SUPPORTING A FRIEND WITH A BFRB
It can be really difficult to tell someone you pull your hair or eyelashes out; so if your loved one has confided in you it’s a good sign that they really care about you. Repay the compliment by showing them you understand and won’t judge.
Many people go through life without discussing pulling with their partners and family. If you suspect someone you care about is pulling their hair, maybe you could take the first step and mention it. You needn’t ask directly, but could mention you’ve seen this website, a magazine article or a program on TV.
Patience is an important tool for dealing with someone who has trichotillomania or any other BFRB. Like any habit or tic, hair pulling is difficult to stop and relapses are common.
It can be hard to listen without judgement, but that is a friend’s role – to cheerlead and encourage but also to have those difficult conversations when they need to be had.
When you have that difficult conversation, please be gentle and understanding.
When hair pulling is really bad, consider your friend to be wearing a badge that says “extra kindness needed”.
Can you do a mindfulness course or a yoga course together?
Listen to a guided meditation together or just go for a walk and talk while walking, rather than discussing it with them full-on face-to-face.
published 04 September 2020, review 04 September 2021