I know a number of people that seem to live in drama. Everything is a catastrophe and nothing can be done to fix it. These people are always explaining their situation and asking for advice. Yet, are they really asking for advice?
My observation is our drama-prone acquaintances really do not want any advice. They merely want to share their perspective on their situation and have you agree that it is indeed unfair to them. It’s true that women more than men need to talk to think about a situation and often all they really want is for someone to listen. I’m not talking about those people as I’m one of them. When I ask for your opinion, I truly want it.
I’m talking about the people who explain their circumstances, are offered a possible solution, and then the first word out of their mouth is “But…”. They go on to explain why the possible solution isn’t a solution at all.
I’ve given up on trying to help them see their circumstances from a different perspective. I listen empathetically and reinforce that their situation must be difficult for them; yet, I no longer am drawn into their drama. A single interaction with me is not going to change a drama-prone person. It took me a while to realize some people enjoy living in chaos, and when there isn’t any, they manufacture it. I’ll let the professionals explain that personality type.
So when I do encounter that drama-prone person, I remind myself that boundaries are important. Although boundaries can be hard for those of us who are caring, giving people, they can be an important tool to save us from ourselves. If you haven’t read much about boundaries, I highly recommend Henry Cloud and John Townsend’s book, Boundaries. You’ll learn how to use boundaries to preserve your sanity and the relationships that matter.