my best friend hates herself

dear heather,
My best friend does not weigh very much, and she is extremely skinny. People are constantly asking her if she is anorexic, how much she weighs, or what size she wears. Her popular “friends” who constantly backstab each other tell her she’s lucky for being so skinny. The boys don’t think of her as girlfriend potential, and they call her names. The teachers call her little. She is being berated on all sides, and yet, she is weightlifting with me and trying to better herself and make herself more appealing and muscular. I admire her courage, but she is at the breaking point now, because she just had a device put inside her mouth that will move her jaw, but it hampers her speaking, so she sounds weird. I am certain that everyone will tease her when we get back to school. What can I do to help her and protect her?

Being different in high school is such a difficult thing. It sounds like you truly care about your friend, which is probably the one thing she’ll need more than anything else. Talk to her as much as you can, maybe try and do things outside of school so she can get away from the people who have been bothering her — it’s distraction, sure, but it also might be a way for you both to meet new people and find different interests.

It might be good, before you get back to school, to get in touch with someone at your school and talk about your issues with the way she’s being treated. I am only saying this because I think it’s really horrible that even teachers are getting on her back about being little; you would think they’d know better, at least.

Just remember, though, while it’s true that you are trying to protect your friend, too much protection might be a bad thing and might ultimately backfire on her. You will want to be very careful with how much you let your maternal instincts take over; too much might make her uncomfortable. Communication is key, and the more open you are with how you feel about her the more I think that she will know that you are a true friend.

take care,
heather


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