How Do You Say No And Not Hurt Your Friends Feelings?

By May 24, 2011 14 Comments

If you are reading this post, I would ask that you take a minute afterwards to share some advice and wisdom to the woman who asked this question.

I recently received an email from a woman I am going to call “Jane.”  Jane is in a tough situation that I see so many people in.  They are trying to do that right thing, but those around them are making it hard.  They are afraid of what might happen if they say no.

So let me share with you the email, then my suggestions, and then it is your turn to respond.

“Hey Dustin,

I’ve been doing your bootcamps for awhile now and I love them along with all your blogs and everything you send out almost every day.  I look forward to reading everything you send out.  You have such an awesome business going.  I’ve been trying really hard with the dieting and even working out at night when I have the time too.  The frustrating part of it all is when people ask me to go out for a drink and of course they always want to get appetizers or whatever.  Deep down in my heart I always want to just go and work out and avoid all that cause I know I don’t need or want it but feel I have to to please them so I know I haven’t lost as much as what I probably could.  But I don’t want to hurt their feelings by turning them down and I don’t know what to do to avoid this.  I feel if I tell them I’ll go and just have water and nothing to eat that they’ll just say well then we might as well not even go.  And they know I’m trying to lose weight.  The reason I’m asking this is because about a year ago I lost one of my best friends because I didn’t want to go out to eat or if we went out, I just had water and apparently she had a problem with my decision for not drinking and eating crap food.  I just don’t want this to happen again.  I’m afraid if I tell them I’d rather go work out or I’ll go and have water that they won’t ask me to go out and do anything anymore.  Do you have any advice for me on this?  And how to avoid temptations especially when you have a craving.  I don’t keep any crap food in my house but if I have a craving for something, which always seems to be chocolate, it’s so easy just to stop somewhere and get some and then I beat myself up over it afterwards.  I just can’t seem to get rid of the cravings.”



Jane, thanks for the email.  This definitely is a tough position to be in.  I am sure you have been good friends with these people for quite some time.

My first comment to the story about losing your best friend last year, is how in the world could that person have been a good friend and just ended the friendship because you didn’t want to eat or drink certain foods.  That seems ridiculous to me.  It reminds me of the many friends my girl friend Abby lost when she left the partying stage.  Those who won’t stick by you because of something that small, are probably best to be out of your life.  I apologize if that seems harsh.

As for your current friends… Have you talked with them about the stress and challenges you are facing regarding this situation?  If you haven’t I would.  Maybe you would be surprised.  They might be happy for you and interested in joining in with you.

Today  I went out to eat with a handful of my clients and they had brought a new guy with them.  We ate at a nice Vietnamese restaurant.  For the past year he has chosen to be vegetarian and he is a health nut, and chose not to eat with us at the restaurant.  He drank his water and hung out.  He said he had food from Whole Foods at his place waiting for him.  Now I don’t know this guy very well, but I had NO issues with him not eating with us.  It was his presence that was great and we had an awesome time.

If you haven’t already try to reach out to the bootcampers that you see on a daily basis and find some common interests and plan some events together.  It doesn’t have to be anything big, but start something.  Then you can invite your other friends to join you if they are interested.  Lean on and take advantage of the bootcampers.

Also I don’t think it is wrong to eat an appetizer or have a drink once in awhile.  Once a week won’t hurt anything assuming you are very focused throughout the rest of the week.  So pick and choose times when you want to splurge and enjoy it guilt free.  There are many things at a restaurant that are OK.  Just go to their website beforehand and know what you are going to order.

As for your craving questions.  80% cacoa chocolate is pretty good for you and loaded with antioxidants.  You can have a piece of that sometimes.  Also I would make a food journal and try to find out when and why you are craving certain foods.

It might be emotional, or it might be cause you are eating too much of something and not enough of something else.

I hope that helps…

Blog readers:  Please share with everyone your experience with this and write your comments in the Facebook comment box (ideal) or in the comment section below that.  Thanks for being an awesome community!