Dear Catastrophizer -
I've just received a Facebook friend request from someone I really don't like. I worked with her last term and she's not a nice person. Unfortunately I have to start working with her again next week. What should I do?
                                                 - Gil Grissom

I'm not sure I understand your dilemma. Facebook is about driving up the friend numbers and trying to find photos a) taken from angles that make your face not look fat or b) so ironic you'll make former high-school rivals weep with envy. Facebook is not a place that should be complicated with issues of integrity. So accept her friend request and then complain about her behind her back with real friends in person.

That said, it does sound as though your life should be suffocated by a giant shroud of dread. This person sounds genuinely unpleasant and you will be obliged to spend time with her. This presents an interesting opportunity that should be grabbed by both of your non-fat hands. For some reason, which will I do not doubt be discussed at greater length in a future post, other people often find catastrophizers bizarre and tedious. By "often", I mean "always." Catastrophizers are, probably rightly so, viewed as unnecessarily preoccupied by things that are unpleasant to think about. So why not revel in the fact that you do not like this person and treat her to lengthy discussions of upsetting and morbid things?

This egregious person: OH! I can't believe we have so much work to do!

You: You'll think of all of this work with fondness when you're so old and decrepit you're unable to make your own soup.
This egregious person: What a great day this was?

You: Really?! Great? All I could think about was that today brings me one day closer to my inevitable death.  

On a positive note, though, imagine spending time with someone whose opinion you care nothing for. You can be profoundly dull; your face can look entirely fat; your conversation can be graced by not a single witticism. And why should you care? You are lucky enough to be interacting with someone whose Facebook friendship offer you were reluctant to accept. Such people are rare and should be welcomed as periods of calm between the storms of the people whose good opinion you actually crave.

Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough.

Leave a Reply.