In my relationship counseling sessions with Jill, I individually coach her to be more effective in her relationships with others. She recently started working with an exercise mentor in my practice. She has been walking once or twice weekly with the mentor, and just started walking on her own, despite a lifetime of inactivity.

Jill lost fifteen pounds and her mother-in-law noticed. The mother-in-law said, “Jill, your face has gotten thin.” and then added, “But you’re still heavy.”

Jill was flabbergasted by the statement. What starts out as a compliment, ends in a criticism. What’s ironic is that her husband, who was often critical, has been very complimentary, expressing how proud he is of her commitment to getting healthy.

A few careless words can negatively impact a relationship.