Monday, April 23, 2012

Drama: Just Don't Do It

Recently, in the last month, I've been exposed briefly to several little pockets of drama. If you're reading this and you've been around me in the last month and there's been talk of drama (a.k.a, if I might be alluding to you), please don't take this post personally. There's no criticism of the people involved, just of drama in general.

Ok. Let's look at Drama. I'm going to steal the top definition from Urban Dictionary, because I think it summarizes a lot of what makes Drama.

A way of relating to the world in which a person consistently overreacts to or greatly exaggerates the importance of benign events.

Typically "drama" is used by people who are chronically bored or those who seek attention.

People who engage in "drama" will usually attempt to drag other people into their dramatic state, as a way of gaining attention or making their own lives more exciting.

Common warning signs/ risk factors of drama or a dramatic person are:

1. Having one supposedly serious problem after another.

2. Constantly telling other people about one's problems.

3. Extreme emotionality or frequently shifting, intense emotions.

4. Claiming to have experienced negative events that are highly implausible.

5. A boring job or mundane life.

6. Making claims without sufficient evidence or a lack of detail about supposedly serious events.

7. A pattern of irrational behavior and reactions to everyday problems.
Now, obviously, there are aspects of Drama that are present in everyone's lives and don't really necessitate being categorized as "Drama". Everyone has serious problems at one point or another. Many people benefit from being able to talk their problems, or whatever is on their mind, over with a friend. Everyone has emotional shifts from time to time. Life can just be boring sometimes. We all try to make sense of the things which we don't understand, sometimes coming to strange unlikely conclusions out of an attempt to connect all the dots (even if all of the dots probably aren't really connected). None of that is uncommon to the human experience. We're social creatures and the way we interact with one another seems to easily lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications.

I really hate Drama. Really. And I do just about everything I can to avoid it in order to maintain my personal sanity. When I start showing symptoms of irrational behavior, I do my best to squish it in order to avoid it leading to any drama, whether that drama occurs solely within my own head, or whether it involves other people.

One of the leading avenues for drama are social networking sites. Facebook. Twitter. Reddit. Blogs. Actually, communication in general facilitates drama. Texting. Phone calls. Letters. Skype. You name it. If we can communicate with other people, drama can exist.

On Facebook, it is easy to avoid Drama. I'll be honest, if you post anything on Facebook that relates to religion or politics and is blatantly idiotic and not very well thought out, I probably don't see any of your posts anymore. Whether I agree with what you said or not. I don't inherently mind if you post religious or political stuff, but if you do and you want me to see it, it had better not be overgeneralizing or making fun of an entire group of people who you likely (particularly after you post whatever it is) don't know anything about. I see people doing this all the time. And when they do, it always feels so good to click the little drop down menu and select "Only Important", or if you're really annoying, "Unsubscribe". I haven't, as yet, seen the need to block or unfriend very many as a result of this, which I'm quite happy about. Thank you, Facebook, for making it so easy for me to tailor my feed to sane, funny, well thought out, and informative posts.

Another annoying thing to do on Facebook is to post passive aggressive comments. What are passive aggressive comments on Facebook? Pure Drama. Nothing else. Not productive. Not helpful. It may make you feel just a tiny bit better for a short period of time, but let me tell you, it makes you look really stupid. For your sake, and everyone elses, don't do it. Please. If you have something to say to someone which contains any potentially drama inducing sentiment, send them a private message. Don't make the rest of us observe your ridiculous public arguments.

Also, avoid constantly posting updates about how awful your life is and all the bad things that are happening to you. Chances are that your present circumstance aren't really any harder than anyone else's present circumstances. They're just different. You're dealing with difficult things, I'm dealing with difficult things. That doesn't mean I'm going to post every hour about how hard my life is or how mad I am at whoever and wish they do something better. Of the people I know who are truly going through difficult life altering things, I don't know almost any who post those kinds of things to Facebook. There is a time and a place, and Facebook is not the place. Facebook is public. Open. Everyone sees it. Keep private things private. It's that simple.

I also find it incredbily annoying when people post about how the have the "BEST husband/wife/brother/mother/father/sister/cousin/dog/cat/friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever EVER/IN THE WORLD!" No you don't. There's no way for you to know that. You might have the "best whatever" for you, but best ever? Best in the world? Heeeeelloooo. Really? Be happy! Be excited! But please, don't be annoying.

Ok. Now I'm soap boxing about slightly unrelated things.

Often you hear the stereotype that women are the sole sources of gossip and drama.  That it's a female phenomena only. Not so. In my recent experience and more attuned observation of drama, it has been very obviously present in both men and women. Again, it is related to being human, not to what gender you are. So, if there are any men out there and you've actually read this far down in this post, don't think yourselves immune. You're not. We're all susceptible.

Basically, whether it is on facebook or just in the real world, be happy. Don't cause or participate in the world of drama (obviously, we're not talking about theater/acting drama). If you're talking to me and all I hear is how hard your life is and how awful your day was and how everything is just miserable and everyone is out to get you, I'll listen, but I'll be skeptical. Your life is probably better than you think it is, and if you just wake up and pay attention, you'll probably realize that.

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