tl;dr Bruce believes that the world is, at its core, a very nice, nonjudgmental place where people get along and don't criticize, and when this belief is contradicted he either refuses the evidence or withdraws into himself. I'm worried for his future at music school.
I have a friend. Let's call him Bruce. We are both college age (19-21). I have known him for years, and he is one of my best friends. He and I get along very well in almost every way, and we each have a great trust in each other. There is just one issue that crops up occasionally: he believes that any treatment that goes against how he believes he should be treated is unfair to him. This would not be a problem if he did not have naïve expectations for how he believes everyone should treat each other. I don't mean 'talk it out' expectations, I mean 'why would anyone ever say an insulting word to another?' expectations.
These expectations are not always a problem. His girlfriend is very similar to him, and, while it does produce a pseudo echo chamber effect, it also makes them both incredibly happy, and it has improved both of their dispositions, in the short and long run.
Whenever anyone doesn't conform to his expectations, he immediately assumes the form of someone that has been mistreated. He sulks, he whines, and he loses all his personality for a few hours. He believes that everyone is putting on an act when they don't like someone else, and that if everyone was just honest with each other, then all these problems would go away.
I know for a fact that he feels this way: his two shoulders to cry on are his girlfriend when he can, and, when she's away, me. She lives an hour's drive away, so a lot of the time I am more convenient.
An example that encapsulates this attitude is an interaction we had in a class.
*Me standing up debating with the class on how safe our area is compared to others
*I sit down
*Bruce, who stayed out of the debate, leans over
Br: This school's not that safe, you know
Me: What are you talking about? *provides statistics
Br: Everyone here is really judgmental, though.
Me: Aren't you going into music? They're even more judgmental there: it's all about how you play.
Br: No, it's different there!
Me: You've talked to people that went there. Do you really believe insert local harsh music teacher here was an outlier?
Br: Yeah, I've met some of the professors!
Me: On a recruiting trip?
Br: Yeah, so?
And so on.
He was often shielded from criticism in his household, as his mother was focused on him growing up happy and enjoying his youth, at the expense of things like constructive criticism.
This makes me very worried for his future. He is going into music, and while he certainly has the skills to be successful, he intends to go to a very prestigious music school, and it is likely (if his audition is on or above his average) he will get in. There, it is likely he will meet the real world, including instructors that take a very hard line stance, and a tough love approach. I want to somehow introduce him to even a small sampling of what he will receive, or convince him that everyone there isn't nice and get along, as he believes that this incredibly competitive music school is all sunshine and rainbows.
My question is, how do I convince him that some people just don't get along, and that he will receive criticism he will just have to take? I've tried many things, including engaging him on the subject while he's sullen (he refuses to believe me), while he's happy (he brushes it off), by injecting a small amount of criticism into our conversations (he looks at me expectantly until I praise him, and when I don't, he is thrown off balance), and trying to talk to his girlfriend about it (she thinks he will be able to handle it and refuses to talk to him about it).
Note This is different from this question as mine does not involve abuse, just naïveté.