Welcome to my post in response to the latest meme by Strawberry Singh, the Teach Me Something Meme!
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I don’t like drama. Hearing, “OMG, did you hear about what this person did to that person!” doesn’t get me off. I don’t like reading notecards filled to the brim with one person stepping up to defend another, and in their turn only adding more fuel to the fire.
I like it even less when I find drama knocking at my doorstep. It’s one of those things that makes my stomach turn – like watching Criminal Minds where a child has been kidnapped and is being abused, or Hannibal where a loving couple has had their bodies flayed like a winning entrée on Masterchef.
For me, I consider life – BOTH my lives – to be way too short to have them filled with negativity, rudeness or just down-right meanness. So below are the principles I try to employ to avoid drama:
Be Nice. While this probably seems like an over-simplified principle, it works wonders to stave off drama before it can take root. People like dealing with nice people, and it can be the basis for a wonderful and long-lasting personal or business relationship.
Do Unto Others. We’ve all heard the old adage, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” but how many of us truly follow it? I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it’s easier said than done, but I can also say that anytime I’ve followed this rule, even when it was hard to do, I never, ever regretted it.
Give Respect, Even When It’s Not Given. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we feel we have been wronged by someone, and when we confront them about it, they may make excuses or even lie to defend their actions. Does it do either party any good to get into an argument about whether or not the excuse is true, to spend valuable time laying blame or, even worse, attacking that person? No. Know what you are willing to accept as a resolution to the issue and take the straightest course to get there and be done with it. Don’t get distracted by the small crap that doesn’t directly affect the solution to the problem. Remember, it takes two to create drama.
Offer a solution. If you sense a situation could become drama, head it off at the pass by offering a solution. For example, sometimes comments are left on Seraphim that attack a designer, say for example, that a mesh alpha didn’t match the item it was sold with, and the person feels Seraphim is the proper place to resolve such an issue. Since keeping drama at bay is one of the blog’s main goals, I will trash the comment, but before I do so, I will typically contact the person that left it and offer them a solution. Why not contact the creator directly and see if they can help resolve the issue? Which brings me to my next point…
You Don’t Need an Audience. If you have a problem with someone, go to them directly – one-on-one – to sort it out. Don’t pull up your virtual soapbox in the middle of the town square to try to find out where it went wrong. No one likes to be humiliated, and the person you are choosing to attack could have made an accidental mistake vs. a deliberate one, but you would never know that without discussing the issue first. Calling someone out in front of an audience isn’t the best way to get them to work with you. It will immediately put them on the defensive.
Be Willing to Compromise. Conflict is created when both parties firmly believe they are right and just, but does that mean common ground cannot be found? As mentioned above, offer a solution. They may refuse it or they may come back with one of their own. You’ll never know until you try. If both parties feel like they gained a little and they lost a little, then you reached a good compromise.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes. Before you go running to your friends with the latest gossip, so excited to start bashing someone and delight in their misfortune, stop for a minute to think how you would feel if it was YOU being bashed. Usually the person causing the harm in a situation has the largest following because as we all know, bad news travels fast, and usually the possibly innocent party has already had a barrel of rotten tomatoes thrown in their face before they even knew they were on the stage.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say… I’m sorry or I was wrong. We all make mistakes, and sometimes that’s hard to admit to our closest friends or family, much less to someone we just know in some virtual game, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Back in September, one of my best friends and I had a huge falling out, where a compromise could not be reached. We both walked away from the situation, and though we stopped talking, I never stopped thinking of her and how I missed her. I tried reaching out once or twice with no response, but after giving it some time and getting up the guts to try again, she responded, and we both decided to give our friendship another chance. We haven’t talked about the issue that caused the rift between us, because we know that what matters is that we both still care for each other and want to share the time given to us on things that make us happy, not things that create turmoil. Saying “I’m sorry,” or “I was wrong,” is a small price to pay when so much can be gained by doing so.
Don’t Attack. If someone has upset you, attacking them will only make the situation worse and serves no purpose. Instead of saying, “You did this,” or “You did that,” tell them how their actions made you FEEL. “When you did that, it made me feel __________.” When you do this, no one can argue with how you felt about something, and it shows what the real heart of the problem is – that you felt hurt by their actions, not pissed off about the actions themselves.
If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say it. If you are responding to a “high drama potential” situation via text, write out your response first, but don’t send it. Think about it for at least a few hours, if not overnight, and see if you feel the same way when you come back to it. If you’re talking in IMs or chat and you see that things are going south and fast, don’t be afraid to say, “I’m sorry, but I can’t talk about this anymore right now,” and then take the time to put your thoughts in an email or notecard so that you can make sure you say exactly what you want.
Be the better man. Every situation needs a hero. It’s not weakness to be willing to work with someone or again, admit you were wrong. Ask what you can do to make things right. Step up and be proud to do what others would not.
Be Willing to Walk Away. Despite our best efforts when applying the above principles, sometimes it’s a sad truth that not all situations can be fixed. When that happens, know that you gave it your best shot and be willing to let it go. Holding onto negativity or anger only hurts yourself. The other person probably doesn’t give a second thought to how they behaved in the situation, so don’t give them the satisfaction of getting the best of you.
Kill Them with Kindness. This last point really sums up all of the above in a nutshell. Whether someone is willing to work with you to reach a solution or they aren’t, you can still choose to make the best of the situation regardless of their actions. They may have had their part to play in the outcome of a situation, but they can’t control how you react to it. Give every situation your very best effort and you always come out a winner.