When you come face-to-face with a drama queen/king, what do you do?
Toward the end of one semester, I had my students working on a specific task in small groups. I moved from group to group asking questions, providing clarification as needed, and enjoying the student engagement. Then I got to THE group. As soon as I approached, one of these adult (at least in calendar years) students yelled at me (yes, she yelled at me): “I don’t like your activity!”
My initial response to the student, “I really don’t care if you like my activity. My job is not to please you. It is to provide educationally sound instruction and guidance in a civil and engaging manner. It would be a bonus if you ‘liked’ my activity—but it is not a requirement.” She quieted down—and we got to the bottom of what the real problem was (e.g., interpersonal group dynamics).
How many people do you run across or work with or live with who believe the world must please them each day? None? Too many?
Sure it is possible the person in question just had a bad moment in bad day. Or that there is another/deeper issue present. Or it could be the attitude and behavior have been an ongoing issue (as was the case in the situation above). In the latter case, we are looking at one example of an energy vampire: The Drama Queen/King.
When you come face-to-face with a drama queen/king, what do you do? Cower? Run the other way? Give in and let him/her hold court? Or do you set clear boundaries and limits for civil discourse? (Hence my explanation that I’m not here to “please you” and do things “you like.” My responsibility is to provide the very best service/product that I can. From my experiences, when I do that—provide excellence—then people tend to be pleased. It’s generally not the other way around.)
Also consider this: Do you seem to always find yourself with drama queens/kings—in most every situation you are in? Then ask yourself what the common denominator is. Is it you? Are you enabling the behaviors? Again, boundaries and limits may help here. If it is too difficult of a situation to confront (or even too dangerous) the help of a mentor, coach or counselor may be worth considering.
As some of you know, I distribute “HTRB” (Hit the Reset Button) bands when I speak. I also had a limited supply of “YDAMD” (Your Drama Ain’t My Drama) bands made. Each time I made them available after one of my presentations there was always a line. A lot of people can identify.
In some cases, the DQ/K simply needs a little reality check. She/he may be on the whole a decent person who doesn’t quite understand the ramifications of the behavior. At other times, minimizing contact might be appropriate.
Video recommendation for the week:
What do you do when confronted with a DQ/K? What have you found to be effective strategies?
Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.
Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.
(c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.