5 Ways to Deal with Dramatic People

Have you ever dealt with someone who was overdramatic? This can be a family member, a friend, an acquaintance, or even a stranger. They may say things that often times are exaggerated or act in ways to get attention, which can often cause lots of frustration when dealing with them. I’m sure everybody has gone through these types of situations before.

For example, I had a roommate who was a very in-your-face type of person, meaning he talked to you in a very loud way where the topic matter wasn’t emotional at all. I had an aunt that always needed to be right. She enjoyed turning small, trivial matters into a drama fest that drew the attention of the entire family, which would result in loud arguments.

I also had an ex-girlfriend who would talk to me endlessly about her problems of her chaotic relationship with her college boyfriend – a super senior, gambler, and a drug dealer. Now, if there’s one type of people that get on my nerves, it’s people that turn small issues into big drama.

Now, if there’s one type of people that get on my nerves, it’s people that turn small issues into big drama. I’m not saying these people were bad; they were good people. But sometimes good people can still frustrate you. And I realized that if I couldn’t deal with 3 people, how could I possibly deal with hundreds of other people that would appear later on in my life? If you’re a person who finds themselves leaning more towards the rational, calm side of being, here are a 5 ways that I’ve learned over the past to help you deal with dramatic people.

Don’t Judge People Right Off the Bat

The reason I say this is because is you never know where people come from or what their background is. Both of these things don’t pop in your head during a heated moment. A person’s past and their environment will often shape up their beliefs and who they are when you dealing with them in the moment. Once a person has a firm belief about what is the right way to act and speak, it’s very difficult to change them, especially in one setting.

For example, my roommate had come from Shanghai, and from what I’ve heard from my teacher and from other people in Taiwan, is that people from Shanghai normally talk loud and are very fast paced. The pushy-shovy, get-things-done mentality, is normal in the type of environment that is very busy and metropolitan. My aunt was divorced about a decade ago and had to raise a child by herself. I can see why see has a masculine personality because she has to take the role of a mother and a father at the same time. My ex girlfriend was a person who needed to talk and needed a person next to her side to talk to her about her problems all the time (This is why we broke up back then :( ).

Don’t Feed the Ego

Second, is to never give into feeding the ego. Most of the times, people who frustrating or dramatic often times are very much identified with their ego. Their sense of identity often lies in perhaps winning the argument at all costs, or showing people that they are right, or even putting you down so that they can feel more superior.

If you never give in and you kind of reply always reply in a way that’s sort of neutral (e.g. “I see,” “I understand,” “Yes”) you may confused the person, or even take them off guard with your peaceful reply. Whatever drama that happens will soon end because there’s no resistance. People who are frustrating or cause drama often times look to the other people reply in a way that will feed off of what they are saying, (e.g. “I don’t think you’re right…” “Not really…” “Are you sure about that…?”) These responses are just begging for more drama.

You have to be aware and ask yourself an important question in case you somehow happen to be in a dramatic argument, “Do I try to win this argument which can take more of my time and feel frustrated, or leave this argument as soon as possible and feel calm?” Some people will serious go through lengths of time (hours and hours) just to win and argument, but at the end, they don’t feel any much better. And although after a period of time, realize that they have just seriously hurt another person’s feelings, which backfires on them later on.

Condition Their Behavior in a Positive Way

Third, sometimes you will deal with people that are seriously important in your life. I hope you don’t ever have to have this happen to you, but most likely you will find yourself stuck in a situation where you have to deal with dramatic people all day long. This can be a demanding boss or a negative friend (one that you care for). What you do is you condition their behavior in a subtle way, but positive way.

If you have a boss who is mean, one way to change their behavior is to do things that show them the positive aspects of themselves. You have to emphasize it to make them focus on their rare positive traits though, or they will continue with their ways. For example, if your boss was somewhat encouraging to you, you might say, “Hey, thanks, that means a lot to me. I think it will help me do this task better” instead of “Thanks.” Doing this will let them be more are that they are changing someone’s day, rather than just being the role of a boss.

“If you’re dealing with a negative friend who’s always down, don’t make him or her focus on the bad things. Be observant. Compliment or praise them for whatever small things they are doing. For example, you friend may be writing and suddenly say something that’s kind of unique. You may say, “Hey, what you said there was pretty cool. Do you read often?” or “Hey, what you did there was pretty unique. I wish I had that ability. Can you teach me?” Drama is negative energy and usually comes from a negative attitude. By changing a person’s behavior to a positive one, you will often times get a positive person who is less inclined to creating drama.

The Straight Forward Response

Then there is the straightforward, no B.S. approach. You don’t give in to the drama, you just tell the person how you are feeling, what you’re true opinion is, and you get out. Sometimes people are so consumed in their drama that they don’t even know that they are! They are unconscious when this is happening because they are no longer talking; it is a voice inside that is talking for them, and the only way to get them is to snap them back into reality.

This is performed by using a direct straight forward response of how you really feel, perhaps showing them another side of you, a bold, confident, strong side that suddenly and completely takes them off guard, (e.g. “Hey, look.”) It’s just like sending an email that has one or two sentences of concise and effective points, instead of a long-winding passage of a person’s biography. The most effective ways to get to people are sometimes the simplest ways.

Avoid Drama from the Start

Finally, if you don’t want to be around dramatic people, the best solution is to just not be near them. If you have a crazy boss, get a new job. If you have an overloud roommate, live alone. If you have a dramatic ex girlfriend, get a new one (yay, for me :) ). The point is drama only happens when there are other people to talk about drama. Of course, we can experience drama ourselves individually, but that’s for another topic. Drama is like fire. It can only spread when there are inflammable things nearby. If you don’t start the fire, the fire will not be able to start itself. Similarly, stay away from drama in the first place, and you will be drama-free.