On my buddy Clint W’s Facebook status the other day he expressed his aggravation with people who repeatedly talk about all the drama that is happening in their life. A little fuss is may be good to get the blood running every now and then, but too much drama is probably not good for your health and it’s definitely not good for your social life.
Have you ever had a friend (or two) who can’t seem to live a normal life because they are so busy inserting themselves into situations that cause or build on drama? They find little arguments, disagreements that seem petty and insignificant to some, But not to these people. They soak themselves in the minutiae, letting it fester to a boiling point until it eventually leads up to all out brawls and long-term grudges. They become the unfortunate stuff of ill-natured legend. The Hatfield’s and McCoy’s; The Montague’s and Capulet’s. It is invigorating. It is a thrill. It is their high. Drama is an integral part of life for some people and yet, it doesn’t have to be.
I have empathy for those who suffer legitimate issues that arise and cause instability in a person’s life. Things like loss of employment, divorce, terminal illness or an accident, the loss of a child, spouse, family member or close friend. These things are what I consider to be catastrophic and require sympathy, encouragement and support.
On the other hand, I have almost no patience for a friend who needs constant attention and who always seems to find themselves in the maelstrom of negative activity whether they intended to or not. These types, over time, drain me of all serenity, push my friendship to the limits and sometimes drag my mental state down in an effort to pry my sympathy with their pleas.
I’ve endeavored to keep these types of friends at arms length (sometimes a country mile) to minimize the damage that it does to my sanity. And yet, they are still friends with some endearing qualities that attracted me to them in the first place. So I love them from afar and support them by acknowledging their issues without getting involved.
If you’re a “drama friend” might I suggest a few ways to help you reduce the ‘tragedies’ you’re encountering in your life?
The Golden Rule – If you don’t want other people talking trash about you in public, make sure you’re not flinging poop yourself! It’s really hard sometimes but if you treat others with kindness and respect you will generally be treated in the same manner. I know from experience that when I’m being a total jerk, people either avoid me or give me the same treatment and ten times worse. Be nice and avoid getting situations where you know its going to come down to ‘me or him’. No one ever wins.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – Yes I know it’s a hot political topic but it’s also a good rule for a common ‘Joe Schmo’ like me. If someone comes up to you with a not-so-secret-secret that they just have to unload on someone than you know you’re in for trouble. Loose lips sink ships and if we were all ships we would all be living among fishes. If your friend approaches you with a secret, kindly tell them to schedule a visit with their clergy, their lawyer or a therapist because they are the only people bound by law to keep their mouths shut.
Burn your yearbooks – When I was a teenager I was surrounded by drama because that’s what kids do – they seek out thrilling gossip or create gossip on their own and quite skillfully. If you’re no longer in middle school or high school or if the birth date on your drivers license will help you gain access to a Rated R movie without a parent, than you’re probably too old to play the same games you played when you were playing tonsil hockey with that girl with the bad acne in the band room. Disclaimer: Never happened to me.
Get a hobby – It’s hard to get drawn into all of the drama when you don’t have time to get involved in the first place. Scrapbooking, fly fishing, stamps, fossils, cave exploring, shopping (although this causes another type of drama) or bottling fruits; whatever it is, get involved and leave the suspense to Susan Lucci.
Bottom line is we need to avoid people and places that put us in a position to be a drama queen. It may be fun and exhilarating to be a part of the action but believe me, it’s not entertaining to the rest of us who have to deal with your ongoing psychosis.