First of all, I want to point out that most people assume that only women can develop eating disorders. This is false. ANYONE can have an eating disorder. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- It is not your fault if the person you are trying to help doesn’t listen
- The person you are trying to help will likely deny the fact that they have an eating disorder
- They may try to push you away, and isolate themselves
- Never GIVE UP on this person
Next, I am going to give a list of DON’TS when talking to someone who has an eating disorder:
- DON’T say ” Oh, you look so much healthier!” To someone who has an eating disorder, this can come off to them as “You gained weight!” or “You are fat!”.
- DON’T say things like “Wow, you must have willpower to be able to do this.” or “You look great”. This is encouraging the eating disorder and promoting negative body image.
- DON’T try to force them to eat right away. You have to start with snacks, and slowly work your way up.
- DON’T ask things like “Why?”. Eating disorders are complex, and you don’t want to put them on the spot to open up about personal information.
- DON’T say “looks don’t matter”! To them this may come off as “Your ugly!”.
- DON’T say “You don’t look like you have an eating disorder!” this sounds like “You look fat.”
- DON’T get angry at them for having an eating disorder or ever make jokes about it.
Here are some things you CAN do to support someone who is struggling with an eating disorder:
- Find a time and place you can talk to them about it privately.
- Make it clear that you are only worried and concerned, and you simply want to look out for them.
- Provide this person with resources and treatment options.
- Listen to them without judgement or critisism.
- If they refuse to listen, tell someone who has the power to take action.
- If they get angry or upset with you, remember that is it part of their illness and they may be in denail!
I hope this was helpful! Comment below and let me know what you think! (: