Life will have drama. Dating will most certainly have drama. We have an entire academy dedicated to awarding drama. If you’re alive, there will be drama. But the thing is, you can minimize it. You can be the director in the film that is your life and you can ensure that you are not amongst the contenders being considered for best dramatic performance. Furthermore, you get to decide who you cast and give the spotlight to in the film called your life, and especially in your dating life, where the casting is solely and 100 percent up to you. Drama is a lot like a drug. Admittedly, it can be difficult to turn down. Hard to say no to the allure of the intoxicating rush of the emotions that it will leave coursing through your veins. The younger, still juvenile parts of you that still want to partake, just one more hit, for old time’s sake. You’ve abstained for so long. What’s a little taste? It’ll be fun.
I’m here to tell you and reassure you that it won’t be fun. I’ve seen my share of drama. Shit, I’ve created and been the drama. Had enough experiences to know that the resulting mess is not proportional to the fun gained. In fact, the mess is much greater.
So how you do begin to untangle and avoid the knots created by the hairy monster called drama? You make yourself the finest bottle of drama conditioner. You do this by creating a code of conduct, a guideline with simple and concise action items to take when these situations in your life arise.
Follow these five steps for a less dramatic life:
1. Do Not Engage
If you come across someone who is trying to bring messy shit into your existence, to your reality, you can politely decline. If it’s you, you can choose to not show up to your own drama party. Someone else’s (or even your own) invitation for conflict is not one that you have to accept. You do not have to engage. Received an obnoxious text? Don’t respond. Someone says an unpleasant comment to you. Simply nod and go about your day. Dialogue and interactions take two people to exist and if someone is being a dick to you, feel free to leave that fool talking to themselves. Bye Felicia! And if the dick is you, take some serious self-reflection and cut that shit out! Don’t be a dick. To yourself or anyone. Ever.
2. Nip It In the Bud
Sometimes drama is unavoidable. In human relationships and connection it is bound to happen. You are relating with another human, another life force, there will likely be friction. The action here is to handle that shit and handle it quick. The best relationships I have had have not been devoid of drama but rather have been ones where any drama has been dealt with and acknowledged swiftly. The best tool for pruning a drama rose bush is communication. So take out your little communication sheers, identify the issue, express how it makes you feel and slice right thru the stem of that drama rose. Someone is making you feel angry, sad, anxious or awkward? Say that shit. You’ll be amazed at how the situation is immediately diffused and you can get back to your regularly scheduled, drama-free life and doing much more fun, drama-free things.
3. Maintain the Integrity
Be the individual that instills a foundation of integrity and be the integrity janitor that keeps that integrity floor nice and shiny. You do this by keeping your word. To yourself and to others and by being intolerant of people who do not do the same. Keeping your word to yourself builds self-respect and proves to yourself that you really are a person who sticks by what they say. That is how important integrity is; we even have to prove to ourselves that we have it. The level of peace and self-assuredness this brings will show and will begin to spill over to how you connect and relate with others. You won’t have time or patience for BS because you will know in your heart and your core that you are a no BS type of person. You live it. This will make it easier to instill these expectations of others. Further, our word is all we have. If the things you say can’t be trusted you become this being that sort of just floats around, as unpredictable and unreliable as a cloud. And what is a cloud? Nothingness. Without your word, you are quite literally nothing. When applied to the dating world, do you know how sexy this is?! There are few things quite panty-dropping like some good ol’ integrity. Lovers will be looking at you differently on this basis alone. Especially in our current dating climate of maybe’s and I don’t know’s. Be an unequivocal yes and people will react much differently to you.
4. Create and Instill Boundaries
This next step in your code of conduct ties into the maintenance of integrity. Set up parameters for behavior and treatment that you will allow and you will not allow, as soon as anyone crosses those parameters, feel free to issue an executive order that throws them out the courtroom of your life. This comes down to basic and simple respect. And what do you do to a judge? You respect them. If respect is a notion that individual is not acquainted with, well then that is not an individual you need to be acquainted with. Quite simple. Where this one gets tricky is in the follow-through and like already discussed, integrity. Expect respect and see through to getting it. Don’t be the doormat for anyone’s stomps of disrespect. It doesn’t feel good and you’ll be left all dirty. Gross.
5. Do Something Productive
This one is also pretty simple. You can quite literally, do something else! You can take a fitness class, read a book, draw a picture, pick the lint in your belly button while you contemplate the meaning of lint and its existence in your belly button, ANYTHING except participate in whatever dramafest has made its way to your life. You can literally get up and walk away. As Jay-Z says, “On to the next one!” Which can just be your next activity, a drama free one.
It’s not to say that this won’t be difficult. It will be. And like most things in life, it will be a process. There will even be times where your code of conduct flatout fails you. Or you fail your code as for whatever reason you won’t be able to follow it. You’ll be in a mood, hangry, or something will just hit a certain trigger. It happens. Especially when it comes to dating when emotions and the potential for drama are high. These are some of the times when it can be hardest to resist drama’s magnetic pull and probably the times when it would be most wise to do so. Take your sweet ass in the other direction and if someone offers you a hit, just say no.