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Compassion fatigue is real and you have it LW. Take care of you.

Dear Prudence,

I’m tired of my friends. In the past couple of years, I’ve noticed that more often than not, I can’t think of one person who is refueling or fun to be around or speak to. I dread phone calls because I know that I’ll be subjected to an hour or more of sad-sack monologuing. “Keeping up” with my friends by text feels like a chore. I know that life is hard and tragic, but I feel like all I do is try to come up with creative ways to phrase the same, “I’m so sorry, that sucks so much” refrain 10 different times throughout the day.

I’m known among my friends as a kind/loyal person and a good listener, and honestly, that’s starting to bother me. I’m also funny, acerbic, and smart and have lots of opinions on pop culture, literature, and current events—but they all fall to the wayside so I can “comfort” people over and over again about their bad relationships, depression, anxiety, chronic health issues, etc. I understand that many of these people are genuinely suffering, and I feel guilty for feeling this way behind the empathetic listening ear I present. I also get that it’s easier to update people on the “big issues” when your friends are long-distance (most of my friends are out of state). I moved to a new city two years ago and have tried relentlessly to go out and meet people, but the most I’ve succeeded in doing is collecting a handful of “activity partners” that I’m not particularly close to. Is there anyone out there who is having a good, or even just OK time? Will I ever get to talk about books or reality TV or that one weird Atlantic hot take, or am I doomed to a life of being a bottomless, trauma receptacle? For context, I have chronic fatigue and my own mental health issues. I’ve heard that “compassion fatigue” isn’t real, but this doesn’t feel sustainable. How can I keep my friends and my sanity without losing even more spoons than I already have?

—Surrounded By Eeyores

Re: Compassion fatigue is real and you have it LW. Take care of you.

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    The LW should initiate the conversations they want to have.  Not right after someone just texted a sad occurrence, of course.  But their own texts that talk about a book they just read and ask their friend their thoughts about the subject matter.  Or ask their friend what book they are reading.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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    LW needs to put some boundaries down for herself with her friends AND start initiating conversations they want to have.  If that doesn't work, start looking for new groups and other friendships.  Pursue other activities with some of the "activity partners" that they might feel interested in.  It's going to take work, but LW gets to choose where their work goes.
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