Have you ever eaten with someone who, after the meal is complete, and you ate everything on your plate, says with great enthusiasm,”You Were Hungry!”
“That was a totally unsolicited and unwanted observation of the amount of food I consumed. The comment surprised me. I felt as if I were being observed and evaluated for how much I ate. And who likes to be judged?
I interpret the comment as an insulting one; it gives the impression that the person with you thinks you ate too much. Hearing that remark addressed to me made me self-conscious. It never occurred to me to pay attention to how much anyone else ate at a meal. So why is the amount of my food intake being observed, judged and evaluated?
When I mentioned my feeling of being insulted to a friend she said,
“Oh no. That is not an insult; My mother was from Italy. In Italy it means that the hostess is pleased that you, enjoyed the food and were happy with the meal“
This interpretation makes the comment,
”You were hungry”
a compliment. You might have been hungry when you started eating, but now you are happily satisfied. And the fact that you ate everything the hostess served is a compliment to her and her cooking.
A third interpretation of that comment is, “I’m glad you were not wasteful with food. It is not a commodity that anyone should take for granted, seeing the hunger in this community and around the world.” So when a person says “You were hungry,” it simply is confirming that you were appreciative of that meal.
It reminds me of my business partnership which lasted twenty two years. A business partnership is almost as hard to manage as a marriage. Two people discuss something, and each assumes that the other person understands a words the same way you do. It astounded me to learn how many ways there are to understand the same sentence. Hearing or saying the same words does not mean you understand an issue the same way.
So the comment“You were hungry”doesn’t mean what you assumed it did.Maybe. But still I wonder, “Does he think I’m getting fat?