>> Friday, May 29, 2009
Nominally, I take questions in order, but I give special consideration to those questions/needs that are most immediate - like needing a sympathetic ear or reassurance. So, first, I'm going to focus on Lola and Quadmama. But I will get to the others this weekend, I promise.
Lola told me: I have a question. How do you stop friendship drama? Drama #1 Where I used to work there was constant drama. I was always accused of being the source of that drama, however I am friends with a co-worker and the drama persist almost 2 years after I left. I realize now that this co-worker that I'm friends with is the likely perpetuator of the drama. She's the nicest person, truly, but I spoke with her today and got sucked into work drama and I don't even work there. Drama #2 A woman whom I met on a mental health support group (who I email off and on about the health of each of our daughters) sent me a cryptic email wanting me to call her at work to discuss an issue. Turns out the woman wanted advice on "coming out" and has all kinds of husband drama (hacking her email, friend's email, etc.) I spoke with her today, but I just don't want to get involved with the drama. I gave her a resource for married women coming out, but I really don't want to be her "coming out" mentor. I didn't have one and I survived just fine. Also, she already told her parents and several other relatives and they are all very supportive. What is it about me that is attracting this drama? I have no friends to speak of, other than the former co-worker. I have more than my fair share of personal drama. I need some drama free friends in my real life, not just online. I'm serious!
Poor Lola, I really feel for you. I've heard there is a curse that says, "May you live in interesting times." Actually, I've lived that curse. I used to think my life was boring until it was a roller coaster nightmare and then I appreciated my previous dullness. Nothing like a spot of Mexican soap opera to make you appreciate going back to the documentary mode.
There are all kinds of drama and work drama is often the most frustrating, especially when you can't really discern all the dynamics of it. And, even feeling sympathetic for someone in a situation you've been in yourself (like "coming out" when married).
A little drama when your life is on an even keel, a little sympathy when you're not at wit's end--everyone can handle that. But when you're in up to your eyeballs with life's struggles, when your own battles are far from over, when it's peace you crave, more drama is the last thing you need.
I wish I could tell you how to eliminate your life's extra drama effectively. If I knew, I would have used that magic a long time ago. The best advice I can give you if people you know want to drop more drama on you than you can handle is to be frank with them, set limits on what you do and be clear with your friends when something is more than you can handle. Good friends can take the truth.
If you don't protect yourself, you won't be able to help anyone.
I hear you, Lola. Good luck.