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chill pill

I’m convinced that one of my friends is a hypochondriac. At first glance, she appears normal and healthy. But she’s constantly monitoring every little ache and pain and blowing the symptoms up into something they aren’t. Runny nose? It doesn’t matter that she’s just been out in the cold for 10 minutes and has come into a warm house. She’s on her smart phone checking websites and then on the phone to her doctor to make an appointment. You know you see those commercials for drugs that tell you to ask your doctor if (insert drug du jour) is right for you? She does. About everything from sleep aids to depression meds to birth control to acid reflux…you name it, she finds a way to get on a drug to treat it. She seems to enjoy trying every pharmaceutical on the market. Sore throat? Achy joint? She is perpetually on one type of antibiotic or another, and carries a large bottle of hand disinfectant in her purse. She pulls it out constantly. We went to a movie, and she used it twice during the screening. Acted like I was trying to poison her when I offered her some popcorn from my bucket.

She is already a walking test tube, and I’m afraid she’s getting worse as she grows older. She’s only 27. What can I do to help her chill out a bit and enjoy being alive without so many fears about her health?

The Anti-Valetudinarian

The Sales Guy says: She is way beyond the “Let’s talk this out” approach. Unless you have some professional training in treating people with deep-seated phobias, I would strongly recommend your friend seek psychological counseling and treatment. You are correct in that her behavior left untreated will only get more bizarre and increasingly unstable, the question is: Are you close enough to her to convince her to seek help?

The Straight Skinny: I am actually looking for a movie date who will not touch my popcorn, so I would ask for her number, but I’m guessing that if she won’t share my snacks during the movie she’s really not going to like it when I’d like to share a lot more after the movie.

She should see a therapist, unless she’s really happy being a hypochondriac and can find someone who wants to share her trip down that particular rabbit hole. In which case, give her her head.

The Omniscient One says: You can’t do anything. Don’t even think about it. Just accept that she finds joy in imagining ills at every turn and let her be. And wash your hands a lot in front of her.

all the rage

I hate driving out to the malls to go shopping. My wife loves it. She wakes up before dawn the day after Thanksgiving and drives around all day shopping and packing every spare inch of the car full of merchandise. Usually, she lets me off the hook and I stay home watching hunting and fishing shows.

This year she’s harping on me to come along with her. She wants me to play a role in selecting the gifts we give to people. I’m no good at it and I don’t want to. Like I said, I really don’t like the traffic and the crowds. Really don’t like it. In fact, I sort of had an “incident” with another driver a few years back.

After a little community service, that all blew over. But the thing is I don’t want to go. How do I get out of this?


Dining Out says: Tell her if she goes alone, you will cook dinner for her and do all of the gift-wrapping. If that doesn’t work, bribe her with a spa day.

Aberrant in Allentown says: As long as she didn’t cook your Thanksgiving dinner, you can solve this with one very simple and effective excuse delivered Friday morning: explosive diarrhea.

The Omniscient One says: Waking up before dawn won’t do this year. Stores are beginning sales at midnight. I suggest you tell your wife to get in line around noon on Thanksgiving so that she’ll be right in front and that you’ll meet her there at five minutes before midnight. And bring a little plate of the Thanksgiving dinner she missed.

The Straight Skinny: You’re in luck! On Black Friday, there will be a shoe-collecting drive in front of the Globe Market, to benefit Western New York’s refugees. Kids from Nichols will be collecting shoes from 10-4. So: You tell your wife that you really want to give to charity this year; go buy six pairs of shoes at ShoeFly; go across the street and donate them to the shoe drive; then call it a day and go for a leisurely lunch and cocktails at Sole. A perfect shopping day!

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