What Do You Do With the Downer Friend?

I don't know how to navigate a friendship like this anymore.

What do you do when you realize a close friend has become a constant source of negativity and just a straight up downer?

I have this friend - let's call her Jane. Every time I see or text with Jane, she complains. No matter what's going on in her life, there's something to complain about: her husband, her kids, her parents, money, work, etc. Of course I have complaints of my own, and the same desire to vent but Jane’s problems are worse. Whatever the topic is, the downer friend always has a Bigger Worse Problem.

But the thing is, things for Jane things really aren't that bad. She has help with her kids. She has professional help around the house. As someone who doesn't have these same advantages, it's hard for me to understand how things are still terrible. Its not jealousy, or maybe part of it is, but the constant negativity can be hard to take.

I've offered suggestions and advice about things, for years. Some friends will take advice or have a conversation to try to improve their situation but the downer friend usually swats it away and offers many excuses. It’s almost as if they enjoy being miserable for some inexplicable reason.

I never want to diminish someone’s feelings or look selfish and I want to be the shoulder to cry on for my friends, but it’s hard to be supportive when it’s always the same problems.

I know what you're thinking, what's the point of this friendship? But it didn't start out this way. It's evolved over time with our major life changes. And truth be told I don't know how to navigate a friendship like this anymore. Do I try to cut things off? I don't want to, but I'm not sure what to do anymore. What do you do when a friend is a constant downer?




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Cassandra is a mom of a sassy 5 year old daughter and a 1 year old son. Her life is a constant battle between the gym and junk food. She will never give up chocolate. Or sugar. Her chocolate chip cookies are locally renowned and enjoyed. She loves writing, reading with her feet up and when her daughter goes to bed without a fight. She is opinionated, often sarcastic and has knack for remembering more movie lines and Simpsons quotes than anyone has any use for. She has a personal blog https://cassandrascrimgeour.wordpress.com/ and can be found on Twitter @cassandystweets & Instagram @cassandyspics