Dear Annie: I am a 23-year-old girl, and my best friend, “Natalie,” is my roommate. We have been best friends since childhood and have a strong bond. We went to the same high school, now attend the same college and even studied abroad together.
The problem is, Natalie has a tendency to be a storm cloud of negativity. Even though she has a great boyfriend, lots of good friends, plenty of money and a terrific family, her ability to always focus on the negative is beginning to wear on me.
For 10 years, I have fought my hardest to make her smile no matter what it took. Two months ago, I threw a surprise birthday party for her. She’d been telling me for nearly a year that she couldn’t wait to have a great birthday with her friends away from home. I did my best to prepare everything perfectly and spent a lot of money and energy. But I felt it was worth it for my best friend. Everything seemed to be going perfectly until she began crying at the party. Afterward, I asked her what was going on. She said she wasn’t getting enough attention at the party.
Annie, everyone was fawning all over her the entire night, but somehow it wasn’t sufficient for Natalie. After this, I started to withdraw from her. No matter how hard I try to please her, it’s never good enough. Right now, I don’t want to do anything more for her because it’s too painful. Am I out of line to feel this way? What can I do to make her happy? – Best Friend Forever
Dear BFF: Nothing. Natalie isn’t simply a “storm cloud of negativity,” dear. She’s a bottomless pit of emotional need and sounds a bit self-absorbed, as well. Your efforts will never be good enough. The best thing you can do for her is recommend she get therapy to find out why she is unable to appreciate the good things in her life.
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