ago, Cardamom77 said:

 The nerd in me needs to remember it's just a correlation. Haha! 

Yep! No way to empirically prove causation instead of correlation! Feels a little less infuriating that way. 

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I would say without a doubt YES!  People hold the doors for me, smile, make idle chat..offer to help me.  I had a large bag item in my cart the other day, the girl was trying to get around the counter and I had taken it out of the cart and put it on the counter, she looked at me and told me I was stronger than I looked, lol!  

I had worked with this man a few years ago, hadn’t seen each other in several.  I was grabbing a few things at the store and he came up to me and started chatting, I assumed he knew me...then since it was super bowl Sunday he asked if I wanted to catch the game with him..  #%$- then I laughed and said “Dave, it’s me Lois”..  his jaw dropped and I bid him goodbye.  

People often hold the door for me, and smile .  But it may be because I often paste a smile on more now than before..  but how could we be invisible at 250#?  I’m still me, I still look out at the world with the same eyes; I’m just me..

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I was so angry at first when the cosmetic lady at Bloomingdales approached me wanted to spray me.  Never used to happen before.  I blew them off.  Maybe my revenge for the years of being invisible.  

I have noticed that as you begin to get older you also become invisible.  Living in a youth centered skinny world.  

I am glad that there are people out there that are speaking up more about body acceptance. They are usually beautiful and young.  It really doesn't bother me much anymore.  The gift of getting older and not giving a s%*&!

Edited by Kim M
I need to change my age. I am now 63

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I may be fooling myself but, I don't think this happens as much in the southeast. My niece was here visiting from Florida several months ago. She made an odd observation. She was telling me that in FL most people are body builders, work out, thin, etc. There it is common to see both men and women walking around in butt floss bikini on the beach.

In this state there are way more obese people than there are fit and or thin. It may be from eating habits in the region. Biscuits, grits, gravy, fried food, etc. She noticed the difference as soon as she got off the plane.

It was something that I had not given much thought to before. Ever since I started my WLS journey, I have taken note and a huge portion of the population here is obese.

That is my take on things anyway.

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I don’t know. I live in Arkansas, which has the third highest obesity rate in the nation. There are a lot of big folks here!

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5 minutes ago, Cardamom77 said:

I don’t know. I live in Arkansas, which has the third highest obesity rate in the nation. There are a lot of big folks here!

I am disabled and don't really socialize much except for shopping, Drs, etc. I may be blind to it from lack of exposure. I am also in a teeny, tiny town and everyone here has always been very pleasant to me.

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Yeah, I know what you mean. I grew up in a really small town (population 900-ish) and it was very different than the town I live in now. Everyone literally knew everything about everyone, so it was a HUGE faux pas to not smile and visit with people. Definitely a different feel. 

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4 hours ago, Readytobeme said:

I am disabled and don't really socialize much except for shopping, Drs, etc. I may be blind to it from lack of exposure. I am also in a teeny, tiny town and everyone here has always been very pleasant to me.

Small town vs. big city is very different! Just looking around, it's pretty clear why - lots more big folks in small towns, so of course it's less stigmatized. Big city, thinner people, on average. Less tolerance toward larger bodies.

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This is a topic that gets my goat. When I was fat, I felt the eyes of pity. A large part of my social circle and family are Europeans who like to criticize fat Americans. 

I’m now I’m told that I’m beautiful. People go out of their way to talk to me and give me compliments. This makes me extremely angry. Was I not worthy as a human because I was heavy? Did losing 90 lbs transform my worth? I’m still the same person I was a year ago, except with worse skin and thinning hair ;)

Like others, I go out of my way to smile at heavier people. I know what it’s like to be overlooked and pitied. 

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13 hours ago, Kim M said:

The gift of getting older and not giving a s%*&!

Damn! - that would make fantastic tattoo!

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