It can be difficult to suspect that a friend has a health issue, as you may feel conflicted about how to proceed. On the one hand, you want to respect your friend's privacy — but on the other hand, you want to offer assistance if you're able. This situation can be uncomfortable if you believe that your friend has an eating disorder such as bulimia. However, to be a good friend, it's ideal if you can gently raise the issue in a non-judgmental manner and encourage your friend to get help. Here are some tips for talking to your friend about such an issue.
Think About The Signs
The last thing that you ever want to do is raise the issue of an eating disorder with someone who doesn't have one. For example, just because a friend has lost weight, it doesn't mean that he or she is battling an eating disorder such as bulimia. Well before you decide to speak to your friend, try to look for familiar patterns beyond just weight loss. Perhaps the biggest indicator is that your friend goes to the bathroom soon after each meal. You may also notice your friend's eyes are teary when he or she returns, as this can happen while vomiting.
Find A Common Connection
Your conversation with your friend can have more impact if you're able to find some sort of connection that will resonate with him or her. For example, if you know someone who has struggled with an eating disorder, don't be afraid to cite this example — although it's a good idea to keep the person's identity private. You could say, "I have a close family member who struggled with this, and I saw firsthand how it affected his/her life. I care for you and don't want you to go through this."
Make Some Pledges
When you're talking to a friend about his or her suspected eating disorder, you generally want to make two pledges — that you'll support the friend in getting help, and that you'll keep the news between you. The first part of the equation is to perhaps research eating disorder treatment programs that can help your friend, as well as attend appointments with him or her — of course, you'll need to wait in the waiting room during the actual session. You should also express the sentiment that you promise not to tell anyone about your friend's health struggle.
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30 April 2018
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