The Luv Doc: Emotional Meltdown
It's almost always the molehill
Dear Luv Doc,
My college roommate relocated to Austin in June with her company and, at my suggestion, moved into my apartment complex. Even though we aren't sharing a room, she might as well be living with me for all the time she spends in my apartment complaining about her job/boyfriend/life. She is constantly in crisis mode because everything is a crisis. It really is getting to be exhausting. Yesterday she was at my door crying because her boyfriend didn't notice her haircut. I'm sorry, but some dude not noticing a haircut is not worth two hours of anyone's day, definitely not mine. It would be one thing if this were a rare occurrence, but this is every day. Yesterday, she needed to "process" her phone call with her mother. The day before, she thought her cat was getting diabetes. So here's my question: How do I get her to stop coming to me every time she has an emotional meltdown? Or better yet, how do I keep her from having emotional meltdowns?
– Buying Earplugs
Goddammit, I hate being put in the position of having to argue for moderation. Moderate people never do keg stands. Moderate people never attempt embarrassingly bad dance moves. Moderate people never say, "Yes! I will mud wrestle!" Moderate people never say, "Hold my beer while I attempt this triple Lindy." Nobody ever said, "I wonder how many reasonable, moderate people I can invite to my party."
I have said on numerous occasions that emotions are the spice of life, but I think everyone can agree that if you overspice everything all the time, you miss out on a lot of wonderful subtlety. The road of life can't always be one long Vegas Strip. You need a rest stop every once in a while. You need a place where you can throw a rolled-up diaper in the trash can, stretch your legs and think, "Meh, I'd rather get back in the car with those screeching demons and the rank odor of stale Cheez-Its."
In life you have to keep moving forward. Crises stop you in your tracks. Unfortunately, like ghosts, crises are all around you if you believe in them. The beauty of the human mind is its ability to extrapolate to amazing degrees and complexities. Like this column, for instance. Regarding your question, I could just say, "Tell your ex-roomie to back the fuck off and chill the fuck out." But no, I have to meander all over the place to make a simple point.
Similarly, a small thing like a boyfriend not noticing a haircut could be a simple act of omission or a symptom of a vast and all-encompassing malaise. Which is it? The mountain, or the molehill? In a larger, universal sense, it's almost always the molehill. Like 99 times out of 100. That's why we have friends: to keep us humble.
So, to answer your question, remind your friend that no matter how important she is to you, she will always be a mole as long as the molehills get in her way. If you remind her of this regularly, there is a pretty good chance she will stop coming around at all. Problem solved.