Most of us try to avoid drama at all costs. Whether it's settling an argument with a partner, or quickly making up with a friend, I think we can all agree life is so much better when it's peaceful. And yet, it's still possible to accidentally create drama — even when you totally don't mean to.
This is annoying fact of life, and one that can't always be avoided. In fact, having "absolutely no drama is unrealistic," says author and friendship expert Dr. Jan Yager, in an email to Bustle. "Everyone, even the calmest and most together people, have drama from time to time."
It only becomes a problem if that drama is consistent, Yager tells me. When things start to feel out of control 24/7, it's often a sign you need to rethink how you run your life. Are you doing things to stir up the theatrics? Or getting yourself mixed up in situations that are toxic?
If the answer is yes, trust me when I say you'll feel so much better once you put a stop to any drama-inducing habits. Doing so will make your life 100 times easier, and way less chaotic. If that sounds good, then read on for things to avoid.
1. Having Important Convos Via Text
Hiding behind a phone is usually the go-to choice when it comes to having serious and/or scary conversations. But (as you may have experienced) texting can quickly lead to misunderstandings. As Jennifer FitzPatrick, MSW, CSP, author of Cruising Through Caregiving explains, texts leave out tone of voice, inflection, and body language — all things necessary for true communication. Texts also make it way too easy to say awful things you don't mean. So, the next time you have something important to talk about, make sure you do it in person.
2. Canceling Plans At The Last Minute
Think about all the things that run through your head when a friend cancels plans. Are they mad? Did they find something better to do? Why are they leaving you hanging? The list truly goes on and on. That's why, as Yager tells me, you should avoid canceling plans — especially at the last minute. Not only is it rude, but it often leads to totally unnecessary misunderstandings.
3. Not Accepting Someone For Who They Are
If you have a friend or a partner who constantly falls short of your expectations, there could be one of two things going on. Either they truly are letting you down, or they simply aren't meeting your high expectations. If it's the latter, resist the urge to try to change them, FitzPatrick tells me. It'll only lead to unhealthy (and unfair) conflict in your life.
4. Taking Social Media To Heart
If you're dealing with an issue, like a breakup, it can be tough not to read into someone's posts — especially if they kind of seem directed at you. So unless you are mentioned by name, take the high road and let it go, FitzPatrick tells me. Saying something, or responding angrily, is just not worth it.
5. Forgetting To Listen
The next time you're embroiled in a disagreement, make sure you listen. It can be the difference between a simple spat, and something that gets blown out of proportion. "If someone isn’t listening, that person can build a false reality around their biased interpretation of what someone else said," says happiness coach Gayle Katz, in an email to Bustle. Clearly, that's not the stuff of a drama-free life.
6. Not Being Entirely Honest
If you can make a habit of saying exactly what you mean, your life will become way less messy. That's because drama often arises from miscommunication and its ensuing confusion, relationship therapist Rhonda Milrad tells me. (If you tend to stretch the truth, then you know exactly what I mean.)
7. Failing To Be Your Usual Assertive Self
Let's say your roommate is doing something you find incredibly annoying. If you speak up, it'll be over and done with. But if you don't, it's possible for drama (and passive aggressiveness) to go on for ages. So be assertive and speak up. "That’s how communication works," Katz says. And it's often how drama is avoided.
8. Talking Behind Someone's Back
This should go without saying, but here's your gentle reminder to stop talking about people behind their back. "Drama is created when there are small, private discussions going on, outside earshot of the person who was involved in the event in the first place," Milrad says. It never, ever ends well. So just don't do it.
9. Worrying Too Early (Or Too Often)
I love the saying "worrying doesn't get you anywhere," because it's so true. If you sit around for hours biting your nails, or thinking about all the "what ifs," you're going to drive yourself mad. Do yourself a favor and don't sweat it until it happens, if it happens, relationship expert Audrey Hope tells me. Only at that point should you allow yourself to worry.
10. Unfriending Someone On Social Media
Of course you have the right to friend and unfriend anyone you like. If you can help it, though, try not to go on a spiteful deleting rampage. "People take this very personally and it can become a huge war in family and friend groups," says FitzPatrick. "Unless someone has done something truly egregious, [you can] simply hide their posts so you don’t have to see their feed."
11. Lacking Healthy Boundaries
Oh, boundaries. Without them, all sorts of drama can arise, FitzPatrick tells me. Imagine a friend who calls at all hours, or a partner who never gives you alone time. If you don't tell them what's what, you're going to be in for a dramatic, boundary-less life. So do yourself a favor, and be honest if you need some distance — or some alone time. Your relationships will be much healthier as a result.
And so will your entire life, if you can make a point of keeping drama far, far away. Avoid all of the bad habits above, and you'll be off to a good start.
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