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An Intervention for My Friend Who’s Done Too Much Therapy

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Dear friend,

We are staging this intervention to inform you that your work in therapy and your subsequently updated communication skills have made you a worse person to be around. This is a formal request for you to halt your “healing journey.”

Stop analyzing my life!

Whether I was complaining about my on-again, off-again situationship or my bootlicking co-worker, you used to simply assure me that they were busted bozos—and I love a roast that sounds like something a cartoon villain might say.

But, since you started unlearning your patterns, you won’t stop theorizing about how Derek’s avoidant-attachment style keeps us in a toxic dynamic of short-term reconciliation. And how the generational divide between me and my co-worker requires patience, owing to our divergent ethics.

Like, yeah, you’re right, but this convo sucks! You don’t think that I know these things? I didn’t sleep with my Psych 101 T.A. to now be forced into “discourse” with you over tapas.

Stop being so honest!

You used to either validate my interests or say, “If you like it, I love it.” I’m glad you can finally open up, but now you won’t stop expressing your opinions, and I did not realize that you had so many of them—about music, my alcohol consumption, how I drive. . . .

I’m sorry I listen to Beyoncé and drink cheap whiskey. I know, I’m basic as hell! I’m sorry I’m a left-lane gatekeeper. If I’m going to let someone into the fast lane, they’d better be on their best behavior. It’s a privilege. They’d best not embarrass me with student-driver energy after I so graciously let their Kia in. I think it’s only fair that I then cut them off. If you don’t like that, don’t carpool with me.

Stop being so available!

It previously took you three to four days to text back. Sometimes seven if there was a new binge-worthy show out. Although that was annoying when I was trying to make dinner plans and figure out where to meet up with my sneaky link afterward, you’re now texting back way too fast. The second I hit send, your text bubbles are already going. If I wanted immediacy, I would call you (although, also, obviously I’d never do that).

Thanks for being more emotionally available, but can you be a little less available? There’s no mystery, there’s no push and pull—it’s all pull, and I’m suffocating. You can’t be hitting me up every day to hang out. We are lunch friends, not FaceTime friends. We are “send each other memes and recipes” friends, not triple-text friends. Don’t mess with the delicate forces of the acquaintance ecosystem. Be harder to get hold of.

Stop setting so many boundaries!

I am certainly happy for you that you were able to label your self-absorption and lack of punctuality with a pseudo TikTok diagnosis. But the therapy-speak has gone too far. Watching reality TV 24/7 is not “self-care,” clipping toenails in the living room is not “prioritizing your needs,” cancelling at the last minute when I’m already at the bar wearing my bell-bottoms for disco night is not “setting boundaries,” and telling you that I’m gay is not “trauma dumping.”

You cannot randomly move my 20K marathon medal because it creates a “toxic competitive environment.” And if, the next time I ask you to do the dishes, you respond with “I hear you but I need time to process,” I am absolutely going to stop “holding space for you” in this house.

Stop being vulnerable!

There was a time when Ariana Grande being called out for being a home-wrecker would’ve been the topic of an hour-long discussion between us. Now all we ever do is dissect your trauma. I’m sorry for everything you’ve been through, but now I’m going to need therapy to unpack your therapy. Is this your therapist’s goal? Is there some therapist M.L.M. I don’t know about? I can’t discuss how your pattern of dating Geminis is related to your childhood neglect every time we hang out. I need it to end.

Stop trying to connect!

I am clearly a woman of very few words. Before you started nurturing your inner child and initiating transparent dialogue, we would both be on our phones while ignoring the movie we had taken an hour to decide on. We’d share funny videos, some hot piece of gossip from one of our acquaintances’ messy lives, and then look up at the TV when a loud thing happened and pretend we were paying attention the whole time.

Now all you want to do is ask me deep questions about my past. I feel like I’m at a press conference led by Brené Brown. I don’t want to examine my triggers or understand my coping mechanisms. Ignorance is bliss. Self-awareness is a mental prison. If I awake to our reality, I will have to acknowledge that I’m not doing enough to help people or this planet. That I’ve given up. For the love of God, please go back to stonewalling me until we order takeout. ♦

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