Increasing Self-Esteem/How Can I Help My Friend


We used to be best friends, but drifted apart. Now, we don't see each other as often. He is a very private, skittish person and has a problem opening up to people. He is the sweetest person in the world but has closed off more and more over the years. The last few times I've seen him I've noticed his teeth have basically rotted away. His whole family has this issue and it finally caught up with him. Dental care was never really taught or taken care of growing up. He was very poor and his family felt they couldn't afford dentists. As an adult he works hard and has a nice place to live, but lacks any confidence whatsoever.

I have had many dental problems and understand the expense or in some cases not wanting to pull teeth. However, it will effect his confidence and success in work and love (he has given up on dating altogether). I want him to be healthy and happy. His teeth are almost gone, very little chance they could be saved they are practically nubs. How can I address and encourage him without hurting his feelings. Any ideas?


Hi Marlyma,

Your friend is lucky to have someone like you as a friend who care so much about his well-being!

I agree that bad teeth can lessen anyone's self-confidence. Unfortunately, there is no way you can bring some issues to his attention without hurting his feelings. You can certainly be kind and tell him as gently as possible, however, it's hard to say how much it will affect him. The truth is that personal hygiene is extremely important for everyone. If he doesn't take care of himself at this basic level, there is little chance for any other form of self-improvement.

The only way you can even begin any sensitive subject is to start slowly and see how he reacts. You will be able to tell how far into it you should go by how he responds and by his body language. If you are met with great resistance you will have to try again another time, but don't give up. This will not be easy because there are obviously many years of a negative self-image to break through. You say that he works hard. If he gives as good of an effort to self-care and improvement, he can go far.

All the best to you!

Increasing Self-Esteem

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Zorka Hereford


I can answer questions pertaining to a healthy self-concept, personal development and how to think critically about your life choices.


I've written a book "9 Essential Life Skills - A Guide for Personal Development and Self-Realization". I worked a combined twenty years for a top financial institution and a number one communications company where I acquired excellent leadership and training and development skills.

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Visit my website at to read my many personal development articles.

I've obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree with studies in philosophy and psychology as well as a college Business Management Diploma.

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