11 votes

How to deal with a friend gone cynical?

I have a friend at the office, who is very dear to me. I don't have many friends, and I've known this person for over five years. But recently they've become increasingly cynical and sometimes outright toxic. Saying things like "our job doesn't matter", "nobody cares", and "you should stop trying to improve things". The company we work for had incompetent managers for the last couple of years, who were ignoring issues and basically making it up as they go. The management was basically purged, and now there are a lot of new people. So I guess it is my friend's way to cope with the situation. But it feels unhealthy, because recently they started lashing out on people, including new people who have done nothing wrong yet.

I am honestly kind of afraid to bring this issue up to them, because (a) I am afraid to lose them and (b) they will probably respond with something along the lines of "you don't know what I've been through", or "eff off", or plain old silence. I feel like they are hurting, but I don't know how to help.

What should I do? Should I do anything at all?

5 comments

  1. [2]
    Catt Link
    I suggest coffee (or whatever else) that will remove you both from the office space itself. Sometimes just being away from the office, even for 15 mins, allows people to speak easier. And a...

    I suggest coffee (or whatever else) that will remove you both from the office space itself. Sometimes just being away from the office, even for 15 mins, allows people to speak easier. And a physical break from a stressful environment is always nice.

    12 votes
    1. ainar-g Link Parent
      This is probably the best course of action. I will try that when I have the opportunity. Thanks!

      This is probably the best course of action. I will try that when I have the opportunity.

      Thanks!

      2 votes
  2. Greg Link
    Very broadly, your friend needs to realise that if it's important enough to complain about, it's important enough to take action about - and that can very much be taken in either direction: it's...

    Very broadly, your friend needs to realise that if it's important enough to complain about, it's important enough to take action about - and that can very much be taken in either direction: it's entirely up to the person in question whether they do something about the situation, or decide that actually it wasn't worth complaining after all. From what you say, I'd guess this is a situation where the former is the wiser decision.

    Obviously it needs to be dressed up in much gentler language, but "if you don't like it, leave" is often very good advice. With only the info you presented to go on, it sounds like the working environment has gone seriously downhill in recent years. While it's never appropriate to lash out at others, I can very much empathise with their cynicism if they feel trapped in that situation.

    Sure, it's unlikely that they can just up and leave tomorrow without significant consequences, but making consistent, daily steps towards leaving this situation and finding a more positive one will not only pay dividends in the long run, it'll provide hope and a sense of purpose in the short run.

    6 votes
  3. [2]
    demifiend Link
    Help them organize your office's workers and start a union.

    I feel like they are hurting, but I don't know how to help.

    Help them organize your office's workers and start a union.

    6 votes
    1. deadaluspark Link Parent
      Seriously. That's the malaise of disillusionment with capitalism if I've ever heard it.

      Seriously.

      Saying things like "our job doesn't matter", "nobody cares", and "you should stop trying to improve things".

      That's the malaise of disillusionment with capitalism if I've ever heard it.

      3 votes