Kathryn is becoming increasingly concerned over a recent change in her friend, Emma’s, behaviour. Initially, supportive of Emma’s recent weight loss, there appears to be no end to diet talk, despite her having reached her target several weeks ago. Emma also no longer participates with them in social activities as she did before. In this short scenario, Kathryn calls Emma to invite her out for a pre-wedding dinner for a mutual friend and colleague.
Kathryn: Hey Emma, there’s a bash being organized for Mandy in three weeks’ time. As far as I know, there’s a table booked for 7 o’clock at that Greek restaurant on Thistle Street.
There are ten of us going, you know, the usual crowd. I put your name down.
Emma: I’m not so sure, Kat. I have got a lot on at work at the moment, and by the time I get to the end of the week, I’m shattered. I’m also still trying to lose a bit of weight. Thanks anyway.
Kathryn: Ok. You’ve pulled out of a lot of social stuff lately. It is a bit out of character. Anything you want to talk about?
Emma: Just a bit tired with everything going on at work. It’s pretty manic.
Kathryn: I know you’ve mention certain times of the year are busier than other times. It seems to have been going on for a couple of months now though and I’ve never noticed that before. You always were the first one to sign up to anything fun social-wise. That seems to have changed. I also thought that you’d reached your target weight, the last time we spoke. Just a bit concerned that your health is fine.
Emma: Oh, please don’t go down that road, Kat. I get enough crap about this from home. They are never happy. I was overweight and now, apparently, I’m underweight. Mum’s at me the entire time about a bloody eating disorder.
Kathryn: You are important to so many people, Ems. We’ve known each other forever. You seem to have lost a lot of your spark…your zest for life, if you like. You have always been the life and soul!
Kathryn uses complex reflections and empathy with her friend. She comments on the weight loss, reflecting on how she thought Emma had reached her target weight, but places the main focus on Emma’s health. She rolls with resistance when met with irritation at the mere mention of a potential eating disorder, instead choosing to step back and change tack to affirming how important Emma is to many people and the fact that they have noticed a change in her personality and behaviour. She also refers back to those times before the change in Emma’s recent behaviour.
Emma: I don’t like hearing you say that.
Kathryn: It makes you feel sad.
Emma: Yeah, kinda. I’m just a bit confused at the moment. My head doesn’t feel as if it’s in a good place. I guess I’m struggling a bit.
Kathryn: I’m getting the feeling that you are finding life a bit challenging at the moment.
That is tough. I know we haven’t seen as much of each other recently but how would you feel about meeting up a bit more regularly …you know, just for a chat?
Emma: That would be good. I don’t particularly want to go out to the pub but a walk would be nice. Be good to catch up. I feel a bit disconnected from all of you at the moment.
Kathryn: We do miss you. A walk sounds brilliant. How about next Saturday morning – I’ll come round to yours. Haven’t seen your mum for ages either.
Emma: As long as you do not mention any talk about bloody eating disorders with her.
Kathryn: It’ll be good for us to chat, Em. See you Saturday.
Again, Kathryn uses complex reflections, as she responds carefully to Emma. She is careful not to ask too many questions at this point and certainly backs away from talk about eating disorders. Instead, she empathizes with Emma’s struggles. She then asks her how she would feel about meeting up more often. Emma responds to this positively, on her terms, i.e. a walk as opposed to pub meeting. She chooses to ignore Emma’s comment regarding an eating disorder talk, instead again affirming how good it will be to meet up for a chat.