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DON'T PRESSURE OBESE FRIEND

Q: Although I agree with you that "'Dee'-Voted Friend in D.C." needs to stop lying to her friend and building up false hopes, I think you missed the mark with the rest of your advice.

Dee knows she's overweight, and that it's negatively affecting her social life. She's just not ready to deal with it.

"Dee-Voted" didn't indicate that Dee has even asked for her advice or help, so maybe she should consider her own motivation. Does she really just want to help her friend, or does she want Dee to conform to her standards?

Friendship is acceptance. If she's truly a friend, "Dee-Voted" will simply enjoy Dee and remain supportive until that special guy comes along.

G.D. in Bozeman, Mont.

A: You make a valid point. Although most of those who responded disagreed with my advice to "Dee-Voted," I feel it is important to address the issue of the health risks - heart disease, diabetes, stroke, joint pain - to overweight or obese people.

Read on:

- - -

As a chubby person myself, I'm sick and tired of the myth that extra pounds mean you can't find love. I have never been a thin person, but I've rarely been a single person.

I firmly believe that there is a shoe for every foot, and finding that shoe has more to do with having confidence and being true to yourself than being thin. I have known many women who have lost 50 pounds or more only to find the problem wasn't their appearance. It was something deeper in their personalities.

If Dee is striking out with the men in her life, my advice is to look in a different social circle for a date. If the men she's aiming for can't see past her size, I'm not sure why she'd want to be with them anyway.

Chubby and Loved, Alexandria, Va.

- - -

There's no way to delude yourself into thinking you're not fat if you are. Dee is reminded of that when she looks in a mirror.

I've been fat all my life, and I have never lacked for male companionship when I really wanted it. Dee needs to believe that she's beautiful, talented and funny, and that she is worthy of love and respect, no matter what size her jeans are.

Plus-size and Happy

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips. Find columns at www.dearabby.com.

Universal Press Syndicate

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