Are you having a hard time dealing with a moody friend? Here’s something you need to think about if you want to give your friendship a real chance.
Having a moody friend can be quite a challenge. For one, you’re going to need extra patience to handle unpredictable mood swings that may easily ruin an otherwise cheerful environment. In order to preserve your relationship with them, you‘ll have to learn how to deal with a moody friend.
In normal situations, moody people tend to be avoided by others because no one knows when their emotional Russian roulette might fire up.
This constant switch between moods can be stressful to anyone and they would rather find someone else to hang out with instead of dealing with all the drama that follows.
How to handle a moody friend without losing your mind
With friends, it’s a different story. We need to exert some extra effort in understanding their mood swings as a show of support. By knowing the various ways to deal and address a friend’s mood swings, people can improve their friendship and even help them manage it.
#1 Keep your calm and carry on. When a moody friend has constant shifts in emotional states, it can sometimes trigger a negative reaction which can be anywhere between annoyance, anger, or frustration. Letting these take over you won’t help you or your already agitated friend which is why it’s important to always practice being calm when your friend lapses into their mood swings to be able to handle the situation effectively.
#2 Don’t take their sudden mood shifts personally. A friend’s mood swings should not be taken personally. For one, it will help you keep calm to effectively address their behavior later on and most importantly, your friend’s moodiness isn’t likely caused by something you did.
Keep in mind that moody people themselves sometimes don’t understand their own feelings so it’s better not to take it against them.
#3 Learn to read between moods. A friend’s mood swings usually have specific triggers which you will eventually recognize the more time you spend with them.
Recognizing what these triggers are will allow you to know when to give your friend some space to process their emotions, as well as to give you training experience in calming your friend down in case the situation gets out of control.
#4 Ask what’s wrong instead of telling them. The act of asking is a gesture that’s always related to empathy. If you ask a friend “what’s wrong?” you exude an image of concern and understanding compared to telling them an insensitive statement such as “what you’re feeling or doing is wrong”. Doing the latter invalidates their feelings and makes them less likely to open up and listen to what you might have to say to them later on.
#5 Learn when to give your friend some space. Some moods, especially the aggressive and violent ones are best to be given some time to dissipate instead of attempting to reason them out of your friend’s system while they’re in the moment.
On top of the risk of conflict from continuing to attempt to talk to them while in such moods, people will need a bit of a cool down period after a mood swing in order to be receptive to reasoned conversation.
#6 Give your friend a change of scenery. A fit of blues or crankiness can be washed away by something simple as a quick walk and talk or by something a bit more adventurous like an overnight road trip to a place you’ve never visited before.
Changing the scenery allows you to hijack the emotions associated with their mood swings. By taking your friend to a different environment, the change in scenery would balance out their current mood and bring them in a state of calm.
#7 Disengage if necessary, but make it a point to reach out afterwards. There are certain moods that aren’t easy to endure even if the person is your best friend. In these cases, it is fine to shy away, disengage, and let your friend go through with their mood swings.
However, always make it a point to reach out again after the cool down period. This way, your friend will feel that there is someone who’s giving out effort to understand and see beyond their moodiness.
#8 Have a serious conversation to help give them perspective on their emotions. Talking is a simple yet powerful tool that can help your friend get in terms with their emotions. Start by catching your moody friend in a good mood that will facilitate a relaxed atmosphere where a mature conversation can be held.
Ask them questions in a calm and friendly tone and let them feel that you want to understand what they are going through without judgement. From there, talk less and start to listen more. You will be surprised how your moody friend will open up to you and how they will appreciate gesture of genuine concern.
#9 Confront them alone and not with a group. For sure, a moody person will be infamous amongst a group of friends and will be most likely to be the usual topic of conversation. Even if your group of friends share the same sentiment towards that moody friend, you might want to be careful about the idea of talking to the person as a group.
Doing this will give the impression that you’re ganging up on the person and it will put the person on the spot. In addressing these sensitive matters, it is best to talk to your moody friend alone as a sign of respect and consideration.
#10 Offer to keep them in check. If they’re the type that cannot effectively regulate their emotions, you as a friend can offer your services by keeping them in check once you start to recognize that they’re lapsing into mood swings.
You can simply tell them that they’re “beginning to overreact” or remind them of a previous mood swing that you’ve already talked about and have come to terms with. With your training wheels, your moody friend might learn how to process their feelings effectively before it spirals out of their control.
#11 Be frank and honest with them. Not all people are gifted with the patience, tact, and understanding to be able to stay friends with a moody person. If this is the case, it is best to be straightforward and honest with your friend on the amount of moodiness you can handle and on where you draw your boundaries.
You can tell them that you may need some distance if things get too heated or too heavy for you to handle and there will be times that you might feel triggered as well. This way, you set expectations and show them the consequences of their behavior to your friendship.
#12 Recognize and be wary of the signs of manipulation. There are some people who use moodiness as a way to manipulate the people around them. A sudden burst of anger can let them intimidate another person to get what they want, while they can also feign extreme depression to get the sympathy of onlookers.
While we want to extend further sympathy and understanding to a moody friend, it is also essential not to fall prey to such manipulative behaviors.
#13 Open the idea of professional help. If your friend’s constant mood swings are at a level that they’re interfering or impeding their personal, professional, and social life, it might be high time to open up the idea of professional help. You may be a good listener but trained professionals such as counselors and therapists are well equipped with skills that can provide concrete and lasting solutions for your moody friend.
Note that some people may not be easily receptive to the idea at first but with further support in finding professional resources for them or accompanying them in their first session, they might be more agreeable to the idea of seeking professional help.
#14 If all hope is lost, it might be best to part ways. In the end, there is only so much that a good friend can offer. You can’t risk shouldering all the stress of having to clean up after your friend’s emotional mess if continued and varied attempts to address the problem won’t yield significant results.
In such situations, it is best to know when to stop trying to help such a friend if they aren’t showing effort to help themselves.
#15 In the end, your own well-being must come first. After all, you have needs too. If you’re sacrificing your own personal well-being to try to help a friend who’s not even interested to change, it is better to let that friend go. Like what they say in airplane safety demonstrations, help yourself first before attempting to help others.
In normal situations people tend to avoid moody people because they’re quite difficult to deal with. With friends however, we somewhat owe it to them to try to extend some extra effort in understanding and keeping up with their mess of emotions.
Staying friends with a moody person requires a special set of skills that allow you to address their behavior in ways that won’t take a toll on your relationship.But if your moody friend is making your life miserable, perhaps it’s time to let them go.