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My friend's eating problem

Hi Sam, My friend has been doing something lately, and its making me worry. I haven't seen her at break or lunchtimes. A few weeks ago, I was eating my lunch and she came over to me with a sandwich and two drinks she'd bought. She sat next to me and opened her drinks. I asked her if she was going to eat the sandwich and she said no, she was going to get all her energy from the drinks. I told her that i wasn't sure that that much energy was in the drinks and maybe she should eat the sandwich, but she said that she doesn't get hungry much. Today, I said how crummy I felt and she said that yesterday she didn't eat anything. She acts all jokey about this, but my other friend told me a little while back, that she is really self conscious of her body. I am very worried that my friend will develop an eating disorder, but I cant speak out about this because its her business and none of mine. I'm also worried that if i tell her what she is doing is unhealthy, she'll just ignore me or not be friends with me anymore. How do I stop her unhealthy behaviour and remain friends? (P.S one of my friends knows about this but doesn't thinks its bad, or hasn't told me their thoughts)

Ask Sam


Hi there,

When a friend is going through a tough time or doing something that worries you, it's natural to want to help them.

Sometimes people don't realise they need help and this can make talking to them about it harder.

When you talk to a friend about what’s on your mind it's important to be clear about what's worrying you, but also listen to what they have to say. It can be easy to already have an opinion in your head, but be open to hearing their side of things as well.

Before you speak to them, you need to first work out what’s worrying you. You've noticed they aren't eating, so it might be you're worried they are stressed or that something else is going on in their life.

If you think your friend might have body image issues you may want to be careful how you bring that up. If you assume that's the cause, it might make her feel more self-conscious.

A good way to bring it up could be to talk in general about eating problems - say you've read there are lots of reasons someone might change the way they eat and be open to listening to whatever reasons she gives.

It's important to accept what your friend tells you. Even if you think they might not be being completely honest with you. Sometimes people might not be ready to be honest even with themselves about what's going on with them, and that's okay. The most important thing is for you to show you’re not judging them and that you can be trusted to talk to without assuming what's going on or pushing your own thoughts and feelings onto them.

It's difficult to see your friend going through something so it's important you look after yourself too. Try not to bottle up how you feel and be sure to talk to someone confidentially about your feelings. It's a good idea if this person is someone who doesn't know your friend, so that you can talk openly without worrying about breaking their trust.

You can always talk to a Childline counsellor or you can speak to other young people on the Childline message boards.

I hope this has helped, thanks for writing to me.


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