Good job on the story, and especially your new found focus on overcoming problems and being happy.
But I do want to address your reaction to your friends’ response.
First, there’s nothing wrong with validation. Sometimes, it’s a question of being mature enough and open enough to understand what the other person needs. If there’s a special woman in your life, you better learn that lesson quickly:
If men are so good at fixing things… Part 3
A semi-scientific exploration of independence, inspiration and insanity
Now, with regard to your friend, he was doing a technique that Dr. Robert Leahy calls “minimizing” (see the link above).
For most men, we perceive life as a competition where you constantly measure your standing in the game of life relative to other men. However, when you have a true friend, you want to reject that illusion. You want a brother, a team mate, someone who will always have your back, but you also want to be strong enough to always have his back. (Or, you hope to find a coach, teacher, or mentor who will take you under his wing — the only other acceptable, non-threatening, non-competitive male relationship.)
It may sound counter intuitive, but your friend was actually giving you a different, often male form of support, saying in effect “you’re stronger than you problems, because you can deal with your issues without becoming self-destructive.”
So maybe his message was more about trying to maintain your friendship as a relationship of equals. In the mind of many men, if a man says “yeah, your problems are really bad,” it puts him in the uncomfortable position of being better off than you.