How Can I Get People to Stop Commenting on My Body? | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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How Can I Get People to Stop Commenting on My Body?


Published May 1, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.

  • © Patrick Guenette |

Dear Reverend,

I've always been really thin. I'd love to have more curves, but no matter what I do, I can't seem to gain weight. I've even talked to my doctor about it, but it's just the way my body is. I know a lot of people think that's a good problem to have, but I don't. I hate it when people make comments about my body, like saying I'm so lucky to be skinny. It's not just people I know — even total strangers say things to me. How can I get them to stop?

P. Teet (nonbinary, 29)

Dear P. Teet,

It's amazing to me that, in this day and age, people haven't yet learned that commenting on another person's body is just plain never OK. But here we are.

With friends and family who say something about your size, be absolutely honest and let them know that it makes you uncomfortable and you want them to stop. If you're straight up with them, they should understand that you really mean it.

The next time a stranger makes a comment, try simply saying, "How 'bout we don't talk about my body?" It may feel like you're being snippy, but you know what? That's OK. If someone says something that makes you feel icky, it's absolutely fine to nip it in the bud. You'll also be teaching them a quick lesson in civility.

No human being is entirely comfortable in their own skin. What one person may consider a compliment may just make the other more aware of an insecurity. There are many reasons why a person's body is the shape and size it is. And it's no one's business but their own. Gaining or losing weight can sometimes be the result of illness, stress or a number of other things that aren't polite to comment on. Unless you know for certain that a person has been working on slimming down or bulking up and wants external validation for it, zip your lips.

Something no one should ever say is: "You look great. Have you lost weight?" Instead, how about saying: "It's great to see you. Love your outfit."

It's fine to compliment someone on their jeans, but not so great to comment on their genes. Ya dig?

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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