- Don’t let them try to be their friend, make sure them make a clean break. If they are having a hard time getting over the guy, why would trying to be his friend make it any easier? It won’t. So, insist that she does not try and be his friend.
- Go in for some intervention. You want to be sure to erase her ex’s telephone number from her cell phone. Why? Because next time she is bored and looking through her phone book for someone to call, you don’t want her to try and call him. She is trying to get over him, not back together with him. So, intervene and erase that number. Also go into their email and delete their old emails and their handle from her online “buddy” lists so that conversation and staying in touch is not possible. She does not need to know when he is online and not talking to her.
- Get her out on the town and involved in social activities. A lot of the time, when someone dates the same person for a while, they sort of fall out of the social scene and spend a lot of time one on one and leave their friends in the cold. So, forgive her, and get her back involved. Don’t let her sit around staring at the mementos of her failed love. Pack them away.
- Buy her a journal for venting. A journal or notebook is a great way to vent your pain, anger, frustration and so forth, so it is therapeutic for her, and it helps you from having to endure too much listening to the same old sob story. You want to be there for her, but not hear this tale a million times, so let her write it out.
- Spoil your friend. When you have a hard break up, and getting over the ex is difficult, nothing helps more than ice cream, shopping sprees, and a whole lot of fun to take your mind off it all. So, help that happen. She will likely return the favor some day.
- If she was sexually active with her ex, make sure she buys new bedding and changes her room around so that not everything reminds her of the intimate moments they spent together.
- Don’t let her rebound. That spells trouble, and more heart ache or regret. Just get her out on the town having fun, but don’t let her hook up, go home with, or even get semi-serious with anyone too soon. After all, you are a teen, why get serious now when you could have so much fun?
- Don’t listen to the negative self-talk, and don’t allow her to do it. If she starts saying something is wrong with her, and that is why she has an ex not a boyfriend, it is time to step in. Tell her to knock off the crap. Remind her how much fun she is, and how lucky every guy out there is that her ex was stupid enough to end things. Then mean it. Show her guys that like her, make sure she is a fun person to be around, and make sure if she falls back into the negative self-talk that you revive her quick.
- Learn as much as you can about eating disorders. Read books, articles, and brochures. If you have knowledge and understanding about their situation you will be a much bigger asset and much more helpful than someone who knows little. Instead of looking like someone trying to stick their nose in someone else’s business you look like a knowledgeable, caring, friend.
- Know the differences between facts and myths about weight, nutrition, and exercise. This is so very important because knowing the facts will help you reason against any inaccurate ideas that your friend may be using as excuses to maintain their disordered eating patterns. You should compile information and have sources on hand to show healthy eating patterns, and information about weight, nutrition and exercise.
- Be honest with your friend. In order to help your friend you need to be able to talk openly and honestly about your concerns with the person who is struggling with eating or body image problems. Avoiding it or ignoring it won’t help, so talk about it! Sometimes just seeing how much someone else cares and worries about them can help them take the steps to overcoming the disorder.
- Be caring, but be firm. Caring about your friend does not mean being manipulated by them, or letting them do things because they want to. Your friend must be responsible for their actions and the consequences of those actions, so you need to be sure to avoid making rules, promises, or expectations that you cannot or will not uphold. What does this mean exactly? It means do not do things like promise not to tell anyone, or tell them that you will never talk to them again if they don’t stop. Truth is important, so only say and do things you really mean.
- Compliment your friend’s wonderful personality, successes, or accomplishments. Most eating disorders start with an insecurity about worth and value, and become more as their self image, and therefore image image starts to come into question. So, be sure to remind your friend how great they are.
- Be a good role model in regard to sensible eating, exercise, and self-acceptance. Do not talk bad about yourself or your body in front of them as it gives them an excuse to think poorly about their own. Do not binge or eat poorly when they are around. Example is key!
- Tell someone. It may seem difficult to know when, if at all, to tell someone else about your concerns. However, eating disorders are serious problems and you can’t help your friend if you do not address their body image or eating problems in the beginning stages. If you can get them help early, this gives your friend the best chance for working through these issues and becoming healthy again. Don’t wait until the situation is so severe that your friend’s life is in danger.
- Be supportive and understanding, but not accepting of the disorder. As soon as you begin to rationalize or allow them to have the disorder, your value for helping them diminishes. Your friend needs as much support and understanding as possible, but they also need to know how much you hate that they suffer with the problem.
Depression is a serious problem, and with the rise of depression in teens, it is important to know how to recognize when your friends are suffering from depression so that you can help them to help themselves.
With teens depression is not like it is with adults. You will find that your friends may exhibit irritability as the predominant mood, not so much being depressed. They may act hostile, grumpy, or easily lose their temper.
Also, if your friend complains of unexplained aches and pains, such as headaches and stomachaches, you may want to have some concern as this is also a common symptom of depression in children and teens.
The following are some of the signs that indicate someone is suffering from depression:
- Depressed mood: Feeling hopeless, sad, discouraged, or empty. If no matter what you do, you can’t cheer your friend up, and they are easily discouraged, or disheartened, this may be a sign that they are suffering from depression.
- Loss of interest or pleasure: One of the big signs of depression is the inability to experience pleasure. So, if nothing seems to interest your friend anymore, including former hobbies, social activities, etc. it is probably time to find them some help.
- Appetite or weight changes: Significant weight loss or weight gain-meaning a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month, indicates something serious. People who are depressed often lose their appetite, or they over eat. So, if you notice your friend’s eating habits change significantly, you may want to explore further and see if they are depressed.
- Sleep changes: Insomnia or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia) are signs of depression. This is not something you are really going to notice, but your friend may talk about how they can’t sleep, or about how tired they are even though they sleep all of the time. If you notice this, talk to your friend about the effects of depression.
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation: this is a sign of depression you will immediately notice, but may not know what to attribute it to. If your friend starts acting very anxious, is unable to sit still, is restless or sluggish, has abnormally slow speech and body movements, or lack of responsiveness, they may be suffering from some very serious depression.
- Fatigue or loss of energy: There are times when you are going to be energy less, and that is normal. But, if your friend is physically drained after even small tasks, or wakes up and routine things are exhausting, you may want to talk to them about depression.
- Self-loathing: Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and harsh criticism of perceived faults and mistakes are a common sign of depression in teen girls. This is not normal. Some self criticism is, but being unable to see good in yourself is a sign of depression.
- Concentration problems: Inability to focus, difficulty making decisions, and memory problems are not always because of ADD and ADHD, but are commonly categorized inappropriately. Such behaviors and problems with focus can also be an effect of depression.
- Irritability: Grouchy, easily annoyed, and frustrated by little things, and angry outbursts are all signs of depression. When someone is depressed even little things can make them frustrated and angry. So, if your friend seems abnormally irritable, or at least more irritable than a regular person should be, you may want to talk to them about depression.
How to help:
Find out why your friend is depressed. You may already know.did they just have a bad break-up or did their parents get divorced?
Don’t tell your friend stuff like life is still worth living, the situation will improve and the sadness will get better. This trivializes their pain and will not help.
Advise them to seek professional help. Depression is not something that goes away by itself after a while. It is a serious mental illness.
Don’t press them too hard.
Keep them talking, as it helps, but, don’t force them to be dependent on you.