I recently moved to a new city and found an apartment with an acquaintance from high school. My roommate is generally conscientious, clean, and quiet. Our living patterns mesh pretty well. However, she’s a grade A bummer—I’ve never met anyone with a more negative outlook on life. If I tell her a story about my day, she will find a way to pull out the most negative aspect and complain about how she hates that thing. If we’re talking about a hobby, she’ll go on about how she’s so bad at it she might as well give up. If I thank her for sharing her cooking with me, she’ll talk about how she cooked it wrong and now it tastes terrible. Even silence isn’t proof against her negativity; she’ll often pipe up with bombs like “I don’t think I can feel feelings anymore!” which is hard to ignore. Being constantly super cheerful around her is exhausting, and asking her to change anything leads to such a torrent of hand-wringing and agonized apologies that I don’t think being direct with her is possible. How can I set boundaries with her without those boundaries becoming another source of performative angst? How can I enjoy my time at home with Eeyore moping around in the kitchen?
—Living With a Rain Cloud