When your friend is a drama queen, stay in the eye of the hurricane.
Do you have a friend who is offended easily, complains often about the injustice of situations, over exaggerates problems, or has a tendency to experience one crisis after another? If so, you’re friend is probably addicted to drama. Some drama queens call attention to themselves by over dramatizing situations, while others have a knack for attracting chaos into their lives.
True drama queens know how to sigh, cry and yell at just the right time – when others aren’t paying attention to them. The subtler drama addict may not wail and scream about challenging situations, but they draw sympathy from family and friends by experiencing one catastrophe after another in their life. You can’t help but offer empathy and attention to a friend who experiences a serious illness in the winter, goes through a divorce in the spring, loses their job in the summer, and then has to put their cat to sleep in the fall. Each incidence has its own merits, but added all together becomes too much for one friend to bear.
If you love your friend and want to keep the friendship, here are some suggestions to try.
How to Handle a Drama Queen Friend
Stay centered and balanced. It’s easy to get swept up in another’s drama, but this only reinforces it. Rather than respond with concern, anguish or other sympathetic reactions, stay as neutral as possible while listening to the story. Your friend may match this calm, balanced state and drop the drama.
Maintain a healthy perspective. Look for a broader perspective in your friend’s situation and share this with her when it feels appropriate. Helping your friend to see the other side of the situation, or another’s point of view, may help her to let go of judgment and reactivity.
Find amusement. Bringing humor to a serious situation helps to lighten it and supports people to see the bigger picture. Inject your natural style of humor as a way to ease the drama. This may mean teasing your friend about their overreactions, over exaggerating the situation yourself, or jokingly calling your friend a drama queen.
Be compassionate. Know that underneath your friend’s behavior is a cry for love and attention, or an addiction to busyness and chaos, or at the extreme, a personality disorder. They may not know how to meet their underlying needs other than to create, attract or overreact to difficult situations. With understanding and compassion, you will be less judgmental and more accepting of their antics.
Have a heart to heart. It may be time to have an honest conversation with your friend about how you are affected by their drama and overreactions. If you can communicate from your heart and soul, rather than your judgments, you will have a better chance of being understood. This might help you take your friendship to another level.
Create healthy boundaries. In order to protect yourself from being energetically drained by your friend’s problems, create boundaries around when, where and why you connect with your friend. It’s not mean to say “I can’t talk right now,” or “This is too much for me to hear at this time,” or “I know you can handle this on your own.” Sometimes sympathy and caretaking cross the line into codependence and enabling. Set a good example, by creating healthy boundaries for yourself.
As you implement the above suggestions, you will find it easier to spend time with your friend. And if these don’t help, it may be in your best interest to let the friendship go, as you may not be a good match for each other anymore.
Do you have any questions or insights on what to do when your friend is a drama queen? Please comment below.