12 behaviors that cause drama (and how to avoid them)

Getting caught up in drama can be emotionally and mentally draining.

It can start from anywhere: from forgetting to say Hi to someone or accidentally spilling someone’s secrets behind their back.

As exciting as drama is to watch on TV, it isn’t as enjoyable when you’re living it.

We are never sure how our behaviors affect others, so we need to be mindful about what we do and say, and how we react to others.

To avoid drama from even happening, it would be wise to understand these 12 behaviors that get it started in the first place.

1. Being Too Nosy About Other People’s Lives

As human beings, we’re naturally curious. Despite that, we can still go too far — specifically in trying to pry our way into someone else’s life. People need boundaries too.

Picture your aunt or uncle at a family gathering. They may be so blunt to ask, “Why aren’t you married yet?” or “What’s your job? There’s better opportunities out there for you, you know.”

Though they mean well, it can lead to uncomfortable conversations that you aren’t prepared to have in front of your family.

Understand that people have their own lives to live; that’s why it’s important to remember to stay in your lane and focus on your own life.

If a friend truly does have a concern with their life, they’ll let you know.

2. Lying To Others

Dishonesty is the easiest way to cause drama. The smallest little lie could snowball into an entire performance piece that you have to keep up until you become tired of it.

Say you’ve been given a complicated assignment at work. When your boss asks you if you understand it, you lie and say “Yes” to impress them. You think that you can figure it out as you go along anyway. It’s a small lie — for now.

But as the project moves along, you begin to doubt yourself. As the deadline gets closer and closer, admitting to your dishonesty will only make the consequences more severe.

It’s better to be honest about not understanding what you have to do at the start, rather than admit it halfway through the timeline, when time and energy has already been spent.

Colleagues might have to scramble to salvage a shoddy execution, all because of a little lie.

3. Letting Your Ego Get The Best Of You

When working with a team, there is always that question about who gets the credit.

Taking credit for jobs well done has been a common source of drama among colleagues; no company is immune to it.

There are always going to be people that want to be at the forefront, taking credit for everyone’s work.

Such bouts for credit could escalate into an all-out war. The price, however, is a shattered relationship and erasure of any opportunity to recreate what you made together.

This is what happens when people’s egos get the best of them.

While there’s no right way of navigating such situations, it’s always important to keep in mind the virtues of humility and honesty while hashing it out with your teammates; sometimes, reaching a compromise might be your best option to maintain the relationship.

4. Reacting Too Quickly

Your partner suddenly gets angry with you. Your child says that they want to pursue the arts rather than law, like you’ve always wanted them to.

Instinctual reactions to these moments might be anger or disappointment.

It would be easy to retaliate to your partner with equally hurtful words or pass on your sadness to your child.

These quick reactions are what cause further drama; they’re thoughtless and have consequences.

When you pause and stop to think about how to react, it allows you to avoid drama from even starting in the first place.

When you take a step back and think about your own actions, you can better talk about them to your partner.

When you hold back from expressing sadness to your kid, you can take the time to understand their decision with a calmer head.

5. Not Being Clear With What You Mean

Being unclear leads to miscommunication and sparks frustration and drama among people.

It’s like playing a game of Telephone, where you have to pass along a message to the next person. When the higher-ups tell you to coordinate with others and you explain instructions in a roundabout way, it can lead to your manager saying, “That wasn’t what I asked for,”

When you want to resolve an issue with your partner, your choice of words can make or break the relationship. “I love you” and “I love being with you” are two very different things.

Being clear with your feelings and thoughts helps avoid unnecessary arguments and heartbreak.

6. Passing The Blame

When people are unwilling to admit that they were wrong, it causes drama because the problem lingers.

A common reason why people aren’t willing to admit that they were at fault is that they wouldn’t want to tarnish their reputation — it doesn’t always have to be in a work setting too.

When you’re at home and someone eats the last of the cookies, but no one is willing to admit it, it causes frustrations and emotional stress.

Taking responsibility for one’s actions is an act of courage. Set an example and be the better person the next time you make a mistake.

7. Leaving Issues Unaddressed

There’s a tendency to want to avoid confrontation as much as possible.

While this is understandable, it can erupt into drama as it goes on for longer.

When someone in a relationship is being too harsh, but their partner doesn’t want to bring it up, it’s likely to fester and become much worse.

The relationship begins to become rocky and complicated.

Their partner ends up holding on until they finally can’t take it anymore, causing a nasty argument and break up.

If they had just been upfront, a relationship-breaking argument could’ve easily been avoided.

8. Expecting Everyone Thinks The Same Way You Do

Not everyone thinks the way that you do; assuming otherwise is what’s going to cause conflict and drama.

Where one might see a job opportunity, you might see it as a mistake.

When you don’t take the time to understand why they’re willing to leave their current job, and you start dictating what they should and shouldn’t do, you’re likely to get into an argument with them.

The best thing to do is to always try to listen and understand where a person is coming from. Try to see it from their perspective and don’t be too quick to judge.

9. Participating In The Drama

The more people that talk about a certain piece of gossip, the worse it gets.

When you take part in the gossipping, you encourage others to do the same — it’s exponential. It turns a small issue into a bigger deal than it needs to be.

The best way to avoid drama is to, well, avoid drama; don’t entertain people when they start talking to you about what someone allegedly did.

There’s nothing to benefit from talking about someone behind their backs.

10. Playing Favorites

When a teacher treats a certain student differently — they’re more kind to them when they’re ruthless with others — it spreads frustration and anger.

It’s difficult to like everyone that we meet. There are bound to be people in your life that you’d rather spend an afternoon with over everyone else.

The problem arises when you begin treating people differently.

When you’re explicit about how much you’re willing to do for one person but not another, it creates a boundary in relationships.

The boundary is what encourages others to detach from you, and maybe even find other friends to be with.

11. Having No Filter

We all have random thoughts that pop up in our minds when we meet people.

We can notice when they have a pimple on their cheek or when they’re shorter than we thought.

While there’s nothing wrong with having these thoughts (since we have no control over them anyway), it’s especially important to understand what to do with it.

Not every thought needs to be expressed. If you point out a pimple, chances are the person already knows that, and you’ve just ruined their self-esteem, which could cause them to dislike you. Some things are better kept to yourself.

12. Holding Grudges

Holding a grudge can be emotionally draining.

When you continue to dislike someone based on what they did in the past, it can be difficult to form any meaningful relationship together — especially if you work together or if you run in the same social circles.

The best way to avoid drama is to let go of the grudge or find it within you to forgive the person. If it’s been years, they’ve most likely changed and learned from their past.

Drama tends to lead to more drama. It can cause fractured relationships and unnecessary aggression between people.

It’s better to address the issues at the source as soon as possible rather than wait for them to simply go away.

Time may heal all wounds, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get started treating the emotional stress of drama.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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