Everyone has at least one friend who can’t name a single vegetable and seems to have an asthma attack every time you even mention working out. Maybe she smokes; maybe he never does laundry ― whatever their particular vices, they are unquestionably unhealthy. As a good friend, you want your unhealthy pal to live a long, wholesome life, but that means they need to change their ways.
Though it might sound morally dubious, you can con your friend into living a healthier lifestyle. The following tactics will slowly but surely convert your unhealthy friend to the light side.
Gush about Being Healthy
Celery doesn’t taste as good as potato chips. Working out will never feel as comfortable as lying on the couch. The healthy lifestyle isn’t easy, and your unhealthy friend knows this all too well. However, being healthy can also be incredibly fun and rewarding, which your unhealthy friend probably doesn’t realize or believe. The more you brag about your healthy deeds ― the more you comment how much you enjoyed that hike or felt satisfied after those grilled veggies ― the more intrigued your unhealthy friend will become.
Showing excitement about any aspect of your lifestyle builds envy and desire in others, making them want the happiness you have. Plus, it rewrites your friend’s expectations about being healthy, so he or she might forget about the pain or discomfort of exercise ― until he or she completes that first workout, of course, but by then, you’re halfway to healthy.
Use Misleading Terminology
Parents often mislead their children to trick them into doing unpleasant activities, and you might have to do the same with your unhealthy friend. Instead of trying to convince him or her to go on a bike ride for the exercise, you can tell him or her you’re going someplace he or she loves ― just don’t say how you are getting there. You can invite him or her over to play games, then break out the ball and mitt or the tennis racquets for an engaging workout.
Food is even easier to be misleading about. There are dozens of cookbooks that teach you how to incorporate healthy ingredients into dishes that don’t look, sound, or smell healthy. For example, you can add fiber, protein, and vitamins to a meal by making cauliflower pizza crust, or you can sneak carrot and zucchini into delicious desserts. If you wait to tell your friend about the health benefits until after he or she eats, you might convince him or her that eating healthy isn’t distasteful.
Similarly, you should allow your friend to believe an activity is unhealthy. Millions of unhealthy people around the country eagerly play Pokemon Go, not realizing that the walking the game necessitates counts as valuable exercise. Additionally, smoking and vaping may look similar, but it’s possible one is better than the other. Therefore, if your friend continues to argue against a healthy lifestyle while adopting possibly healthier habits, you might let those questionable activities slide.
Bet on It
Few people can resist a challenge, especially when you are honest in your disbelief of their capability to complete it. On top of that, most people will do nearly anything for money or favors. Therefore, betting your unhealthy friend won’t do something will likely goad him or her into doing it, regardless of how much he or she abhors the activity.
It is important that the bet arise naturally from dialogue, so your friend doesn’t recognize that it is a trick. For example, you might open the conversation by discussing your roommate’s chores calendar, then tease your friend by saying “I bet you don’t even know how to clean the bathroom.” You should set tempting stakes to drive home your friend’s natural compulsion to rise to the challenge.
Distract, Distract, Distract
Finally, as long as you can keep your friend distracted from what he or she is doing or eating, you can trick him or her into doing almost anything. First, engage him or her in conversation about a topic he or she feels deeply passionate about: a favorite TV show theory, a celebrity’s dating life, a Kantian philosophical argument, etc. Then, while he or she is lost in a rant, you can go for a walk, serve a veg-heavy salad, or put a dust cloth in his or her hands. If the topic is fascinating enough, you might trick your friend into being healthy for an hour or more.