How do you tell an overly dramatic and bizarre friend to snap out of it?
June 20, 2008 6:46 AM   Subscribe

How to handle a very "different" and overly dramatic friend?

She's super sweet and thinks of me like a sister but holy cow, is she out there and usually overly dramatic about everything.

We went to a CGI movie with animals. One of the animals got shot in the ass. She threw a fit for 1/2 hour as if someone got beheaded. I had to calm her down by telling her no cartoon animal has ever died by getting shot in the ass.

During gaming she brings with her this little statue that she constantly strokes and provides "offerings" to it. It's not a religious statue by any means.

Any simple conversation that someone would have usually gets extended into a 3 hour, detailed tome into some sort of dreamy, metaphysical, very LOTR-like tale that makes your eyes roll.

If you ever have seen the SNL with Will Farrell and Rachel Dratch do the "Lovahhhh" skit, that's EXACTLY how she and her husband are except he's still more grounded and realistic than she is.

I once made a blue joke in a group email that her husband's sister was on. She scolded me saying I had to watch it because his little sister was on the email. His "little" sister is entering college and is by no means some religious, sensitive- ear freak. I then told her, " Well for all you know during her typing of an email reply, she was smoking a bong and participating in an orgy so calm down."

She was abused by her mother and I"m guessing her abuse manifested into fantasy coping methods. But quite frankly, it's annoying as hell.

Do you tell someone like her to snap out of it?
posted by dasheekeejones to Human Relations (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Those things sound like behaviors that irritate you. They do not sound like behaviors that get in the way of her ability to achieve her goals and be happy. If her weirdness makes it impossible for her to keep a job or maintain relationships (she's married, so at least one relationship seems to be able to withstand her oddball-ness), then you might want to think about whether or not it makes sense to talk to her about it. If she's just bugging you personally...

Do you tell someone like her to snap out of it?

NO.

If you can't accept your friend as she is, that's your problem, not hers.
posted by prefpara at 6:58 AM on June 20, 2008


She sounds weird, and you sound uptight.

Either get over it or move on. She's not the one with the problem.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 7:06 AM on June 20, 2008


She can't snap out of it; the things you describe seem to form the bedrock of her entire personality. I'm not sure why you're friends with this person. If you don't like talking to her or being with her (and I don't blame you if you don't, she sounds like a real piece of work) then stop taking her calls and stop hanging out with her.
posted by chowflap at 7:16 AM on June 20, 2008


Trying to change other people is an exercise in futility. However, it does sound like she could benefit from some therapy or something. It's one thing to be weird, it's another to be so ensconced in ones' own fantasyland that you can't have a normal conversation with them.
posted by gjc at 7:23 AM on June 20, 2008


I agree with others here that you should mind your own business. But one way of doing that is to ignore her eccentricities. If they're true parts of her personality, they won't change. If they're ploys for attention -- and from your description, they sound like they might be -- you know the rule: don't give her attention for them. On the other hand, shower her with attention when she's acting "normal."

Next time she freaks out about a special effect, don't say anything. Turn away and talk to another friend. Or, if you're alone with her, say something simple like, "I'm sorry you're upset. I'll give you some space. Let me know if you feel like hanging out later."

IF she's using eccentric behavior to get attention, ANY attention you give her (positive or negative) for that behavior will send her the message that behaving oddly works.

On the other hand, if -- like most of us -- she wants attention and you never give her any at all, she'll probably continue to try wacky stuff (because it probably works with other people). So it's vital that you DO give her attention. If she talks about her stupid boss, or her dog, or the leak in her roof, listen intently and ask her questions. If she talks about hugging trees, politely change the subject. (The way to do this politely is to make a BRIEF comment on whatever she's talking about and THEN change the subject: "Interesting. I've never hugged a tree. Maybe I'm missing out. Speaking of missing out, have you guys seen the new Indiana Jones film?")

But I'm not telling you that you should do this stuff. Honestly, it sounds like you and she just aren't a great match. But if you're insistent on hanging out with her, and if it's vital to you that she quit being such an oddball, this is the only thing I can think of that MIGHT work.

Actually, there's one other thing (which is really another form of the same thing): when I was in college, I was a sort of oddball (some might say I still am). I don't think I did it for attention (though maybe I'm just fooling myself). In fact, I didn't like the way most of my friends responded to my oddness. Most of them either acted really turned off or acted like I was a performing monkey.

But this one girl -- Mary -- just took it in her stride. I'd say something odd, and she's laugh and say, "You're such a freak." Then she'd say, "Hey, you wanna order a pizza?" She was casual about the whole thing, and she disarmed me by turning my freakishness into something mundane. She sent me a clear message that (a) she recognized my eccentricity, (b) it didn't interest her very much, and (c) she still liked me.
posted by grumblebee at 8:03 AM on June 20, 2008 [6 favorites]


I think that there is being weird (which is fine) and being an attention-whore (which drives me insane) and it seems like some of your friend's behavior crosses that line. Her worrying about the blue joke seems fine, reasonable people can disagree about things like that, but the freak-out about the cartoon shooting and the lover stuff and the statue seems like attention-whoring. The bad news is that there is no cure for it that I have ever found (except not hanging out with theater majors). Attention-whores don't hang out with you to hang out with you, they hang out with you because you pay them attention. So, you pay them attention and they keep whoring and if you stop paying them attention then they get pissy and eventually find someone else who will and you will only hear from them when the new person isn't available. If she wants to freak out about a cartoon animal getting shot then that is fine, it is when you feel you have to participate in that nonsense that the problem comes in. So, ignore the dramatics a few times and see what happens. If she is fine with that, then I say be her friend and keep it up. If she insists that you come along for the drama then drop her and hope that she calls you in a few years when she grows up. But don't count on it.
posted by ND¢ at 8:55 AM on June 20, 2008


You mention that you all are gamers, and that she's into LoTR. So, I'm going to guess that the games you play are role-playing games. Right? If so, she doesn't sound all that weird to me. While she's a bit more over the top than a typical gamer, it's not by very much. In fact I've known quite a few people just like her. I'm sure she can't be the only one in your social circle with these tendencies and behaviors. (I for one will not role a die before carefully placing it down with the highest number up. (I'm training the die.) And I will under absolutely no circumstances allow someone else to even touch my dice. Is that any better or different than her statue?)
posted by oddman at 9:02 AM on June 20, 2008


She sounds immature, over stimulated, and thoroughly annoying.

You sound uptight, judgmental, and incapable of being comfortable with anyone who doesn't fit your narrow expectations.

Neither of you sounds right for each other.
posted by wfrgms at 9:08 AM on June 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


we can't change people (and that includes, generally, ourselves, too)
posted by matteo at 10:56 AM on June 20, 2008


Thanks for the comments, even the "my god you're uptight" ones.

I may be uptight but I'm not feeding a statue corn in public at a restaurant. And I do get "eccentricities". I'm a freak at times too (MST3K, Dragoncon, etc). I just dont' go into full blown orgasm over a baby bird in a nest.

Not letting people touch your dice is actually funny. :) I get it.

For her relationships, her husband almost didn't marry her (and they both go into high drama about on and off divorce possibilities) because he said "she's overly dramatic it's unbearable".
posted by dasheekeejones at 11:45 AM on June 20, 2008


Are you exaggerating or does she really turn a simple conversation into a "3 hour" anything? Did she really kvetch for a half hour during the film? I can't read tone through the internet so I don't know if you're exaggerating for effect or not. The email anecdote doesn't seem that outrageous although I can see why you'd find it annoying.

Just seeking some clarification.
posted by Danila at 2:09 PM on June 20, 2008


It is always a mistake to suggest someone is overreacting. People never overreact. They just react to a different set of stimuli than we might.
posted by Flying Squirrel at 3:13 PM on June 20, 2008


Well, I don't think you're uptight. And I pretty much agree with ND¢'s analysis of the situation. Some personalities are not compatible, anyway. This isn't shameful.

I've known people who could have done precisely the things you mention, in exactly the fashion you describe. A few flashed through my head as I read your post. It's totally believable to me that someone would pull this garbage. You don't have to feel uptight for finding certain behaviors annoying. Especially ones as obnoxious as these!

There's no point in telling her what you think of this behavior, though. She probably lives for the reactions she gets, and for the feeling she gets from working herself up into grand emotional states. If your relationship with her is important enough to you (or if it'd be more trouble than it's worth to get into this with her), then you just have to laugh it off. Even if you ever want to disassociate yourself, don't bother confronting her then, either. Because of all that stuff ND¢ said.
posted by Coatlicue at 9:25 PM on June 20, 2008


I think that in a situation where a friend's personality is making you nutso, it always boils down to the same choice (though granted, this situation has an extra helping of nutso). If you think you would like to retain the friendship if your friend cut out a few habits, attempt to talk to her about what those are specifically and why they bother you/make you uncomfortable.

If she's doing them for attention, it's a chance for her to decide if she wants to change to keep the friendship. If she doesn't want to change (or feels she can't), then you move on.
posted by lacedback at 9:11 AM on June 21, 2008


Danila, I'm describing her to a "T".

When I mentioned perhaps we should all go on vacation, she said that "they are water babies, we are forest children."

I lost it (in a 1/2 hour inner laughter sort of way).
posted by dasheekeejones at 4:57 AM on June 22, 2008


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