Serious This Time

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I did what you said but it is not working. I asked a friend of mine if she
wanted to be my exercise buddy. We are both mid-sixties, too
sedentary, and want to lose 20-25 pounds. Previously we took a class
together at the university so I know she is a hard worker when she
puts her mind to something. Also, she is one of the bluntest and most
honest people I know, so when she says she is going to commit to
something I take her at her word. It has been two weeks since we
agreed to meet Tuesday and Friday mornings at 10 for an hour for
hand weights, tai chi, stretching, and balance ball exercises. I have all
the equipment we need and the space. She has been late twice,
cancelled once, and seems much more interested in talking than
moving. In addition she brings over kugel, blintzes, etc, all of which
are delicious but are not on my diet. How can I tell her this is not what
I had in mind?

Serious This Time

Dear Serious This Time:

Nothing works as well as the truth when you’re talking to a friend. And
if she’s not a good enough friend for you to feel comfortable talking to
honestly, you should look for someone else to see twice a week.
Retired or not, time is too valuable to spend waiting for someone who
is not as committed as you are or who you don’t feel close enough to
to speak honestly.

The next time you get together, work out as hard as you want. Then
talk to her Ask how the agreement is working for her, whether she
feels on track with her goals, and whether she feels she is following
through on your agreement. Listen to her answer. Then tell her the
contradictions you have observed. Tell her you plan to start promptly
at 10:00 from now on when you have scheduled to meet, whether she
is on time or not, and that you are going to stop at 11:00. Say you are
in it for your health and are treating these tow hours like doctors’
appointments. Tell her you want to make this work, and hope she does
too. Only time will tell if she steps up.