My friend unloads her anxiety on me, and now I feel drained | Dear Mariella
Discord is rife, emotions are volatile and people need kindness, but you need to protect yourself too, says Mariella Frostrup
The dilemma My former colleague, who became a friend, has always been a little self-centered. Once we stopped working together, I accepted the lopsided nature of our relationship, because I found her fun and we shared the experience of being immigrants navigating British work environments.
We no longer work together but, twice weekly, we share a co-working space that I use to change up my environment and help my mental health. She had a serious mental health setback during lockdown and is, understandably, having a really hard time. She seeks me out to unload on: how unfair she thinks her colleagues are; how they don’t appreciate her; how anxious she is about the pandemic and politics, etc. It’s become less about having conversations and more about listening to an exhausting monologue.