Hey love! I am so, so happy to be bringing you a brand new episode of The REL Show (more on that in a minute!). Today’s show is about dealing with dramatic, toxic people, aka soul suckers. Soul suckers are great people too, and we can love them hard, but there is definitely some boundaries that we need to draw around ourselves in order to not get SUCKED IN.
This is all about being a kind, loving person, and a good friend (or daughter or employee or whatever), all while staying above the drama. I find that I have to take a strategically subtle approach to building boundaries with soul suckers, because dramatic people usually don’t appreciate any resistance. If they see that I’m disagreeing with their attitude or way of doing things, that will often feed their craving for conflict, and they’ll pretty much try to start a fight. So I have to be sneaky about it.
I know you understand this “craving for conflict” that I’m talking about, because we all have a tendency towards it. It’s why we watch the Real Housewives throwing things at each other, it’s why we can’t look away when some self-entitled customer starts freaking out about the waiter getting their order wrong. We usually don’t want to be in the middle of it, but we do get some sick adrenaline rush from watching it. I think that overly dramatic, toxic people take it one step farther than the average person, and they actually enjoy being a part of the chaos. So they knowingly or unknowingly try to create it.
The good news is we can disrupt their frantic, toxic energy by bringing a still, healthy energy to the relationship. If they walk into the room and announce OHMYGOD I CAN’Y BELIEVE THEY DID THAT TO ME, you don’t have to play into their hand and be all like ‘OMG What? Tell me what happened!!”, but you don’t have to completely ignore them either (that would piss them off and raise their frantic energy level, you know?). In these types of situations, I like to take a breath, and answer casually with something like, “What’s going on?”, in a way that implies I could take or leave their answer. I love them, but I’m not gonna let my day be ruined by their drama.
There’s this analogy people throw around, involving water and gasoline, and I think it's fitting here. Every person goes through life carrying a bucket of water in one hand, and a bucket of gasoline in the other. All through our lives, we encounter fires. Some fires need to be stoked and could really use our gasoline-for example, we believe in someone’s dream and fuel their passion. But in some cases, our water is the best response. If a person is being crazy dramatic, then behaving calmly and casually can be the water needed to cool down their fire.
Hope this gives you something to think about this weekend…And be on the lookout for ways in which YOU might even be creating the drama. If you spot it in your own life, don’t beat yourself up, but just try become aware of it. That creates some good space between the healthy you and the toxic part of you, and lets some possibility for change come into that space.
Before I go, I really need to give some love to my team of collaborators making this episode possible. I had been making the show without much help for a long time, and it was getting to be too much. I reached out to my community- and people listened! I have now partnered with 38 “patrons” via patreon.com to be able to continue making episodes for everyone to enjoy. If you’d like to be a part of this community of co-collaborators yourself, check out patreon.com/arielforhire and take a look.
Much, much love!