According to the Oxford Dictionary, “overthinker” isn't an actual word, but it definitely should be, because there an alarmingly large number of people suffer from this problem.
Almost everyone has that one friend who tends to overthink. This person analyses the most insignificant things until they seem incredibly complicated, thus drowning themselves in panic and apprehension. In some cases, overthinking leads to highly annoying rants that always start with “What if…” or “But just imagine…”. However, in severe situations, this may lead to acute anxiety and panic attacks. So, how do you deal with the fragile mind of an overthinker?
First off, refrain from telling them to - “Just stop thinking”. Believe me, if there was a switch nestled somewhere in our brains that we could just flip to stop thinking, we'd make good use of it. Using this phrase will only add anger and frustration to your friend's growing panic. Instead, use well-timed remarks to subtly distract him/her. Anything could be a distraction, starting from music recommendations to the newest bit of school gossip.
In this day and age, most of us are dead and empty on the inside, and we use dark humour to give our lives some meaning. However, a person prone to overthinking will undoubtedly lose their cool once the limit of triggering memes has been crossed. So, be wary of the number of nihilist memes you tag your overthinking friend in. One too many of these will send him/her spiralling down yet another existential crisis.
When someone is worried about something, we often try to joke about it to make the matter seem lighter, but this is a big no-no in case of an overthinker. Chances are, he/she will completely miss the joke, and you'll end up with a snivelling hot mess crying into that shirt you just bought the day before.
The most important thing to remember is that you must stick to your text schedule. “Text schedule” also applies to Snapstreaks, Skype sessions, etc. The point is, a normal person might not make much of a friend not contacting them for a few days, but this is not true for an overthinker. If you suddenly go from texting every day to texting once a week, your friend will start to wonder what happened, what they did wrong, what they could do to make things better, so on and so forth. Simple explanations like “the person might be busy” rarely occur to brains in overdrive. It may seem silly to everyone else, but such a small incident is enough to make overthinkers lose themselves in the world of “No one likes me” Tumblr tags.
Overthinkers may seem like a handful, but all you have to do is tread a little carefully around them, and you'll get yourself an amazing friend. If you yourself have a habit of overthinking and thought this article would have constructive advice for you, I'm sorry, because I have yet to find a solution to this issue. Binge-eating pizza does help sometimes, though. Something about the cheesy goodness of pizza makes you forget all about whatever thing you were supposed to be worrying about.
Despite being a hopeless fangirl, Marisha Aziz lives under delusions of awesomeness. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to give her another excuse to ignore her teetering pile of life problems.