Recruiting social support part 3 - Hecklers

There are four types of people that you might come across in your support network. These are Buddies, Cheerleaders, Hecklers and Saboteurs.

This article describes Hecklers and how to manage them.


Hecklers aren’t as bad as the name suggests. They are often well-meaning people, but their behaviour can unwittingly trip you up on your way to success. Hecklers can be family members, friends or work colleagues.

 How people can act as hecklers:

  • Eat high-calorie foods in front of you

  • Talk about their failed attempts to get into shape

  • Make excuses why they don’t have the will power you do

  • They innocently offer food as a sign of friendship or love

  • Make passing negative comments about your weight or shape

  • Put you down when you are trying really hard

  • They don’t seem to understand what you are trying to achieve

How to manage hecklers:

  • Be specific about how you need them to behave to support your efforts

  • Let them know that although you are motivated, your willpower can be dented by their comments

  • Suggest you catch up with them for a walk, rather than coffee and cake

  • Ask them to praise your positive changes, not just for achieving your goal

  • Ask them not to give you food as gifts

  • Engage in social activities that don’t involve food

  • At the workplace, take a poll on who wants the snack box removed. You might be surprised how many people say, “Yes!”

  • Just say, “No thanks”. You don’t owe an explanation or have to feel guilty

  • Let them know that your enthusiasm may rub off on them.

Although challenging, you may need to spend less time with some friends and more time with others.

Recruiting social support part 1 - Buddies

Recruiting social support part 2 - Cheerleaders

Recruiting social support part 4 - Saboteurs

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