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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

White lie praise or the honest truth about a teen's weight?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26829points) December 29th, 2009

Say you know this kid (teen), bright, a go getter, always put in 100%, however, he is 5ft 6in and 286lb +/-. He has aspirations of joining track and being a pole vaulter. As good as he is in the classroom he sucks at losing weight or getting in better shape (loves his food too much). Do you lie and tell him if he tries hard enough and has a serious enough work ethic he can make the team and be a pole vaulter, or do you tell him the honest truth, even if it hurts, that unless he get the pounds off no matter what he does he will be too fat to be a pole vaulter, or at least one who will never have any success?

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17 Answers

Grisaille's avatar


The next person might not be so kind. Do it now, as someone that legitimately cares.

Kelly_Obrien's avatar

Don’t you think s/he knows?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Kelly_Obrien Logically he should or does know about his weight. That doesn’t mean he believes that is won’t effect his desire to become a pole vaulter or that he actually can somehow compensate for all that wight.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

If he asks your opinion, be truthful. But as far as offering the advice .. probably not a good idea. Sometimes people need to find out things for themselves for it to really sink in.

scotsbloke's avatar

I’d tell him the truth. I think deep down he knows anyway, in the end he’ll respect you for being truthful even if he doesn’t want to hear it.
Ask yourself this, What do YOU think HE expects from you if he does ask? The truth or a lie.

funkdaddy's avatar

This sounds theoretical, but on the off chance we’re talking about a real person.

I think the best option would be to encourage that energy and drive but maybe in to something he could be good at. Maybe instead of just laying out

“you’re kind of big for pole vaulting”


“man, you’re built strong, have you thought about trying shot put or discus, those guys are amazing” with a little enthusiasm behind it…

If he’s really set on it, there’s nothing wrong with doing something just because it’s fun, especially at that age and with something that will benefit him in other ways.

We should all try something we’re not already good at once in a while.

Lorenita's avatar

I would say ” mmmm it requieres a lot of stamina and strenght to join that team, before you try out, you should get in shape, ANYONE would have to do some training before.. ”

Remember that this guy knows about his weight issue, I believe anyone can lose weight it’s just damn hard to do it, since it requieres a lot of self control. You should encourage him to make it happen, not the contrary.

filmfann's avatar

Always tell them the truth. They know when you are lying, and you will lose all credibility.

janbb's avatar

What is your relationship to this hypothetical teen? I think that might determine what you should say. If you were his parent, the onus on you is to tell him the truth in a non-destructive way.

Cruiser's avatar

The teen knows he is fat. Often they are depressed and any mention good or bad only adds to their daily burden of being overweight. Encouragement for efforts to make healthier choices and praise when he accomplishes little goals towards weight loss is what he needs more than anything.

JesusWasAJewbot's avatar

Tell the teen start small like @Cruiser mentioned and anything can be accomplished.

Silhouette's avatar

Look for a middle ground, a gentle truth and maybe an offer of support. “I’ll help you lose the weight you are going to have to lose to be a pole vaulter, we can work out together if you want.”

Buttonstc's avatar

Has he asked for your opinion?

If not, unless you are his parent, it’s not really your place. Why are you under the impression that it falls on your shoulders to tell him anything ?

breedmitch's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. Your own mantra should tell you the answer.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@breedmitch I know what should be told to him by the way, love your opening where did you get that smiles however many say you should NEVER be totally truthful about anything less you seem like a dream killer or a boorish guy; “do my butt look big in these jean?” you lie; “Do you think I can top 5 on American Idol?” you lie. If I told the truth and he felt bad or bad about himself for being so heavy then I am the bad guy? If I tell him what I think he want to hear and he embaresses himself am I cruel for not stopping the train before it crashed?

RedPowerLady's avatar

I think there is a middle ground on this issue.
You can get to the truth without being harsh or hurtful.
Example “Wow dude great goal, I hope you make it. Hey you know when my brother was thinking of starting track they had him talk to a coach to get some advice on how he could prepare for tryouts. You might want to do that. They told my brother a bunch of stretches to do daily to keep limber and even told him to weigh himself weekly to get in the ‘optimal range’ for success. I don’t know if they’ll do that for you but the advice would be worth it.”

Supacase's avatar

Why even mention his weight? Stay positive!

Encourage him to join track (that can only be good for him!) and remind him that there are all sorts of choices. He may find he doesn’t care for pole vaulting (maybe he won’t be good at it, but you don’t have to put it that way) but find a perfect fit with another event.

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