Drama queens are exhausting, aren’t they?
Thank goodness you’re not one of them. Sure, you tend to take center stage when talking to people, but that’s only because what’s going on with you is pretty crazy.
For starters, there’s your ex, who had the nerve to like your friend’s Facebook picture the other day. You always knew he had a thing for her. Then that awful girl from high school totally snubbed you when you saw her at happy hour. Hasn’t she grown up since graduation? Obviously not. And your co-worker totally has it out for you. Everyone has heard the nasty rumors she’s spreading about you at the office, right?
Yes. Over and over again … in real time, on text, and every time you get together. In fact, the same goes for all of the other craziness in your life. That’s because you, my friend, are a drama queen.
Don’t get me wrong: Some drama is fun, but for you, it straddles the line between being a competitive sport and a highly addictive drug. You may thrive on it, but it can also be problematic and stressful. After all, who wants to be griping and grumbling all the time? (Because that’s what’s you’re actually doing.) And who wants to worry that their friends’ patience will eventually wear thin? (Because it will.)
If you’re all too familiar with the six behaviors below, it may be time to cut down on the drama and turn your one-woman reality show into actual reality.
1. You are always the focus
You do this: Your daily drama is the focal point of every conversation. At the end of your next night out, ask yourself this question: What did my friends share about their lives? The answer is probably not much, if anything. Drama queens tend to surround themselves with listeners and helpers who — you guessed it — do a lot of listening and helping. Don’t get me wrong: They are genuinely interested in and concerned about what you’re saying, but it kind of sucks when the interest isn’t reciprocated.
Do this instead: Ask what’s happening in your friends’ lives before you dish about your latest happenings. But don’t just ask questions. Also listen to the answers and have an actual conversation. Express interest in what’s happening in their lives. Be genuine about it, and you may actually feel more connected to that person, say some experts. And hey, you might actually find it refreshing to step out of your dramatic bubble for a little while.
2. You use verbal click-bait
You do this: You start stories with verbal click-bait. If you’re using text-speak to start a conversation, this especially applies to you (example: “O-M-G”).
Do this instead: Take it down a notch and just tell the story.
Eliminate phrases like, “Oh, my God, you are not going to believe this,” and “I am so upset right now, I can’t even.” The dramatic bits will come through loud and clear on their own, and you’ll be sharing with friends instead of playing to an audience. That’s not to say you can’t tell a great story, but if you’re known to sensationalize every anecdote, you might find yourself playing to an empty house someday.
3. You overdramatize everything
You do this: You act as if everything is a major trauma. “First world problems,” by the way, are not actual problems.
Do this instead: Get some perspective.
When we were kids and didn’t want to eat dinner, our parents would say: “There are children starving in Africa. You don’t know how good you have it.” Well, you know what? There are children starving in Africa. There are also families starving in your neighborhood, Syrian refugees fleeing for their lives, people who can’t afford their mortgages, and so on. Take a step back and remember that whatever slight you think you’ve experienced is not the literal end of the world.
4. You gossip
You do this: You gossip and stir the pot. I’m not going to lie: Gossiping can be fun, and it’s fine — even good! — in small doses. But if you’re a drama queen, you don’t have a stop button, so this lets you spiral down a draining and unproductive rabbit hole. Plus, I hate to break it to you, but a lot of your drama is self-created.
Do this instead: Cut it out.
You look at people as if they’re your own little science experiments, and you like to see what happens when you add a little scandal here and a little exaggeration there. Again, that’s not particularly productive, and it’s also usually not very well-received when people realize what you’re doing. So, yeah, just cut it out.
5. You have unhealthy habits
You do this: You always find yourself in bad situations, and you just can’t figure out why. This is an easy problem to fix.
Do this instead: Take a good, hard look at your choices, and make better ones.
You have frenemies who contribute to the drama, you choose incompatible significant others, and you might even have a vice you know you need to quit. It’s not healthy, and you know it. While it’s incredibly hard to break bad habits, you can do it. In fact, your friends have likely even created a plan for you already. Start taking the advice that they’ve repeatedly doled out so that you don’t make everyone feel like they’re living in some warped version of “Groundhog Day.” Ask your friends to help you stay accountable. You might be surprised how willing they are to help.
6. You hold grudges
You do this: You never forget and hold grudges just for the sake of it.
Do this instead: Let it go.
You should not be talking about a minor affront weeks, months, or years from now. And a major affront? Figure out how to deal with it so that it doesn’t completely consume you. Because if it’s not for your peace of mind, it should be for your health. Research suggests that holding grudges can actually increase blood pressure and heart rate. As it turns out, forgiveness may have physiological benefits as well as mental. So, yes, take the sage advice from a Disney (drama) queen, and let it go.
A no-BS takeaway
Look, there’s nothing wrong with a little drama. Life would be pretty boring without it. But that’s what movies and books are for. There’s no life manual that says you need drama in your life (you can probably find plenty that say the exact opposite, actually). So, if you can tone it down and find a healthy balance with some of these simple tweaks, you’ll be a lot happier — and so will everyone around you.
What other tips do you have to eliminate drama from your life? I’d love to hear them. Leave your best advice in the comments below!
Dawn Yanek lives in New York City with her husband and their two very sweet, slightly crazy kids. Before becoming a mom, she was a magazine editor who regularly appeared on TV to discuss celebrity news, fashion, relationships, and pop culture. These days, she writes about the very real, relatable, and practical sides of parenting at momsanity.com. Her newest baby is the book “107 Things I Wish I Had Known with My First Baby: Essential Tips for the First 3 Months.” You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.