Approaching a Friend about an Eating Disorder
When confronting someone about an eating disorder, it is important to remember what a touchy subject it can be.Most people with eating disorders base how they feel about themselves on how much they weight or what their eating habits are. Thus, a lot of people feel shameful or embarrassed when approached about their disorder. Others become defensive because they use their eating disorder as a way of coping with stressful situations in life. How can you approach this subject with a friend you are concerned about? The following 16 steps may be beneficial in helping your friend find an eating disorder treatment center. Eating disorder treatment facilities offer bulimia programs, anorexia treatment and binge eating therapy, among others.
16 Ways You Can Help
- Learn about eating disorders. By knowing more about your friend’s disorder, you will feel better prepared and be able to relax more in your initial conversation with them.
- Avoid judging your friend. Do not waver in your opinion but avoid approaching them too harshly. Show them you care but are also worried.
- Give examples of why you are worried. Mention one or more particular instances where you noticed them displaying eating disorder behaviors.
- Be honest. Do not lie to your friend about their problem or how you are feeling about it. Honestly share your concerns with them.
- Do not place guilt. Avoid blaming your friend (or someone else) and making them feel guilty about their disorder.
- Express genuine concern. Do not only talk with them about their eating habits but also show them that you want to know how they are doing and what they may be struggling with.
- Never agree to keep your friend’s disorder a secret.
- Do not be overwhelming. Avoid pushing all of your desires onto a friend or demand they tell you everything. This pressure may cause them to pull away from you and do things in secret.
- Recognize you can’t change your friend’s mind. Your friend must have a desire of their own to change, you are not in control of this.
- Express your concern to someone else. It may be important to tell someone else about your friend’s disorder if they can offer you advice and assist if the disorder becomes serious.
- Set an example to your friend. Demonstrate a normal relationship with food and do not speak negatively about your own body or the bodies of others.
- Complement success and personality. Do not only complement beauty and the look of a person but also complement them for their character and great accomplishments.
- Don’t give advice unless it is asked for.
- Avoid talking about food and body size. These conversations may trigger your friend or leave feelings of bitterness.
- Show support. Be available to help in the recovery process. Offer to help them find an eating disorder treatment center.
- Be patient. Change takes time.