It’s the holiday season again and many of us are in hyper mode: high strung, scurrying about, impatient and feeling under pressure. It’s also classically a time of year for heightened drama- think of those chaotic family dinners where secrets get spilled, tempers flare and even tears flow. Trying to manage the “drama queen” amidst all that can leave us spent and wishing for a comfy corner to hide in. We all seek and need acknowledgement and validation in different ways. So called Drama Queens, however, have learned from experience to fulfill this need in often times unhealthy and negative ways; sapping energy and gaining attention by playing on the sympathies of others.
One of the key differences between drama queens and those who are in real need is that drama queens are often not good active listeners and rarely take any advice given to them. They are not looking for resolution to their problems, but rather a continuous energy source and audience for their melodrama. Those in authentic need are wishing to be heard, relate (share experiences and know they’re not alone) and resolve their situation. One personality favours preservation of their current state and the other favours progression.
Here are some quick tips on handling the drama queens, attention seekers and energy consuming personalities in your life during the holidays and all throughout the year:
1. Acknowledge- Whether it’s the homeless person asking for change or the prima donna demanding attention, all of us deserve to be recognized with sincerity. Regardless, of what the person is asking of you respond in kind so that they know they have been seen and heard-
“I’m sorry to hear you’re going through such a rough time.”
“Yes, unfortunately those types of situations are very difficult”
2. Relate- Humans are social animals who thrive on empathy, contact and connection. Briefly relate a similar experience or anecdote of your own. This helps to set boundaries for the individual by not being drawn solely into their world-
“That very same thing happened to me once! I know how you feel.”
“My friend had a similar experience. Good for you! You seem to be handling it quite well.”
3. Distract- Attention seekers are masters at drawing others in and keeping them there as long as they have a captive and engaged audience. Shift, distract and change the focus of the conversation when it becomes circular and consuming, (in many ways it is like distracting a small child)-
“Oh my! Auntie’s brought out her favourite apple pie recipe!”
“With everything that’s going on for you you look lovely in that colour! Where did you get your outfit?”
4. Remove- When acknowledging, relating and distraction does not change the course of a drama queen’s show, politely but noticeably remove yourself. It is no longer an exchange both parties are benefiting from-
“How nice! The cousins have just arrived! Excuse me while I say hello.”
“Sorry, I’m famished! And, the appies just came out of the oven. I’m going to refill my plate.”
“It’s been a long drive. I’m going to head up to the restroom.”
Acknowledging, Relating, Distracting and Removing as a practice for managing energy draining personalities increases our comfort levels, sets boundaries on how we choose to interact, and teaches drama queens and attention seekers healthier, positive, more fulfilling ways to be heard, seen, acknowledged and validated.
Have a beautiful and joyous winter holiday season!
The Process of Life blog posts are inspired lessons, learnings and meditations acquired for myself and my fellow growth journeyers- Coach Melanie