- Never confront the person within the presence of or near a group of peers.
- Avoid going in groups to confront the person. He/she will feel others are “ganging up.”
- Avoid getting into a power struggle or argument over who is right/wrong. The other person will always win in some way. Their hardcore stubbornness will make sure of that.
- Never nag, beg, threaten, plead, bribe, manipulate, or “make a deal.” It will only give cause to the person to avoid you in the future.
- Don’t play “food police.” This pushes the person away from you and creates resistance.
- Never criticize, blame, or shame the person. The person will withdraw and learn not to trust you.
- Don’t give advice or a lecture. They get their fill of these in school, at home, and at work.
- Don’t expect the person to follow your advice, even if it’s the most reasonably sound advice ever uttered from two lips.
- If you’re asked advice or “What would you do if…”, answer it briefly, then quickly divert the attention back to how the other person is feeling.
- Avoid using the words, “You should…”
- Don’t pry. Give the person their space and privacy.
- Give up trying to convince the person how thin he/she is. The person won’t believe you, even though they may nod their head to humor you.
- Don’t ignore the person stealing food or purging in the toilet, behind the bush, out the window, or wherever. Be courageous and insist on responsibility.
- Avoid allowing the person to control you by always deciding when, where, and what to eat. Be flexible, but also fair to everyone else in the group.
- Don’t walk around on eggshells trying to protect the other person’s feelings. Be yourself and allow the other person to experience and deal with their feelings. If you’re angry, tell them directly and respectfully. If you’re sad, share it. If you’re brimming with questions, ask some of them.
- Don’t change family plans to accommodate the person’s eating disorder habits. This is called enabling.
- Never force the person to eat. You will NEVER win. If you find your competitive nature taking hold of you, let it go. At least take a deep breath and surrender the battle for another day. They will come again sooner than later.
- Never tell the person how they should feel or not to feel a certain way. It’s too late; they already do. Just accept the situation and their feelings for what they are and move on.
- Never underestimate the healing power of genuine listening. Find out how to do it and become an expert at it. Statistics report less than 10% of our country does effectively.
- Avoid focusing on conversations about food, weight, and calories.
- Get away from the notion that the person can be “fixed.” They’re not broken. They simply don’t have the directions on how to put themselves together.