Say this: How to respond when family and friends comment on your mental health

by | Apr 29, 2022 | Last updated Apr 29, 2022

By Dani Kam, Noom Content Writer

Would my friends and family be my friends and family if they didn’t question almost every one of my thoughts, decisions, or actions? (No, they wouldn’t.) While their unsolicited advice is likely just a byproduct of their care and concern for me, it makes me want to roll my eyes all the way back into my head. They probably don’t know that they’re disturbing my mental peace, and when I put them in one room together, that annoyingness gets amplified to the nth degree. 

Based on my own experience (roles have been changed to protect identities), here’s some advice on how to shut it down when your loved ones push your brain’s proverbial buttons. Trust me, they’ll back right off.

Who: Your brother 

What: “How’s the old noggin’? Feeling better since that meltdown?” 

How to respond: “Meltdown? If you’re referring to last week when I was crying about how rude my landlord was, then it’d be cool if you framed it in a way that was way less patronizing. But, to answer your question, I’m still feeling a little uneasy.”

Who: Your mom’s friend 

What: “Just don’t think about it! You’ll be fine.”

How to respond: “That’d be great! But the thing with my mind is that it likes to ruminate. So, if you wanna switch brains, I’m down.”

Who: Your dad

What: “Let’s keep that brain in your head. I mean, c’mon, things could be worse, right?”

How to respond: “There’s always going to be someone who has it worse and someone who has it better. But both things can exist, can’t they? Like, I can feel bad that our neighbor’s house went into foreclosure and also feel sad about a canceled event I worked hard to put together. Or is that not allowed?” 

Who: Your best friend

What: “Of course it is. I just wish you’d try to be more positive!”

How to respond: “I’d love to, trust me. But telling me to be positive when I’m stressed is kind of like telling someone with diabetes to just think they can magically heal themselves instead of giving them insulin.”

Who: Your aunt 

What: “Good point. But have you tried meditation?” 

How to respond: “I know meditation has worked really well for you and others, so I appreciate the suggestion. Unfortunately, my mind tends to go to the bad place when I’m sitting still with my thoughts … and trust me, you don’t wanna go to the bad place.” 

Who: Your cousin’s girlfriend 

What: “But it doesn’t seem like you’re ever in a bad place. You seem happy!”

How to respond: “That’s because I have lots of things to be happy about. Like corndogs. But delicious portable snacks don’t outweigh or diminish the validity of the not-so-happy things. It’s called balance, right?”

I hope that these responses signal your loved ones to keep their thoughts and opinions locked up. If not, you can check out Noom Mood for more tips and tricks you can use when your mental health is being tested.