DEAR HARRIETTE: I saw what appeared to be self-harm marks on my friend’s hip while we were at the beach. I didn't want to bring more attention to these lines by asking for another opinion, but I am worried about her. Should I probe into her life even though we aren't best friends? No one else seems as concerned as I am. -- Talk to Me, Coney Island, New York
DEAR TALK TO ME: If you think you can get your friend to open up to you, give it a try. Get together with her for a quiet engagement. Introduce a conversation about your life, and encourage her to speak about her own. Know that most people who are living with some kind of emotional disorder or stress do not willingly talk about their challenge. Instead, they usually hide them from the people who interact with them.
In order to get your friend to talk about what you saw, you probably have to ask her about what you think you noticed on her hip. Rather than asking if it was self-harm, why not ask her if she fell or otherwise injured herself? Tell her that you are asking because you noticed marks on her hip. If you have some sense of what your friend may have done, ask her specifically if engages in self-harm; even if she denies it, you can still tell her that you want her to be healthy and whole, and you are worried about her. You can suggest that she have a medical checkup to make sure that she is in good health. Ultimately, though, you will need to accept that she will get help when she is ready -- likely not a moment before.