Avoiding drama is easy and oh, so refreshing if you know how.
“Did you hear Cathy has a meeting with our boss this afternoon? She’s totally going to tell him about our long lunch 3 weeks ago — we’re screwed!!”
“Mom! Lindsay said her mom said you didn’t call her back about carpooling. She wants to know if you think she’s a bad driver!”
We’ve all been here, right? Chugging along through the day and WHAM! Drama.
The tough thing about drama is that you don’t always realize as it’s approaching. You’re cruising through your day and suddenly are knee deep in he-said-she-said. You just know it’s draining your valuable time and energy.
Never fear, friends. Here are some surefire ways to avoid drama and beat it back to the hole it came from! …while staying zen of course. :)
Avoiding Drama at Work
Ah… it was the best of times and it was the worst of times… right?
Who you work with significantly impacts your day to day life. I’d dare say we’ve all been in situations where our co-workers did more harm than good. But, for better or worse, they’re apart of our day to day lives.
If you play your cards right, the people you work with can be great allies instead of sucking you into drama.
1. Stay out of it
Here is the golden rule of avoiding drama with coworkers, are you ready?
If they do it WITH you, they’ll do it TO you.
Meaning, if they talk about other coworkers to you, they will talk about YOU to other coworkers. So, STAY OUT OF IT. For the love of everything green, stay. out. of. it.
If you become the go-to for “She did WHAT?!” reactions, you’ll soon become the source.
2. Be professional
Sometimes you can’t stay out of it. I’m sorry, I swear I’m not trying to confuse you. But, there are times when something is DIRECTLY related to you or you’re approached by your direct supervisor regarding something.
In those cases, think about what could come back around. Be professional, address the issue at hand ONLY, and ONLY speak to people directly involved.
3. Recognize toxic people
I’ve worked in a lot of places and learned one thing – there’s always the same “brands” of toxic people. In order to avoid drama, you MUST learn to recognize these people. They are:
- Debbie Downer (hilarious Saturday Night Live skit by the way).
They release a new system for data entry — it seems great! Debbie points out all the negatives, talks about you all losing your jobs to computers, and goes home early with a “stress headache”.
How to deal with Debbie: Smile, ask her about her cat, and move on with your life.
- Suzy Talks-a-Lot (yes, like in Elf):
“Hey, Suzy! How was your weekend?”
“Well, my second cousin was put in jail again and so we had to take his kids because his wife left him for another guy who used to be my son’s best friend but now he owns a barber shop on 10th.”
How to deal with Suzy: Make sure to talk about only superficial things with Suzy. Otherwise before you know it, the entire office and town will know your secrets. Smile, ask her about her cat, and move on with your life.
- Fake Nancy (nothing cute for this one -it’s just who they are!)
This is one of the most difficult toxic people to recognize. Nancy gets in with you the first week of work. She feeds you ‘tips and tricks’ of the office while gaining trust. The trouble is, she has her own agenda.
More often than not, Nancy has be exiled from the rest of the office for one reason or another. Pouncing on the new person guarantees a friend in the office!
How to deal with Nancy: Make sure to get the lay of the land on your own before getting in too tightly with any one person.
Upper management takes note of who you become friends with at work (which is another reason why avoiding drama is super important). Nancy could be on their last leg with everyone there and you don’t want to attach yourself to a sinking ship.
To avoid drama with Nancy, be cordial, ask her about her cat, and move on with your life.
- Here’s a post that will help you learn how to stop attracting toxic people (a.k.a. “psychic vampires”).
4. Social Media
I don’t have a tip for you here. Just kidding… but I do consider this a grey area. It all depends on how you use social media — and which platform you use.
The most popular platform but also the easiest to get into trouble with.
As a general rule, I would say to wait for coworkers to send YOU a friend request. If no one does, then just leave it be. Don’t go “friend fishing” your coworkers.
Sometimes, coworkers have been in the corporate culture longer than you so “friend-ing on Facebook” is clearly not something that’s done in this particular office.
If someone does send you a friend request, evaluate it. Think about where you “check-in”, what kind of topics you post about and share, photos, etc. This will ALL paint a different picture of you than what they see at work. All of it.
If you decide not to accept someone’s request, make it a rule for ALL of your coworkers to avoid drama.
Tip: When you get into work the next day, pull that one person aside, thank them for their request but let them know you have a rule not to accept any coworkers.
- Instagram and Twitter
Avoiding coworker drama on Instagram and Twitter is pretty easy.
For Instagram, just be sure your photos aren’t too “exposing…” and I’ll leave it there. Otherwise there shouldn’t be a problem here.
For Twitter, evaluate what you post, same as Facebook, but again it’s not as personal so there shouldn’t be an issue.
Ah, Facebook for professionals. The tricky thing with LinkedIn is, if you want to look for a new job, coworkers can see you beefing up your profile, uploading a new headshot, and changing your header.
Keep this in mind when making ‘connections’ on LinkedIn!
Whew! Don’t you feel so much better now? Navigating the workplace while avoiding drama can feel like walking through a minefield, but I’ve got your back.
And, you know I’m not going to leave you hanging… let’s tackle drama in your personal life as well.
Avoiding Drama in Your Personal Life
Don’t even pretend you didn’t think this was going to be first. Facebook is basically the king of all drama-kings right now!
While it may be easy to shut your coworkers down on Facebook, it’s not so easy for family members.
Do you all have that one distant relative that posts something controversial 5x’s a day? I know I do!
Soon your whole news feed is arguments between them and their friends. Oy!
Let me introduce you to a little button called “unfollow”. It’s a lifesaver because you can still be “friends” but not see ALL THEIR STUFF ALL THE TIME.
Also, Facebook has a nifty little feature called “lists”. Did you go on a cruise and don’t want Grandma Annie and Uncle Tom to see all your bikini pictures? Create a list of those family members in your “friends” section.
Then, when you post, click audience, more, custom, and then exclude that list. Easy peasy.
Baby Showers and Wedding Showers and Bar Mitzvahs, Oh My!
You’ve been going and going for the last two weeks and can’t wait to curl up on the couch this weekend and binge watch Billions.
Then you get the text, “Hey, you’re going to your cousin Jake’s graduation party this weekend, right?”
You frantically drop what you’re doing, get a card, get a present, dress up, show up, take some photos, and lose half your weekend, right?
Wrong! Well, not always wrong, but take a second to think about what is necessary.
A lot of our stress and drama is from internal pressure.
We feel as though we HAVE to do x y and z or else… what?
I’m not saying to skip out on important events, but make sure they’re important to you.
Sticking up for your time in a firm yet gentle way drastically avoid drama and save your weekend (and sanity).
“Aunt Sue! It’s great to hear from you. I hope all is well. I am unfortunately unable to make it this weekend. However, a card is in the mail for Jake! Please give him a hug and kiss for me and make sure to take a lot of photos!”.
And cue Netflix.
Well friend, I hope this gives you a good road map for avoiding drama. I’m a big supporter of avoiding drama because doing so has drastically changed my life. I wish the same for you!
Next read: What to do when the people you love are energy vampires (we all know and love one!).