Chit Chat

How do you tell someone "you're too much of a downer, don't talk to me"?

JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA member
2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
edited February 2015 in Chit Chat
I know that, in reality, you DON'T tell someone that.

But I have a certain friend who messages me on Facebook and I always DREAD it. He always has some horrible drama to discuss (his life is super rough) but it's just so DRAINING. Hey, I'm sorry that your stepdad beat your mother, I'm sorry that your dad died, I'm sorry that your wife divorced you...but I really don't have the emotional capacity to hear about this either!

We don't even know each other that well! We just met through a mutual friend and friend'd each other and he will "like" my photos sometimes but we've never actually hung out and I wouldn't actually consider us "friends".

I keep hoping that he'll eventually realize that we don't really know each other and he'll lose interest in venting to me, but nope. It's been going on for about three years now.

Do any of you have a clingy depressed acquaintance and can relate to my struggle?

Re: How do you tell someone "you're too much of a downer, don't talk to me"?

  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    Yeah.  The friend I'm thinking of actually is one of my closest friends though and has real mental health issues.  So sometimes I have to tell her, "I think you are having a depressive episode right now and you should call your doctor."

    If it was somebody I didn't know nearly as well... I mean.... can you just give him sporadic one-word answers?  What about always waiting a couple hours or a day to message him back?  I understand you don't want to totally ignore him, but if you engage him in realtime conversation, he'll keep talking.

    I turned off my Facebook chat for this reason.  I only get messages, no instant chats, and you can't see when I read your messages.  I flat out ignore some people.
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  • This is not necessarily the same but I had a college friend I lost touch with who would always text me or fb message me and it would just say "hey". And if I replied it would just turn into an extremely long awkward one-sided woe is me convo about how he lives so far away and misses college and couldn't take a hint when I wanted to end the convo. Eventually I just stopped replying. It sucks bc on fb they can see that you read the message but oh well. That would be my advice, especially since it seems like you're not close friends so it won't matter if he's offended.
  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    @JCbride2015: I usually do just "accidentally" forget to reply to him. Whoops. But at least he often starts off with a benign "hey what's up?" so I feel less bad for not replying.
  • If you know the "hey what's up?" is a segway for drama talk, I would just jot respond right away.

    Sometimes people are just too negative. Its not a bad thing to put a limit on how much you can take.
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  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Yep. I've been friends with a guy like this since I was 18. He actually decided not to show up to my wedding, and we've barely spoken since.

    I never knew had to tell him that he was such a downer. I pretty much just suffered.
  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    edited February 2015
    @JCbride2015: I usually do just "accidentally" forget to reply to him. Whoops. But at least he often starts off with a benign "hey what's up?" so I feel less bad for not replying.
    Just don't.  Or wait a few hours/ the next day and then give a very short answer (if you feel compelled to say something).
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  • Recently a guy friended me on FB that I had worked with in HS.  

    Then, EVERY time I would log onto Facebook from anywhere he would see me online and send me a chat "Hey".  I turned off my chat on all my devices, haven't had a message from him since.

    I'm not sure if seeing you online has to do with sending you messages....

    Hope you get it worked out!
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  • I feel like if you're not incredibly close to this person, then it might not be worth it to call him out on it. I'd just try to limit contact, personally, but I'm also a coward sometimes. Like if you see him contacting you, you're not actually obligated to respond.
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  • I have an acquaintance like this. I refer to him as Chicken Little, because the sky is always falling. 

    I don't get the impression that he's legitimately depressed, so I really just deflect or sympathize. That seems to be what he's seeking anyway. 
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  • I hate when this happens! I am currently in social work school. As soon as a few people found out its like I opened the floodgates to tell me all of your problems.  I have had to set boundaries in the past with friends who constantly struggled by saying that I am not equipped to handle the severity of these issues, and that I would feel better if they sought help from a professional. 


     If I were you, I would do two things. First, turn off the chat feature on your Facebook. If he only contacts you using Facebook to vent or complain, the messages should stop. If the person actually sends messages AFTER you turn off the chat feature, then you take it a step further by saying that you feel like you aren't equipped to handle this, and that he should try to seek professional help. 
  • anjemonanjemon Minnie and Paul (MN) member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    I have a friend like this, although she's a really good friend. She's just had a rough couple of years and moved (for a job) to an area where she doesn't really know anyone. But sometimes she just get so negative and we get in this circle of talking about the same thing and why it sucks. So I've learned to just be like "No. That's not gonna happen" or "I feel like you're just looking at it negatively". It's hard because a lot of this stuff is sucky/hard to deal with. But we can only talk about it so many times. It's hard. Good luck!
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  • KatieinBklnKatieinBkln (NO SLEEP TIL) Brooklyn! member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer First Anniversary
    I agree with @lolo883. Sometimes you have to put it out there. "Hey, I enjoyed meeting you at [X event] and you seem like a good person, so I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I am really not equipped to help you with the problems you've been experiencing. You deserve a friend who can give you the support you need, and perhaps a professional to help you cope with these horrible things that are happening to you. I am sorry that I can't be either person for you."

    After that you kind of just have to cut off contact and ignore him. It isn't super fun, and you'll probably feel bad about it, but truly, he's not even close to you and choosing you as a person to vent to is inappropriate. It's a cry for help, but you aren't the right one to offer it. By making this clear, hopefully you can clear a path for him to get the real help he needs. 

    In my opinion, just ignoring it without saying something to that effect will only enable him to keep dumping on you.
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  • My FMIL is like this. She used to text my Mom and do the whole "woe is me" and "I'm the victim" and "my life sucks" thing 24/7 before my Mom told her to stop texting her because she couldn't handle the negativity in her life. I also had to unfriend FMIL because she was always commenting on all of my posts and trying to deflect attention to how bad her life was and that plus her "woe is me" status updates so I unfriended her and she has sent me like 10 friend requests since then. FI is not even fb friends with her either so he told her to stop sending friend requests.

    In other words, I would put my foot down one way or another. "Not equipped to handle this" seems like a good way to start it.

  • MadHops21MadHops21 Buried in blankets member
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer
    I currently have a friend like this. He has some messed up thoughts. I suggested a therapist and he thought I was calling him crazy and got super upset at me and fighting with me and yelling at me. I can't suggest therapy to him anymore, but he obviously needs it. 

    It's sad because I actually care for him, but I can't continue our friendship because he's just so depressing (he sends me snapchats of his eye and some sad one liner..like he's crying...wtf.). 

    I'm sorry, but if you're more emotional than me, I can't help you. I need sturdy friends, like FI. He's my rock and tells me when I'm crazy. I can't handle another person who's emotional and crazy, even more than my level. 
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