Telling your friend

Telling your friend, family member or partner you have an eating disorder

Most people find it difficult to tell someone who loves and cares about you that you have an eating disorder. No doubt you will be concerned how they will react. However you need not worry. Your friends, family or partner will respect you for telling them and will want to help you the best they can.

So how do you got about telling them? First, decide what is right for your situation. Some people will tell one family member, whilst others prefer to tell them all together. Another option is telling one family member so they can help you to tell the others – if you still live at home telling a sibling may be best. Try and avoid making them uncomfortable by asking them to keep it a secret (unless you know they are happy to keep it quiet whilst you think about telling other family members). Telling a friend may be easier if you know you can absolutely trust them. Talking to your partner, on the other hand, may be more difficult but the chances are they will be aware there is a problem but may not know what it is.

You will need to think about the appropriate time and place. For instance, it would be best avoided talking about your eating disorders at times when are stressed or anxious. Mealtimes may make you feel particularly vulnerable so wait for an opportunity when you have a space and time to talk. It may take a little time for your news to sink in, so expect this. If you think it may be difficult for your friend, family or partner to take in maybe have some information on hand so they can better understand what you are going through.

It might be an idea to plan what you are going to say in advance or write it down.

Regardless of your friend, family or partners initial response they will need time to fully understand what you are going through. If you don’t get the response you hope for remind them how much their support means to you.

'Men Get Eating Disorders Too' is a registered charity in England and Wales no. 1139351.

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