Drama queens (DQs)are both born and made. Some kids naturally have a tendency towards histrionics (hello Max), but parenting absolutely comes into it for them to grow into fully-fledged attention-seekers. DQs have a pathological neediness that is difficult to understand, let alone manage. Everything is about them and when it’s not they’ll make it about them anyway. It’s exhausting.
If you’re ever in the middle of your own ongoing crisis and a weeping friend phones to talk about their Very Bad Day, you will know you are dealing with a DQ. If you’ve ever accidentally offended someone who just won’t let it go, you will know you are dealing with a DQ. The ‘good Samaritan’ who takes on every cause even if it’s got nothing to do with them. The friend who is utterly incensed on your behalf when you are perfectly fine thank you anyway.
This is a touchy one, mainly because any attention you give the situation will be lapped up like sugar-coated free shoes by the DQ herself. Tread carefully, though, and you just might be able to bring this one under control.
1. Ignore the behaviour, not the person
There is no way on
their god’s green earth the DQ will let you completely ignore her, but you can certainly try to ignore her behaviour. Allowing her to wail against your shoulder is bad, a gentle hand-hold with a reassuring “calm down and let’s talk about this” is good. Try not to be put-off by her over-the-top reactions because while her emotions are large, her self-esteem is not. Most DQs are just trying to reassure themselves that somebody cares about them.
2. Encourage calmness
If you’re a parent you’ll be well-versed in the adage of “reward the good, ignore the bad”. Don’t give a DQ attention when he is acting out, but save it for when he is reacting normally to a situation. So, friend misinterprets another friend’s intentions and over-reacts by loudly bad-mouthing friend = listen impassively, say absolutely nothing. Not reacting to a word a DQ says is the best way to turn him around and calm him down. DQ then says, “but I really shouldn’t be so nasty to X” = reward with huge amounts of agreement and chocolate.
3. Don’t be the audience
You don’t need to bear witness to a DQs shannannygoating. Why stay if she is making you uncomfortable? Despite what a DQ thinks, you need to look after yourself first, her second. Learn to politely say, “I think you need some time to yourself” and simply walk away. It might feel a bit rude, but remember that a DQ can’t really be a DQ without an audience. Don’t be the audience.
4. Show her you care
If this seems a direct contradiction to point 3, it sort of is and sort of isn’t. You can walk away mid-show, but remember to phone later and make sure your DQ is okay. Let her know you care about her, especially when she isn’t acting out. Remember that most of the time a DQ carries on because she wants reassurance that she matters. So, show her she matters to you but do it on your terms, not hers.
5. Enjoy the show
As long as your DQ isn’t making you feel uncomfortable by hurting others or showing off, it’s okay to sit back and enjoy the show. A little enabling probably does you both the world of good. Let’s face it, the DQ thrives on the rush of adrenalin a little drama creates and we all like a bit of that from time to time. So, every now and then, feel free to let her off the leash.
Do you have a DQ in your life? Are you a little DQ-esque yourself?Revoluzzza.]