Over time, she noticed that there were fewer welcome mats at the doors of those friends and that her phone conversations and e-mail correspondence had diminished considerably. I suggested that she explore this development with a few close friends in an effort to discover whether she might obtain useful feedback about why friends appeared to be keeping their distance.
Her inquiry revealed that indeed, friends were shying away because Marsha had become a “downer” whose constant expressions of gloom and despair had led to social consequences. Friends told her that she had gotten too “heavy” for them and that they wished that she would work on her issues primarily in her therapy and not during nights out with friends.
We all know people who seem mired in their misery and appear unable or unwilling to free themselves from their despair. They are the friends, family or co-workers who appear to be over focused on their problems, grievances, and the conditions that make them unhappy. While their life complaints may be valid and legitimate, they are all about what is wrong and seem to have “woe is me” as their theme song throughout life.