National Eating Disorders Association

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ananonymousfriend
Should I Inform Her Parents?

Okay, I'll try to keep this brief. So, recently I noticed that my best friend was starting to get thinner. In hindsight, I hate that I commented on it to begin with, since that probably just fueled her determination to harm herself. But, I digress. I asked her what she was doing, and she seemed kind of hesitant to answer at first. Then she said that she was just cutting out snacks. In my mind, I just figured that she was cutting back on overeating, which I thought was a good, healthy step. Fast forward, and then I realized she wasn't bringing lunch to school (she packs), and then I realized I couldn't remember the last time she brought lunch to school. I know she doesn't eat breakfast, so now without eating lunch, I put two and two together and realized her method of getting 'healthy' is by forcing herself to not eat.
I tried talking to her about it recently and sat her down and addressed the situation. Her response was that she was fine and I was overanalyzing the situation. I even asked her what she had been eating recently, and she refused to tell me when the last time she had a full meal was. Her excuse is that she's not hungry. So then I packed her lunch for school and gave it to her (I said she left it in my car so no one would think I actually made her lunch). I don't know if she ate it or not, because I found out that she likes to lie to me so I won't worry.
I told her that if she doesn't talk to her parents about getting help that I will. However, I think she lied to me about actually doing that. I know I'm not a doctor, but what she's doing is all in line with an eating disorder. Especially since the two times we hung out with our other friends, she was fine until food was placed in front of her. Her hands would shake as she held the food in her hands and she looked really withdrawn and ill.
Now, her cousin just died from COVID and I don't know if it would be inappropriate to reach out to her mom and tell her that she isn't eating. Her mom's been praising her appearance lately too, which, to me, demonstrates that she didn't actually tell her mom what she's been doing. I mean, what parent would comment that after finding out their child hasn't been eating?

I don't know what to do. Any advice would be much appreciated.

BobJ48
Informing on a friend.

Oh brother, it's hard to say about this. Because it sounds like you are right in your suspicions. There are certainly those who will tell you that it's your responsibility to tell on her, and they may have a point. But "the responsibilities of friendship" can be pretty tangled sometimes.

Combine that with the fact that it's possible that her parents would not believe you. Like how no one wants there to be "a problem" you know ? It's can be pretty amazing sometimes, how people don't see things which are right in front of their eyes.
Just a suggestion, but you might want to talk to the counselor at school about this, and see what she has to say ? If it comes down to telling her parents, she might be the most effective person to do that ?