This may be the season of cheer and frivolity, goodwill to all, but there’s a whole lot of bullying going on too.
It’s the 'C’mon, have a drink with us' comments. The 'Can’t you stop dieting over Christmas and have some dessert?' queries and the cold shoulders at the work Christmas party when everyone else is fatally letting their guard down.
My position on the 'well-meaning' comments of friends has always been that anyone who criticises me for not eating and drinking what they do, isn’t someone I want to spend time with and, if they feel that way about me, I don’t care because it’s not how I feel about myself.
A female client visited me last week, worried about her impending weekend away with another couple who eat and drink like crazy every time they go away together. She tends to join in because, well, it’s easier but it never turns out to be so easy for her because she comes back from her holiday feeling like rubbish and just needing another holiday to get over it.
If I went away with someone, that wouldn’t happen to me because I don’t eat and drink to please other people. I have a glass or two of wine over the meal but know when to slow down.
You can’t be made to eat and drink in volumes. If you want to have a hangover and gain some of that weight you’ve lost, fine but please don’t tell me it’s the fault of other people or your friends. It’s totally up to you.
For the record, the client I’ve mentioned did go away with the couple but decided not to drink for the whole weekend and sorted her own food. She had a great time, realised her friends didn’t hate her for doing things differently and, what’s more, they didn’t even seem to notice.
Top tips to avoid a peer pressure scene:
1. Have a glass of sparkling water with your wine and slow it down.
2. Over-catered functions don’t mean you have to over-eat.
3. Ring the venue before arriving to explain you don’t want certain foods.
4. Tell the waiter exactly how you want your food prepared. Chefs will follow those instructions diligently.
5. If you want to be the person who boozes up and has a hangover the next day, at least take responsibility for it, own it and don’t blame anyone else for that decision.