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Like, your old friend from high school or that guy who lives down the hall in your attached” flirtationship can be the best of both worlds in the dating scene.

Some days you even cancel plans to go out with friends or family because you are too upset over your appearance. They never seem to say the right thing.

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All of these negative thoughts and rituals can take a toll on you, leaving you feeling ashamed, sad, frustrated—even angry. Such thoughts and behaviors can leave you feeling anxious, distant from your peers, and alone. Appearance concerns are a normal part of adolescence and young adulthood.

BDD and Relationships - BDD

BDD is a body-image disorder characterized by an excessive concern with a perceived flaw in your appearance. Having BDD can negatively affect your relationships and interactions with your friends, significant other, coaches, teachers, and family members. In fact, BDD is more common than you might think.

Body Dysmorphia Ruined My Life - Lorraine

You are not alone. BDD often starts during adolescence — right at the time you are starting to develop your own identity, gain more independence from your parents, and develop close friendships and romantic relationships. While your friends are focused on navigating independence and building relationships, you might have a hard time focusing on anything other than your appearance and a fear of being judged or rejected by others.

BDD and Relationships

These concerns can make it seem impossible to spend time away from your family and with your peers. However, the more time you spend apart from peers, the more stuck you feel, and the thought of developing new relationships seems all the more daunting. Staying home from school only makes it more difficult to make and maintain friends, develop romantic relationships, and share common interests like photography or baseball with classmates. Having BDD can severely impact your life and those around you, like your friends or family members.

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Friends may stop asking you to hang out because you always say no or cancel last minute. This can be frustrating for all involved. However, you are all on the same team — frustrated with BDD, not with you. Simply having empathy for what they are telling you is so, so powerful.

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They may prefer for you to distract them by doing fun activities that can help take their mind off their disordered thoughts. Potentially triggering activities can include exercise, clothes shopping, or eating out, since they can all trigger negative thoughts or worries about their body. If you think you or a loved one is struggling with body dysmorphia, there are many valuable resources available to help better understand BDD and the many ways it can manifest itself.

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You are definitely not alone.