Jessica considered Amanda to be her closest friend. They shared similar values and similar struggles. They were both between relationships and both struggled with excess weight. They usually spent at least one weekend night going out to dinner and dishing on the current affairs. Jessica felt comfortable indulging when she was with Amanda, which gave each other permission to let go.
When Jessica received the news she was pre-diabetic she knew she could no longer afford the indulgences she had previously allowed. On the next dinner with Amanda, she tried to skip her usual drinks and appetizers but this left Amanda feeling a bit miffed.
"Look, we just eat together one night a week. Can't you relax for one night?"
Finally, Jessica agreed that one meal wouldn't be a big deal. Unfortunately, her one-night exception turned into a weekend of exceptions. To be honest, it usually did. Jessica was really scared by her diagnosis. It was a wake-up call and she was determined to lose the weight needed to regain her health.
Sunday night she made a meal plan for her week and felt good about her resolve. When Friday night rolled around she was proud of her success. She thought Amanda would be proud as well. To her surprise and disappointment, Amanda replied "So how long are you going to be on this kick?"
"I'm not sure but at least until I can get my blood sugar under control," said Jessica feeling defensive.
"I don't know why you're so worried. I've been pre-diabetic for years. It's really not that big of a deal."
Jessica was upset by the conversation and the evening with Amanda. They moved on to discuss other topics but she was left with an uneasy feeling. Later, she replayed the conversation over in her mind as she tried to understand why her ordinarily supportive friend was being so negative. She finally realized that they had formed their friendship primarily over their common problem - excess weight. Would their friendship survive her weight loss? Could she even lose weight while they were friends?
The truth is Jessica may not be able to maintain the relationship once she has made a change in her thoughts and behavior. They may have other interests on which they can bond but if they don't, their friendship is likely to change.
When we make a change in our thoughts, the relationships around us change. Change isn't a bad thing but it can be unsettling.