What to Say
What do you say to someone with an eating disorder?
We asked current sufferers and these were the responses:
What to say:
- Offer to accompany the person to a therapy appointment. If the person is not in therapy, offer to set up an appointment and go with him/her.
- Call or visit and ask how I'm doing. Just listen, don't judge or give me unsolicited advice.
- Honestly, just being supportive and loving would make a world of difference.
- "I love you no matter what."
- "Do you want me to help problem solve or just listen right now?"
- "Is there anything I can do to help you right now?"
- I think just being THERE for the person is really important. For me I think a large part of getting better was having someone who simply loved me and supported me.
- Giving compliments that have absolutely nothing to do with physical appearance.
What Not to Say
- Resist any urges to talk about your diets. ED is not a diet.
- Never criticize or shame the individual.
- Don’t be a food monitor or insist the problem is just a matter of eating.
- Don’t make comments like, “You’re not fat.” or “You’re too thin.” These comments redirect attention to body shape and weight, and these are not the true issues.
- Never say, “I wish I had that problem. I need to lose weight.” Eating disorders are deadly and you wouldn’t want that problem any more than you would want cancer.