I recently became more closely acquainted with someone that I have known for a while. She is a very sweet person. Really sweet. She is older, probably about 15 years older than me. She tends to be forgetful and will repeat stories, events, etc., that she has already told me. And she is a world class worrier.
After spending more time with her, I realize that she is one of those people who is a positive energy black hole. No matter how much support or positive feedback or ego boosting I try to give her, she will continue to worry and fret. She rehashes negative things that have happened to her (which have happened and make me sad or mad for her). I always try to be upbeat around her and shore up her confidence, but I’ve come to realize that while it doesn’t fall on deaf ears, it doesn’t have any positive effect on her.
I also realize that it is having a negative effect on me. It’s tiring to have someone around who sucks any positive energy out of a situation by worrying about what negative thing could happen. And hearing the same sad stories repeatedly is also draining. I’ve begun to dread spending time with her and that makes me sad as well.
What can I do? I want to politely say, “I’m sorry for all the negative things that have happened in your life. I wish things had been better for you, and I hope things will be good for you going forward. I just feel drained every time we talk, because I spend a lot of time feeling sad or mad for you and that is not how I want our relationship to affect me.”
And then what? What can I say to maintain the friendship but not have it drain me? Any ideas?
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