HEALTHY FRIENDSHIPS :: One thing I’ve gotten really good at – as a recovering drama queen – is avoiding drama. The first thing I did was to simply grow up and grow out of my need for constant drama. But that took time. For fast results, I also live under a few simple rules that really help me avoid drama:
Avoid Drama Rule #1 – You know (right away). Go with your gut. You knew that person was grand the second you were introduced, just like you knew that other guy – the one “we all love!” – was a waste of your time as soon as you met him. Your inner voice never lies about who is right and wrong for you. Believe the quick read you get within the first few minutes of meeting someone.
Avoid Drama Rule #2 – When someone shows you who they are (come on Oprah people!): BELIEVE THEM. God, I’m still learning this one though. People teach you what they are about and you do get taught that fast. If you’ve been someone’s punching bag, second best, dumping ground, or if you’ve been emotionally abused by someone, forgive them (for you, so you can move on) but don’t forget. Keep a safe distance from all those messes in the masses.
Avoid Drama Rule #3 – Steer clear of TMI. I reap a lot of benefits from my presence on social media, but some time ago I deleted my Facebook timeline for good. One of the big reasons is that the more ‘friends’ I accumulated, the more TMI I exposed myself too. Steer clear of a person who will post their every anger, hurt, objection, rage on social media. This is a sign of someone who is deeply insecure, possibly narcissistic, and definitely high maintenance.
Avoid Drama Rule #4 – See that red flag? It’s a RED FLAG. You want dependable people in your life, but often, especially if you are dependable, you give more than you receive. If someone over-promises but under delivers all the time, they are not a good friend who will show up – ever. No matter how fun they are when they do arrive, you ultimately want dependable people. This one’s cousin rule to #2: That’s a red flag they be wavin’. Believe it.
Avoid Drama Rule #5 – Test for whiners. We all have those friends who love to get together and complain, gossip, and talk about how tough it all is. To this day I notice that when I do that even with my tried and true friends, I’m so good at it that they’ll fall right in line and suddenly it’s a pity party. It’s like we’re hard-wired to marinate in misery, so be careful of who you vent to. Yes, my friends will come to my pity party, but that’s because I rarely throw one and they take me seriously when I complain. To see if your friends are in it in good AND bad times, next time they throw you a ball of blue, don’t catch it. Change the topic to something that’s going great for you and gauge the response. Are they happy for you? Envious? Do they change the topic back to how it all sucks? You’ll find out if why your friends are with you, quickly.
Avoid Drama Rule #6 – Because I’m worth it. I used to sell myself short when it came to friendships. I think it’s because growing up I didn’t really have many friends, so was just happy to have some finally; as an adult I’ve been friends with just about anyone who asked. On one hand, I’m still proud that I can relate to people authentically, no matter who they are, but on the other, I’ve often sold myself short when I knew better. I have not stood up for myself, I have stayed in situations that viscerally felt off, I have stuck around people who felt – snotty as this sounds – less than me. But these days I assert my worth and it allows me to constantly respect myself more – so much so that I don’t even attract friendships that aren’t a match into my orbit. And if I do, they last about thislong.