Almost two years ago I lost a girl friend of mine. It was a very emotional time and I found it incredibly difficult as we’d been friends for almost ten years. This loss however was not through bereavement but beliefment! The reason I choose to write about this now is that it’s only recently that I’ve found out the reason why I lost her and I think it’s an important subject in the raw food world, one that comes up often.
I’m always reminded of that episode of Friends whenever I think about this situation (which is good because I like Friends). It was ‘The One With Ross’ Tan’ – the episode where it comes to light that Phoebe had tried to ‘cut Monica out’ of her life by just avoiding her. Well, this is in effect what happened to me. I was ‘cut out’ and I had no idea why. Once it dawned on me that this friend wasn’t just constantly busy but there must be more to it I set about trying to find out what the problem was. Things were compounded as we had a mutual third friend who also seemed to have been cut out. The whole thing was so confusing, we were worried and couldn’t figure out what was going on.
After numerous attempts to get in touch and to apologise for whatever it was I’d done – how ridiculous is that? I FINALLY gave up. This was only about five months ago – god loves a trier! 🙂
Anyway, it came to light only very recently following an email from this estranged friend to our third party friend – I hope you’re keeping up with this – that the reason I’d been cut out (and she’d been cut out as an indirect result) was due to something negative I had said about the Glaswegian diet the last time we’d met – this was in September 2008 – and she had taken offence to it.
It took a while for this to sink in and of course I was pleased that there was nothing majorly wrong. The psychologist in me set about trying to analyse why people (and I include myself) can be so deep-seated in their beliefs and reactions that they would lose a friendship or relationship over them…I’m still not there yet.
I can’t recall exactly what I said but I know it probably came across as opinionated – any of my friends will tell you I have a tendency to be opinionated but I prefer the word passionate! I have to question sometimes where my passion comes from. Right now I know (or I think I know) that it comes from a genuine concern about people’s health and wanting to see people healthy and happy. I’m passionate about ignorance and apathy when it comes to health information and education, to a concensus that thinks it’s ok to be morbidly obese or that two thirds of the Scottish population is obese and are passing on unhealthy behaviour and habits to our children. Ok perhaps saying that people thinking it’s ok is an over-exaggeration but a general ill-feeling towards anything health orientated including those people trying to spread a good health message when obese people in the country are literally starving to death or going to an early grave is absolute INSANITY. But you see, there I go off on one and there’s a very, very fine line between what can be viewed as passion and concern and what might come across as aggression! 🙂
I’ve been doing this long enough now to know to only give advice when asked, to be gentler with my opinions ESPECIALLY when I don’t know my audience well enough and to just be the example. Be the change you wish to see in the world – probably the best advice ever! (Ghandi in case you didn’t know) It’s a shame I realised all this in spite of losing my friend, not because of it.
But then look at Jamie Oliver, he didn’t get the amazing results he got in schools from being a shiny example and showing people how to cook healthy meals from scratch. He stood up and said “you know what, this isn’t right, we need to change things here” and he did something, he dealt with opposition, aggression, retaliation and haters and he did so out of concern for the health of school children. God bless you Jamie! I’m not comparing myself in any way to Jamie Oliver but what I’m saying is that where is the balance between just being the change and taking positive action? I don’t know… Perhaps not everyone has got it in them to do what Jamie does or Gillian McKeith or Jason Vale…
I guess if there’s a positive to be had it’s that I have reinforced my understanding that people can be very defensive when it comes to food. Sometimes it’s because what you are doing/saying is holding a mirror up to others choices and behaviours and they don’t like what they see. Sometimes though, it is because you’re being a pain in the arse that won’t change the record! Hopefully you’ll have good friends who will tell you to shut up once in a while (with love of course) 🙂
Anyway here’s some advice I’d give to anyone that is in to raw/healthy eating and concerned they might lose a friend or two along the way.
- Realise this is your journey. Sometimes friends are with us for only a short part of our journey and that’s ok. If you find yourself in this position, be thankful for the time you shared with this person and move on with love, knowing you have your path and they theirs!
- Give advice only when asked – your friends will respect your opinion more if they’ve asked for it!
- Make sure raw/healthy eating isn’t dominating all your conversations! Join a raw food meetup group or forum to make new friends with similar views.
- Ask your friend(s) to tell you if they are upset or offended by anything you say. You might think a true friend will tell you but you may be surprised. We don’t often know other people’s beliefs or attachments around food or eating.
- Don’t argue about raw/healthy food – there’s no need. Remember, you’ve nothing to defend! It’s not worth it to lose a friend.
- Remember, “the ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but to hold hands” (Unknown)
There are times when it’s appropriate to let someone go or ‘cut out’ from your life if your association with them is causing you to suffer emotionally, mentally or physically (they keep bringing you Big Macs ha ha). If that’s the case then know you aren’t the only person that has made that decision. Whilst it can be tough, if something inside tells you that the relationship isn’t right then trust that inner guidance.
Personal intimate relationships are a whole other ball game. If you’d like more info about dealing with raw relationships check out my book Me Raw: You Cooked
* George Herbert
This blog was written by Raw Food Scotland's previous owner, Emma Calvert. You can reach her at her new website, https://missmanifestation.com/