When you see in a friend, a lover, a parent, overreacting like crazy, you’re stunned, and floored, your mouth stays open, you look like a ridiculous dead frog.
“What the f… is happening here ?”
You can try to dialog but you quickly find out, as a rule, that it’s impossible. Run !
Your first reaction, you embarrassing silly fool, by the way, is try to weave back a conversation. If you find this person is overreacting, don’t say “You overreacting, no ?”.
It does not work, obviously.
OK. Go away. Shut up. Think.
If someone reacts this way, to “something” you just find different, funny or just pleasantly challenging, you have to understand that you touched a nerve, you struck a chord, you hit a heartstring, whatever (HOW do I say this in english, good people ? – in France we say “Toucher une corde sensible”, to touch a sensitive rope).
If you like this person, his or her overreaction should activate your empathy. It’s a good thing. Watch, listen, remember, try to understand. Your cultural standards are different, the “other” doesn’t always fit. That’s life and that’s a dance. Learn.
You need time, then you can cautiously try to dialog. Find the nerve. Hug (this friendship is precious, right ?). Hug again. Smile. You also have your own shit to deal with.
Seeing a good person overreacting is a seed for empathy and dialog. You’ll know your friend better, strengths and flaws included. We all have to learn how to navigate around the people we love. What you find “innocent” can be a big, a HUGE deal for this one. Learn. And work to find out and understand what happened. It’s worth it. It is !
Do you know your own chords ? Where should people NOT tickle you ?