A bizarre new haircut. An obnoxious, possibly sleazy boyfriend. Quitting her job to backpack through El Salvador.
Your friend (or mom or niece or, heaven forbid, daughter) has always been a free spirit (or, perhaps, more alarmingly, she hasn't been), but has she finally lost her marbles à la famous flameouts Britney Spears (and her head-shaving episode) and, closer to home, Margot Kidder? Take our quiz and find out if you should take some snapshots to embarrass her with once she's come to her senses -- or if you should stage an intervention, pronto.
1. Has she suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, latched on to a crazy diet: tomatoes and apples, say, or a cleansing fast or….colonic irrigation?
a) Yes (2 points)
b) No (0 points)
2. Has she been getting drunk on a regular basis?
a) Yes (2 points)
b) No (0 points)
3. She's called, begging you to provide her with an alibi because…
a) She was seeing this other guy and needs you to cover in case her boyfriend/husband/kids phoned your place looking for her (2 points)
b) You work together, and she took off mid-day, and she needed you to pretend you saw her looking queasy in the lobby (1 point)
c) Her parole officer was looking for her (3 points)
d) All of the above (10 bonus points)
4. Honestly: Why do you dislike her wacky new haircut?
a) It looks like it's a protest statement against vanity (3 points)
b) It cost waaaaaay too much money (0 points)
c) It cost waaaaaay tooo much money -- money she doesn't have, working at a donut shop and all (1 point)
d) You're sort of jealous that it looks really edgy (0 points)
e) She went and had it done without consulting with any of her gal pals, including you (1 point)
5. She's hired a…
a) Psychic (2 points)
b) "Rebirthing" coach (2 points)
c) Relative to be her "manager" or "agent" (2 points)
d) Kabbalah adviser (2 points)
e) Bookie (2 points)
6. We're talking gut instinct, first impressions: on the scale of sleaziness, where would you place her new boyfriend/husband, with 0 being Dr. McDreamy (100% certifiably sleaze-free) and 10 being Fed-Ex (totally skeevy)?
Patrick Dempsey (Dr. McDreamy) 0
Kevin Federline (Fed-Ex) 10
(Add one point for every point you assign her man)
7. Does she financially support her man as he tries to get his own career started? If so, what is his intended career?
a) Working toward a profession (enrolled in law school/articling, medical school/interning) (0 points)
b) Working toward an unconventional trade, but one requiring an internship/apprenticeship or training (flying trapeze artist, artisan, tattoo artist) (1 point)
c) "Becoming a Superstar" (Canada's next great musician or singer, actor, criminal mastermind) (3 points)
d) Add a bonus 3 points if Dean McDermott (aka Mr. Tori Spelling), er, I mean, "her guy" is over age 35
8. In order to prepare for her big vacation-of-a-lifetime, she is
a) Bringing out the Lonely Planet Guides and trying to convince all her gal pals to embark on a girls-only backpacking and cultural exploration tour of South America (0 points)
b) Selling all her belongings and finding a home for her cats (2 points)
c) Selling rights to her memoirs (3 points)
d) Buying some cute luggage and a pickpocket-proof girdle (0 points)
e) Buying rolls of duct tape, latex balloons, a waterproof girdle and laxatives (5 points)
Page 1 of 2 -- Find out the scores to this quiz on page 2
See how she scores:
0 to 5 points: Low risk
Dial the Britney-Style-Freakout-Alert level down to "Low-risk" for your friend. She may be a bit quirkier than usual, but it's unlikely she's planning anything crazy aside from regular six-week appointments to maintain her new super-high-maintenance hairstyle.
6 to 15 points: Marching to the beat of a different drummer
Is she suffering from a midlife crisis? Is her obnoxious new guy throwing her equilibrium off? (And no, you can't pay him to get lost! Be there for her, and say good riddance once she comes to her senses and kicks him to the curb.) For whatever reason, she's marching to the beat of a different drummer and maybe taking some risks she hadn't before.
For now, think positively about these changes as long as they aren't self-destructive (and ultimately, a bad haircut or one day of playing hooky from work aren't that bad), and embrace the new her. But, absolutely, feel free to take some pictures of her haircut to flash later.
16 points and up: Uh oh
Watch her closely, and if she seems about to do something crazy like sell all her possessions (or sign the deed of her house over to her guy or religious order or what-have-you), get ready to step in and shake some sense into her.
If she's spending way too much money -- not on one haircut, but on a new lifestyle she can't possibly maintain (designer clothes on a retail clerk's wages or on credit, gambling, a plastic surgery habit, supporting a loafish guy), that's one red flag that something's wrong. Another is if she develops an obsession with a diet or religious cult. Sit down and have a frank talk. Tell her you're concerned and you're there for her. And that you're removing the duct tape, balloons and laxatives from her luggage.
Remember, this quiz is just for fun! Joking aside, if you're concerned about the mental health of someone you care about, visit the Canadian Mental Health Association's website for info and resources.
If your best friend is in trouble it's important to help her out. Read about the top 10 reasons you need a best friend in your life.
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