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Why Fake Optimism Is the Worst Way to Deal with Life's Problems

Looking at crap and calling it candy has become a growth industry. But experts say there are better ways to deal with crisis.

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Holding in negative feelings can lead to serious problems, even suicidal or homicidal thoughts. "You've got to deal with it," he says, likening venting to a kind of emotional purging that gets the bad stuff out. If someone doesn't let you vent (as in Ehrenreich's experience), Dr. Sophy says, "not letting somebody else puke is because they're afraid they're gonna puke."

Anyone who's ever been in a meaningful relationship has cleaned up something -- diapers, regurgitated margaritas, scary laundry -- far worse than a little emotional vomit. You can take it. Once your friend expels her fear, anger or confusion you can help her figure out the next step, or maybe even just relax. Take a walk. Rent a movie. There's this really good flick by Monty Python. Maybe your friend will like the upbeat ending.

Liz Langley is a freelance writer in Orlando, FL.

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