When To Stop Complaining

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Dear Dr. Darcy:

My girlfriend and I just broke up, but I’m not writing you about that.  I’m writing you about my friends or so-called friends who have become fairly unavailable to me since the breakup.  An acquaintance of ours told me last night that they can’t stand hearing about my drama anymore.  Ugh! They didn’t even tell me directly! I had to hear it from someone outside of our circle.  So what am I supposed to do? Am I never supposed to complain to my friends again? Or is it time to find new friends?

ANSWER

It’s your choice. If you don’t feel like using this as an opportunity to look in the mirror and improve yourself, dump the friends and find a new group.  But if you’re out of college, it can be really difficult to find a new group at the drop of a hat. And I’m not so sure that this won’t prove to be a pattern: Friends backing off when your inner negativity is dialed up too high.

You've passed pleasantly neurotic and are now sucking the life out of your friends. Positive people attract positive friends. Positive people want to discuss funny things, entertaining things or even positive and exciting things. They do not want to hear endlessly about your problems, your doom and gloom outlook on your future, and they do not want to expend endless amounts of energy trying to lift you up.  It’s too much work, and it’s an unreasonable expectation.

The ratio for talking about positive vs. negative topics should be at least 5-1, and ideally higher on the positive side.  It takes a lot of positivity to counter the energy suck of negativity. And if you’re not countering it enough, you will repel any positive people from your life.

Want to alienate yourself from your crew? Keep using them in lieu of a shrink. And I've got news for you: There are some shrinks who don't tolerate circuitous complaining.  I'm one of them.

Writer’s stats: Female, Lesbian.