Eating Disorders

FAQ: How to handle ‘Wanna-rexic’ Friends

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What do I do about friends with Wannarexia (a desire to have Anorexia)? At my school one of my bestfriends has decided she’s basically (from what I can tell although I don’t want to judge her as eating disorders are so hard to understand and I of all people totally get that) not going to eat her lunch ’cause she can’t’. But she only does this on days I’m at college at lunchtime and is fine all the other days when I’m not around. It makes me so jealous and frustrated that she seems to actually ‘want‘ an eating disorder and I’m starting to not be able to be around her and get worried she’ll give herself an eating disorder and its really not aiding my recovery.


First of all, I am sorry that your friend has taken this approach and appears to be developing an unhealthy relationship with food – I understand how stressful and upsetting this can be, especially when you are doing all that you can to get better! And I know it is hard when we feel that one of our friends is posing a ‘threat’ to our recovery. So I am sorry that you are faced with this situation.

Here are my thoughts:

First and foremost, your recovery is the #1 priority right now.

Yes, this may sound selfish, but that’s because in recovery we do need to be selfish sometimes. And so if it gets to the point where you need to make the difficult choice to distance yourself (maybe only for a time) from your friend for the sake of your own recovery, this is NOT something you need to feel guilty about. And, depending on your friends personality (which I clearly cannot speak for) you may even be able to explain to her why you need this distance….who knows, that could be a real ‘eye opener’ for her and may show her that she maybe needs to seek help.

Second, I fully understand your feelings of ‘jealousy’ – in the earlier stages of my recovery.

I definitely dealt with jealousy of people who seemed to ‘want’ to engage in ED behaviours or disordered eating – it is a strange feeling because you are jealous of something that deep down you know you don’t want anyway. So I want you to know those feelings are normal. And the only way to counteract them is to hold on to TRUTH. Despite what your ED may be telling you, you need to remember deep down that you are not a ‘wannarexic’ – you want to be healthy! that is why you are in recovery! And so when those feelings of jealousy arise or you feel tempted by other’s behaviours, just remember who you are and what you want for yourself and resist them!

Finally, again depending on your friend’s personality and your relationship with her, you could consider confronting her in a loving and gentle way.

especially if she knows about your ED history, you could always just have an open and honest conversation with her about it, and explain to her your concerns with her behaviors (you don’t even have to mention how it affects you – focus on her) and how they seem to parallel your behaviors when you began developing an ED and explain that you don’t want her to go through what you have etc… The wording for these conversations can be tricky and you don’t want to come off as judgemental or condescending – try your best to do as much LISTENING as possible (but don’t let her manipulate you! We all know how ED loves to do that…) but be honest and share your story as well.

I hope that this helps.

The most important thing, though, is to remember to take care of yourself through all of this. Stay Strong and hold tight to the truth – remember, you want to recover!

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Lauren is the Founder and Editor of Libero. She started Libero in April 2010, when she shared her story about her struggles with an eating disorder and depression. Now Lauren uses her writing and videos to advocate mental health and body positivity. In her spare time, she enjoys makeup artistry, playing Nintendo, and taking selfies with her furbaby, Zoey.

SITE DISCLAIMER: The opinions and information shared in this article or any other Content on our site may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We hold no liability for any harm that may incur from reading content on our site. Please always consult your own medical professionals before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.