DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My friend and neighbor has started acting really weird the past couple of months. He doesn’t want to go out with me or any of his other friends, not even to a movie or for a quick meal. Since he lives in the apartment directly over mine, my roommate and I have both heard what sounds like furniture being moved around, sometimes really late at night. We keep asking him if he’s okay, and he keeps telling us he’s fine, but then he starts talking about all the strange things happening at his job, like that the boss keeps spying on him and his coworkers ignore him whenever he comes into the breakroom. He’s been at this job for three years, and he’s never before said anything like this was happening.
I know something is wrong, but I don’t want to jump to conclusions. I’ve known this guy for nearly seven years, and I’ve never known him to act this way. What can I do to get him to consider seeking help if he needs it? --- NERVOUS FRIEND
DEAR NERVOUS FRIEND: Withdrawing from friends and odd sleep patterns, as indicated by his late-night furniture moving, are concerning enough. It’s possible there really are some new issues at work, but what you mentioned sounds paranoid to me.
It’s clear you care about your friend, and you may need to be willing to put your friendship on the line for his wellbeing, if you truly believe something’s wrong. Approach him with your concerns and make it clear to him you’re around if he needs anything. Letting him know someone’s looking out for him might help.
Reaching out to his family, if you have contact information for them or can get it, would be another possible way to get him what he needs if he’s not well.
Your friend may need professional services, sooner rather than later if his behavior gets more out of what’s ordinary for him.