“I try to live simply, but drama just keeps following me around…”

Are you that person who swears they hate drama, yet it seems to follow you around every corner? Are you the one who tries to stay out of it, but one “gossipy” conversation with a friend and you’re all of a sudden second in command? Don’t you ever just want to say, “listen: ‘not my circus, not my monkeys?’”

People are constantly surrounded by the “he saids” and the “she saids” and getting upset over little things like, “she left me at the party” or “he invited all his friends to our date night.” They get caught in the mundane, picking apart at the time a friend was a little late and then blowing it up into World World 3. Or, taking a compliment and turning it into a criticism.

Why? Why do people focus on these little conflicts that so easily could be breathed away, that so easily could just be chalked up to “that one time” and instead choose to be happy?

People focus on life’s little tantrums to distract themselves from what’s truly going on in one’s life: Insecurities in relationships, friendships, body image, or success. But, the kicker is, we don’t have to condone it or be involved if we don’t want to be. So, how do we stay out of it?What can we do when we’re the ones who don’t like the drama and don’t want to obsess over the little stuff? What can we do when we’re just the soundboard for a friend’s drama? Because being the listener of a friend can slowly turn your peaceful day into a toxic one!

Slowly, we get pulled down a rabbit hole of gossip, negativity, and disbelief over something that has nothing to do with us and that we don’t even see is an issue.

Below are 5 different ways to phase yourself out of the unwanted and irrelevant drama!

Phase 1: Offer an alternative point of view

Just because a friend wants to see a situation in a negative light doesn’t mean that you have to! Next time a friend says, “I can’t believe she did that” counter with “but do you think she meant it that way?” If she rants for twenty minutes about how unfair her boss is for not trusting her with something, ask her if she’s considered the fact that it may not be about her and not to take it personally.

Phase 2: Suggest talking to the person directly

After listening to a friend talk about another friend’s behavior for an hour, don’t get involved (that always just blows up in your face!) Ask her, “have you tried talking to them about it?” Most times, drama is the result of miscommunication. If a friend is truly a friend, she would never try to intentionally hurt you. Speak up. No one likes confrontation, but it’s better than obsessing over something that the other person in unaware of.

Phase 3: Change the subject

Sometimes a friend just needs to be redirected. They just have to be given the opportunity to think about something else instead of obsessing over a thing in the past. Try to segue into something positive: “But, how amazing was your night, besides that?” or “What are your plans for tomorrow?”

Phase 4: Tune out

If your friend doesn’t get the social cues that you don’t want to talk about it, just listen without attachment. Nod, comment occasionally with the “mhmms,” but it’s not your problem. If you get involved, it just leaves you feeling drained and disconnected. Your friend may just genuinely have to vent, but you don’t have to feel sucked of your light because of it.

Phase 5: Just say no

It’s a hard one because for some reason we feel like by saying no, we’re hurting their feelings. But, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your beautiful day because a friend is obsessed with a rumor (that isn’t even true!) Tell them you no longer want to talk about it. Have you ever said those words? “Hey, can we stop talking about this? It’s making me uncomfortable.” Or, “I’d rather be left out of this.”

At the end of the day, don’t choose a friend’s satisfaction over your own happiness. Everyone has drama once in awhile, everyone needs to vent occasionally, but the difference is whether or not you pull other people’s moods down with you. Let things go, shift your views, and remember that in the grand scheme of life, none of the drama is ever worth it.

Jordan Nicholson graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where she studied innovative coaching methods, over 100 dietary theories, and practical lifestyle management techniques. She also is a certified yoga instructor (200 hr RYT) and has a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from University of Iowa.