Question: I have a friend that is extremely moody and I'm not sure what to do. One day we will be out at a restaurant, eating, talking, having a good time. When the waiter doesn't get the food to us in two minutes flat, she'll do a complete 180 and flip out on him! She then got up and expected me and all of my friends to leave the restaurant with her. When we didn't want to, she threw another fit! Psycho!
I'm all about getting what I want and being high maintenance but she is out of control! Lately, it's been getting worse which is why I am writing. She's always been sort of like that but I find myself avoiding going out in public places with her a lot more now because I never know how she will act. The other night we went to a bar and all the lines to get drinks were so long, she started pushing people so that she can get to the front and almost started a fight and expected all of us to back her up. When we go out, she acts like a 5 year old and we are 20 years older than that! She is a good friend so I can have fun with her and talk to her but one minute she'll be cool, the next she'll go psycho. People have even called her crazy before and told her during arguments that she needs to be medicated. I don't know if we need to go that far but I don't know what to do. She has been wanting to hang out a lot lately but I'm not so sure if I can deal with her being in public. Help, what should I do? (Sacramento, CA)
Social Shrink: Well, I definitely wouldn't want to be afraid to go out with my friends in public and you shouldn't have to either! First of all, does she only do that around you or everyone else? If it's only you, you should look at what you are doing. For example, are you catering to her needs? For example, do you leave a restaurant with her because they aren't up to her standards? Are you backing her up when she throws fits - even if you know she's in the wrong? If you are, then maybe you should set some boundaries with her. You obviously can't control her behavior, but when things get heated in public, tell her to calm down, that the problem is being solved, and no harm, no foul. Let her know there is no use in getting worked up over nothing. She is just setting herself up for a bad time and no one wants that.
If she is like that with everyone else and that is just how she is, then she may be used to getting her way and expects everyone else to cater to her. You need to make sure you and your friends are on the same page - like when everyone jumps to her needs. It's great to have your friends back, but if she goes psycho because her ice cubes are in square and not rectangles at dinner, that is just ridiculous. So if she wants to leave because of that, she can feel free. She may act like you aren't her "girl" or that you "don't have her back," but she is starting unnecessary arguments and expecting everyone else to back her up is selfish. Friends should back support each other but only when it is needed and RATIONAL.
If she continues to create drama in public places for you and your friends, you need to have a private conversation with her about what is going on. Does she need anger management or does she have an anxiety or social anxiety disorder? These are some issues that she may need to look into with a professional. If she tells you she blacks out from anger and loses control and can't remember, then you need to ask her to get help as she may need anger management. She may have anxiety issues as well - if she tells you that she was feeling scared or worried about her food not being there on time and she expressed this by arguing with the waiter, then encourage her to seek help. Also, if she stresses out very easily and cannot take the pressure of crowds, she may have social anxiety issues. You say she may not need to see someone but plenty of people have mental health disorders that they cannot deal with on their own. It seems her issues may delve deeper than you or are more than she can handle. Check out the National Institute of Mental Health for more information.
Let her know what you told us: that you don't want to go out with her in public when she causes drama and goes psycho. Tell her that at her age, she does not need a babysitter and that is how you feel when you go out with her. She may get mad at you but if she was a true friend, she would understand and at least try to calm down. Let her know that if anger or anxiety get to her beyond the times you all go out, that she needs professional help and that you will support her through the process. Good luck!