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My best friend, Terry, has gotten very, very whiney lately and does nothing but complain all the time. I don’t know what’s gotten into her! We are both in our mid-40’s, and we have been best friends since college. We’ve been through so many things together such as my divorce a little over 3 years ago, and I was there for her when she lost her sister to cancer 5 years ago. We have walked through thick and thin together. Terry has been divorced from a short marriage for several years, and her most recent boyfriend of 2 years, Tim, just broke it off with her. I know she is unhappy with her life. Terry recently changed jobs and moved to a different bank, and she is completely unhappy with the move. I know she has had her share of disappointments lately, but she is getting more and more difficult to be around. I am trying to be a loyal friend, but Terry is really bringing me down. After we spend time together, she is so whiney about everything that I leave in a bad mood. I don’t know what to do – please help!
Signed – Hands Up in Harrisburg
Hopefully this is just a bad phase Terry is going through, and it sounds like it is a difficult season in her life, which we all have. I know with the ups and downs of our close friendships and relationships – it’s a juggling act. We often find it tough finding a balance between being there through thick and thin and being forthright and honest when too much whining and continual pity parties set in.
I think under these circumstances, since it has become so difficult for you to want to spend time with her, you need to just casually say to Terry, “Can we talk about something?” Wait until you get her attention and say, “I am concerned. You seem very negative and probably unconsciously don’t realize it. I am concerned about your wellbeing.” I would suggest to Terry that she have a heart to heart with you, as her best friend, about the things that are bothering her. And, also suggest she consider scheduling time with a professional or someone whom she can talk to about this. Sometimes a professional can help with setting goals and suggesting ways to make her life more positive. Sometimes feedback from a professional with no emotional stake in the friendship is very helpful – for both of you.
This may shock Terry as she may not even realize how much she is complaining about everything. Please be sure to tell Terry you are not judging her, and you really want to help because you care. Give her time and see whether things change and if she actually gets some help to talk out what is troubling her.
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