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I’m worried about a friend

Hi, I have a friend (I’ll call her bob) who is usually quite happy. She’s not the most excited person (by nature) but she makes a lot of jokes and is fun to be around. Just today I was sitting with her and another friend (I’ll call her Jeff) and I heard Jeff say something like “are you ok?” or “how have things been?” or “you need to stop”. It looked like she had self harmed. She brushed it off like “yeah, it’s been ok” and she seemed fine about it. Like it was normal and there was nothing bad happening. I’m not sure if it was self-harm but I don’t think there’s anything else it could be. At breaks (I’m still in school - year 8), she sits with a group who are very LGBTQIA+ friendly. What I mean by this is that lots of her friends are lesbian, or gay, or non-binary, etc. She recently cut her hair short and since she is surrounded by LGBTQIA+ people, I’m worried she might be unsure of her gender or sexuality and therefore feeling depressed and confused and possibly suicidal. It’s definitely not a bad thing that she’s questioning her sexuality - it means she is discovering who she is - but I’m worried it’s causing her to inflict harm upon herself. I’m not super close to her - more like a classmate/friend - but I want to help her and don’t know how. Does anyone have any advice?

 

Thanks 😊 

Re: I’m worried about a friend

Hi @kutekitty01 , it's great that you've noticed something's wrong with your friend, it means you're really caring and empathetic, especially at such a young age! It's also great that you want to help her, although I know it can be hard to approach someone you're not particularly close to. There are a lot of ways you could check on her to see if she is ok though. You could try asking her for help with some homework, then afterwards asking her if she is ok. Or you could ask Jeff to see if they know more about Bob's mental state. Whatever you decide to do, please make sure that you talk to Bob alone, so that she isn't embarrassed in front of everyone. Please update us on the situation later!

 

Sorry if my advice wasn't the best, I'm not particularly experienced in these kinds of situations either? I'm sure others can provide some advice too Smiley Very Happy

Re: I’m worried about a friend

Hi, 

As it seems you are interested and concerned with this person, maybe you would like to become closer friends with them. If you genuinely want to, 'Bob' will notice and perhaps find comfort in knowing that people will be accepting of her no matter her sexuality etc. 

Re: I’m worried about a friend

Hey @kutekitty01 firstly, I just want to say that it's speaks volumes about the kind of person you are to reach out and get some advice to help your friend. It sounds like your friend is definitely going through a tough time but I want to assure you that having caring people around, like yourself, really helps. We've got some articles on how to help a friend here and here

 

My personal advice would be that you don't even have to ask directly about the self harm, even just engaging your friend in conversations, inviting them to hang out etc can really help when you're feeling low. Let us know how you go with it. 

 

Also, just needed to let you know that we made some edits to your post as there were some descriptions of self harm, which is something we steer clear of putting on the forum. You can read through our guidelines here

Re: I’m worried about a friend

Hi @kutekitty01 I also wanted to say that you sound like a very kind and perceptive person. I agree with the statements which have already been made. I would assume the reason that this girl didn't say anything else about it is that it might be quite private and personal to her. I think the main thing you can do as a distant friend is to be kind and a positive person in her life- inviting her to things, making her feel welcome, asking how she is without prying if you feel that's not your place and don't want to be pushy. It might also be helpful if you let some people close to her or both of you know that you're worried about her and ask them to keep an eye on her too, if you're comfortable with it.

 

I would also recommend talking to a teacher or your year coordinator about your concerns for her health and safety because this could be quite a serious issue. You could ask them not to mention you brought it up and to be subtle about it. These are some heavy things to think about and you don't have to go through it alone! And most important of all, look after yourself too!

Re: I’m worried about a friend

Hi @kutekitty01! Welcome to the forums!
It's really awesome of you to come onto the forums to find advice about how you can best support your friend. She's lucky to have you in her life. You may not know it, but you being there for her may have already made a big difference for her. Heart
I echo the other comments in this thread. I think it's important to keep in mind that Bob may or may not be ready to discuss what's happening in her life at the moment. Speaking from my own experience, I've found that it can really help to continue acting like a friend and doing things that friends would usually do with each other rather than keeping every conversation focused on their feelings. What are some things that you enjoy doing with Bob? How do you think she would react if you suggested doing more of those things with her?
At the same time, it must be so worrying to have a friend who might be going through a tough time. I would have also felt concerned by her responses if I were her friend. How are you coping with all of this?

Re: I’m worried about a friend

Hi @kutekitty01,
I just wanna echo some comments here. It is great that you realise something goes wrong with a distant friend. I think you can let Bob know she is being supported even though she is not your close friend and you are welcome to speak to her if she has any troubles. So basically let her realise that she has someone to talk with if anything goes wrong, then she can actively talk to you when her close friends or families are not available to support her. And I think it would great to keep an eye on her, such as her Facebook to see whether everything is ok with her (once you feel there is something wrong, you can then actively approach to her)

Re: I’m worried about a friend

Hi @kutekitty01 !

 

Thank you for posting and reaching out to the community. What you are doing is really admirable and she's lucky that she's around people who are so observant and considerate. Even though you are not close to her it's really nice that you care enough to be worried and you should be proud of yourself for asking for help and taking the initiative. If I were in your shoes I would try to talk to her or message her and just remind her that you are there if ever she needs you and that you would love to catch up and just talk. I've experienced something similar when I realized that my friend was acting distant, and letting someone know that you are there for them can be a really big thing. Even just trying to get close to her like sending her funny pictures/memes or asking how she's been if you bump into each other at school etc could make a difference. 

 

I hope both you and your friend are okay, and that you guys get through this.

Best of luck friend and feel free to update us Smiley Happy