Making friends at school EB

If you're struggling and need support, our DEBRA EB Community Support Team are here to help during office hours. Please phone DEBRA Membership and Community Support on 01344 771961 and select Option 1.

You can also ask about any Member events (currently virtual) or opportunities to talk/meet other people living with EB. You may also find the members tips, stories & more page useful and reassuring.


Feeling different to other people

Living with EB is not always easy and might mean you feel different to other people or that you cannot do all the things your friends can do.

Although you might feel like you look different to your friends and family, or your EB is more of a hidden disability, remember that everyone is different. No two people are exactly the same. It’s one of the fantastic things about human beings. We all have to be different; don’t let EB be the focus of your identity. Explore your strengths to encourage you to feel more well-rounded and confident.

We all look different. We all like different things. We are all unique!

Although you and your friends and family are not all alike, you will like and enjoy a lot of the same things.

Sometimes, worrying about how you look or how other people might act can affect how you feel about yourself. It can mean you feel less confident and then act in an embarrassed, shy or worried way when you meet people. You might even avoid seeing new people as you are worried they will stare, say mean things to you or not understand why you cannot join in with some activities.

No-one is perfect

Everyone has differences or things they don’t like about themselves – these might be scars or blisters, wearing bandages or dressings, one leg shorter than the other or one eye bigger or a very small little toe! We all feel self-conscious at times and worry about how we look.

You might find that looking different isn’t easy sometimes and you might have good days or bad days. EB poses challenges that your peers may not face but there are some tips and suggestions that can help you to deal with these. Remember, sometimes it’s OK to not be OK; sometimes we need some 'time out' and sometimes we need to ask for help in dealing with our feelings. See the Helplines and services available section below for more help if you need it.


Making friends and fitting in at school

Getting to know one another and making friends begins with looking and being looked at. Curiosity and looking is natural when someone new arrives; we look more and for longer when someone’s appearance is different.

The other children at your nursery or school are likely to look carefully, perhaps with surprise and interest at you. Some younger children may be curious as to why you wear bandages, have blisters or scars, are in a wheelchair or unable to wear the same school uniform as them. Others may ask a question, or they might look away because they are not sure how to respond.

If these expressions of interest and visual contact are discouraged, you could be at risk of finding it harder in the long run to join in and make friends. It is important to understand from a young age that if a small child is staring or asking a question, they are most likely not being rude but curious.

You should feel empowered to talk about your EB. It can be helpful to rehearse what you may say if someone is staring or if they ask what is wrong with your skin. For example, “I was born with skin that blisters really easily – you can’t catch it from me.”


If you are being bullied

According to the website, most people understand bullying as behaviour by an individual or group, repeated over time, which is intended to hurt another individual or group either physically or emotionally. If you are struggling with bullying, harassment, cyberbullying or anti-social behaviour issues related to EB, we hope this resource will enable you to identify solutions and remedies along with practical help.

What you can do

Practice scenario-based responses so that you have the words/actions necessary to stand up to bullying. Sometimes educating people about EB will encourage them to be more accepting of everyone's differences.

Know your resources and where you can get help. Ignoring bullying won’t make it go away. You need to tell someone about what is happening.

You could try the body language tool or download a mindfulness app to help reduce anxiety (e.g. CalmHeadspace).

If you are really struggling

Sometimes people can find it really hard to cope. You might need to get help if you are:

  • Very unhappy or you don’t want to go anywhere or see anyone
  • Not sleeping properly or having nightmares a lot
  • Feeling like there is something wrong with you or worrying a lot about how you look

Don’t struggle on your own – tell your parents, carers or your teacher. Ask them to get in touch with your DEBRA EB Community Support Manager who will able to support you in finding the right help and support.

Bullying at school

If the bullying is happening at school – talk to your parents or carers and your teacher. Your teacher may have no idea that you are being bullied, and the school will have an anti-bullying policy to tackle it.

Schools must also follow anti-discrimination law. This means staff must act to prevent discrimination, harassment and victimisation within the school. This applies to all schools in England and Wales and most schools in Scotland. Northern Ireland is mainly covered by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; visit for more information.

If you feel you can’t speak to your teacher, maybe a friend can do it for you. You can also speak to a school counsellor, welfare officer, your EB nurse or your DEBRA EB Community Support Manager.

Bullying outside of school

If the bullying is happening outside school – talk to your parents or carers, close relatives (such as grandparents or aunties and uncles) or even your friend’s parents. Youth workers and leaders may be able to help too.

If the bullying is happening online, tell a trusted adult – your parents, carers or a teacher. You can report abusive posts on Facebook and other social media platforms. You can also report abuse to Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).

Keep reporting the bullying until it stops. It may not stop the first time you tell your parents or teacher and they try to stop it. If the bullying continues, tell them again.

Bullying can be considered a hate crime. To learn more about reporting bullying as a hate crime, please visit the Stop Disability Hate Crime page by Disability Rights UK.


Helplines and services available

If you are in need of urgent support you can contact:

  • The Samaritans on 116 123 (freephone)
  • Childline on 0800 11 11
  • NHS 
  • NHS 111 Service – call 111 when it’s less urgent than a 999 call but you need healthcare information

In an emergency go to your local Accident & Emergency (A&E) department or call 999 for an ambulance.


Speak to your DEBRA EB Community Support Manger for 1:1 support and advice and for someone will be here to listen to your concerns. Your support manager can also:

  • help with referrals and signposting to other services;
  • assist with coming to schools, universities and places of work to educate others on living with EB; and
  • put you in touch with others also living with EB through video calls and group chats.


If you're under 19 you can confidentially call, email or chat online about any problem big or small:

The Mix

If you're under 25 you can talk to The Mix for free on the phone, by email or on their webchat. You can also use their phone counselling service or get more information on support services you might need.

Changing faces

Contact the Support and Information Line to talk to someone for confidential support. This service is open to adults, children, parents and families Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.

Student Space

Student Space offers listening support, information and signposting services for students.

For a full list of education resources, please visit our Resources & toolkit page.


Stories from the EB Community

DEBRA would love to hear about your stories and tips for dealing with others who are not being kind so we can share them to help others. Remember, our Community Support Managers are really keen to work alongside you to help to resolve any problems you may be experiencing – however big or small, so do get in touch.

Telling others about my EB helped me to make friends

When I started secondary school a lot of my friends didn’t move to the same school, so I felt very alone and scared. I didn’t want to go to school because I look different and have lots of blisters and scars and have to wear dressings.

The other girls in my class would be nasty to me and call me names. I felt embarrassed and sad as I didn’t want to be different. I told my Mum, who was sad for me, so she contacted DEBRA and spoke to my support manager for advice. She was very kind and helpful and talked to me about how she could help. She contacted my school and went to visit some of the teachers and staff to talk about my EB.

She left lots of leaflets and a poster. My teacher talked to my class about EB after this. Since then, I feel a lot happier and have made two really best friends who don’t care about my EB and that I have blisters.

– DEBRA Member

High school is better than when I was at primary school

I would like to share with you what I went through whilst at primary school. I found this period of my life a challenging time, with not only fellow pupils making me feel as though I am ‘different’ due to the way that I look but assistant teachers that I worked closely with, too.

After speaking to the school about my concerns, I disappointingly did not receive adequate support and I wish that there were more resources available for people to understand my condition.

I have now moved onto high school and I am having a totally different, more positive experience and everyone is very nice to me.

– DEBRA Member

EB doesn’t define me

I have learnt throughout my life that EB doesn’t define me and I have achieved many things I am proud of during my 60 years, the best achievements being my 4 beautiful children.

My advice to anyone facing bullying of any form is that real friends will stick by you, your EB is only skin deep and throughout life people will get to know you for the person you are from within.

– DEBRA Member

Visit our Member tips, stories & more page for more stories from the EB Community.


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