Stop Being a Drama Queen, Get Bored and Become Happy Instead!

time to let the drama go!

A guest post by Arvind Devalia of Make It Happen

Have you ever noticed how some people just seem to have so much drama in their lives?

Whereas some people breeze through life, others seem to live from one crisis to another. Some people just seem to crave drama, create drama and look for drama.

The word that is used to describe such a person is a “drama queen” – this is generally slang for someone who makes a fuss about nothing, in a histrionic manner.

Now as far as I know this applies to both men and women. Researching for this article I also came across the phrase “drama king” but that is in much less common usage.

So for the sake of this discussion, please kindly assume that the phrase “drama queen” applies to both genders. There is no emphasis intended here on either men or women:-)

So what does it mean when someone is being a drama queen?

Well, it is a person who simply over-reacts very emotionally to any little setback e.g. missing the bus. Usually they have an emotional outburst totally out of proportion to the thing that has upset them i.e. the trigger. Quite often, there is no trigger.

Their behaviour often comes as a shock, a surprise and an embarrassment to any newcomers around them

There is usually a whirlwind of activity around them and they usually go around in a flurry. They just needlessly become over dramatic whenever their own private little world is disturbed just a bit.

Does this remind you of anyone? Or heaven forbid, do you see any such characteristics in yourself?!

Of course if you are a regular reader of Good Life Zen, you will be fairly chilled out by now:-)

The other thing with drama queens is that people around them feel they have to be extra cautious – it is as if they are walking on egg shells.

Who do you know in your life that is such a drama queen?

If you have watched the movie “Gone with Wind”, you will recognise one of the main characters Scarlett O’Hara who can be described as a classic drama queen. She was a very capable lady but was her own worst enemy with her craziness and histrionics.

Television soap operas are usually full of drama queens and kings – dramatic, larger than life characters who swing from one crisis to another.

Yet some operas have become compulsive viewing and usually the most dramatic roles are the more popular characters.

I don’t even have a television set anymore, but when I used to watch one of the British soaps, I wondered if people really led such drama filled lives. Maybe this is where real life drama queens learn about their station in life.

Even worse for seeing drama queens in action, I believe are the reality TV shows. Do people really, really have such drama in their lives? Can anyone’s life be that messed up?

Maybe I have just been lucky or I have had a very sheltered life. Or perhaps I have just led a very boring life!

I am sure some people’s lives aren’t great, but what is the point of washing your laundry in public? And how much of it is stirred up by the TV production people?

Does it really make for great TV?

So what makes a drama queen? What do they get out of it and what’s their payoff?

And more importantly how can one stop being one?

The real question really is why do people create such drama in their lives.

Of course a person who seems to be behaving as a drama queen can be genuinely in trouble, in which case we must support and help them if and as appropriate.

Putting aside any underlying medical causes or genuine reasons, here are the reasons why a person may create so much drama in their life:-

1. Boredom

This is probably one of the main reasons why drama queens behave the way they do – they are simply bored!

Creating drama and a scene makes them feel that something interesting is going to happen.

There may be an underlying insecurity and their drama a distraction, so no one can ever see just how vulnerable and hopeless they feel.

2. Family background

If the television soap operas and reality shows are anything to go by, most people have really challenging lives with a myriad range of family and relationship conflicts, work problems and health issues.

I am sure that is not the case (hands held in prayer at this point) but some people may just have learnt this way of being. They know life no other way except as a never ending soap opera.

3. Seeking sympathy

This is a classic trait of a drama queen – just look at poor me! Tehy are often seen looking very sad and down.

Their story goes like this – I have had such a bad life. Please, please feel sorry for me.

4. Manipulation of others

Manipulation and taking advantage of others goes with the seeking of sympathy.

The storyline goes like this – now that I have got you feeling sorry for me, of course you must rescue me!

And I am in so much trouble and pain, you just have to take care of me!

5. Avoidance tactic

They don’t want to deal with real issues and would rather cause a scene and seek attention.

Their story is that I can’t deal with that right now – there’s too much going on in my life.

6. Seeking attention

Since drama queens usually have low self-esteem and believe that they will not be noticed, complaining about their lot is their best perceived way of getting that attention.

Sadly it actually works the other way around – they end up making a negative impression.

7. Wanting to belong

Along with the seeking of attention comes the desire for a sense of belonging.

By behaving in a certain way they seek acceptance by their peer group, without realising that their behaviour actually alienates them.

They might be accepted in a group simply because that is the most bearable option and would avoid any histrionics of being rejected.

8. Getting a high

Finally, some people might even enjoy spreading drama as they get an adrenaline rush.

They get their kicks by creating a furore all around them – and they genuinely enjoy it. Who needs drugs, sex and rock & roll when you can be a drama queen?!

Conclusion – Stop it, get bored and find some happiness

There you are – knowing what makes a drama queen tick enables you to see how you can help them let go of some of the underlying causes. Of course none of this applies to you personally:-)

The key thing is this – being a drama queen may be fun, but it is not a happy place.

A dethroned drama queen would suddenly find life really dull and boring – but they might now finally find some happiness.

It is clear that for some readers of this post, life is in danger of becoming really boring from here on, but hopefully they will be happy bunnies!

Of course if you have someone in your life, who is a drama queen, you may just want to get them to read this article. Be subtle about it of course – unless you are addicted to their histrionics:-)

And for anyone out there who is not yet willing to give up being a drama queen, just remember the famous last words from Scarlett O’Hara:-

Tomorrow is another day!

Please do share your own experiences of drama queens in your life. Mentioning no names of course:-)

Read more by Arvind on his blog Make It Happen.

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  1. This is a great post! I can be a bit dramatic sometimes and I don’t like it. Thanks for this great article.
    .-= Positively Present´s last blog ..from fearful to fortunate: do what you don’t want to =-.

  2. Wow Arvind, in a lot of ways this is very insightful. I think you hit the nail on the head with the fact that “drama queens” are bored… but there is so much to that.

    I wrote a post about Boredom and Intuition, based on the observation that the experience of Boredom is really just a resistance to something. Often it’s to something we don’t want to feel. So, instead of dealing with what’s going on internally, people seek/create drama outside themselves to distract them from themselves. I’d love your thoughts on this!

    The post is here http://bit.ly/MCeQ8
    and invites people to allow boredom, to use it as an opportunity to tap into intuition and find out what’s going on within, instead of being worried about the endless distractions outside of self.

    Cheers, and great reading you here!
    Miche :)
    .-= Miche | Serenity Hacker´s last blog ..How to Get From Boredom to Intuition =-.

  3. @positively present – Well we are all allowed to be a bit dramatic at times! It is only when it becomes a habit and our friends shart shunning us that it becomes a problem:-)
    .-= Arvind Devalia´s last blog ..How to Make your Own Luck, Even on Friday the 13th! =-.

  4. Miche, good to connect on here.

    Thanks for sharing your insights about boredom and for that link to your article with tips about boredom leading to intuition.

    I totally agree with what you have to say – boredom is definitely a sign of resistance to something greater – and yet we use that boredom to get distracted and do all sorts of things, including being a drama queen.

    I loved your method and will definitely sit quietly for 15 minutes next time I sense boredom creeping up (which I must say is rarely)

    I recommend everyone to check out Miche’s link and apply his method – it will be another tool in your repertoire to fight being a drama monarch – that doesn’t sound as punch as drama queen, but at least it gets away from potentially being accused of being biased :-)

    Thanks again Miche – and great to connect with you.
    .-= Arvind Devalia´s last blog ..How to Make your Own Luck, Even on Friday the 13th! =-.

  5. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi everyone! I’ve just emerged from the jungles of Costa Rica. The first thing I did when I was able to go online was to check out Goodlife ZEN. Wonderful to see that it’s in good heart under the able stewardship of Arvind.

    I love this article! It’s funny and oh so true…

    I’m not a drama queen myself but there are some moments when I have a little touch of that. For example, I sometimes loose my car keys. And then I start to scrabble frantically in my handbag and ask everyone in sight whether they’ve seen it. People who don’t know me will be sucked into the frantic search and will start looking around to find it.

    My friends know better. They just go on reading their book or eating their meal and wait for me to find my key twenty minutes later – in my handbag.

    I’ll be back home in New Zealand on November 18. I can’t wait to share some of the things I’ve experienced!

    Mary

  6. Welcome back Mary!

    You were missed but we knew you were with us in spirit:-)

    I can’t imagine you as a drama queen but I guess we all have our moments.

    I can foresee lots of articles coming up with all the wisdom garnered from your South American adventures.

    Can’t wait!
    .-= Arvind Devalia´s last blog ..How to Make your Own Luck, Even on Friday the 13th! =-.

  7. Tony says:

    Good piece on those that over-react. For the younger generation (teens & twenties) the drama queen behavior is the result of being exposed to a decade plus of reality TV.

    I have no scientific proof however many of the people that fit in this category that I know personally have spent their childhood in front of the television. TV was used as an inexpensive babysitter for time challenged parents.

    In many cases this generation grew up thinking the ‘over-the-top’ behavior of reality programming which is sometimes scripted, is how adults are supposed to act.

  8. Tony, so true. I know so many children whose childhood has revolved around the television.

    Now when I hear them speak, they seem to speak a different language!

    It really makes me wonder just what sort of adults these kids will grow up into.

    Are we ready for a world full of drama queens?!

  9. Malcolm says:

    I completely agree with Tony. Reality TV doesn’t reflect reality, it causes reality.

    I would also say that while the final part of your post seems like a great idea, it’s inherently very tough – for of course, to approach a drama queen with something like this is quite likely to offend her (or him) quite greatly. I have someone I’d love to send this to, but I’m not sure if it would really be well-received.
    .-= Malcolm´s last blog ..…I Admonished =-.

  10. Interesting piece. I like the Scarlett O’Hara reference. That’s the classic seductress archetype, and she is quite the drama queen, but also a very powerful woman. And perhaps that’s true of drama queens in general; they don’t know how to harness their power and as result it comes out in negative ways. Of course, most creative types have a bit of the drama queen in them. I know I do. It’s part of the classic creative story: perfection, drama, etc. So when I feel really bugged by someone else’s drama, I find it helpful to stop and look within, to make sure my reaction isn’t actually about my own drama. And I also find compassion helps a lot. For others who are living this story, as well as for those times that I experience it.
    .-= Patty @ Why Not Start Now?´s last blog ..False Evidence Appearing Real: The Movie =-.

  11. @Malcolm Yes, our society has got to the point when reality TV causes reality.

    The final part of my post about showing this article to a drama queen was of course a bit tongue in cheek:-)

    You could have just shown this to your friend and asked his / her opinion about the article, without implying that it is meant for them to learn from!

    However now this is much harder for you as he/she may read the comments too!

    If you like, we could edit / delete your comment. Anything to rid the world of one more drama queen:-)
    .-= Arvind Devalia´s last blog ..How to Make your Own Luck, Even on Friday the 13th! =-.

  12. @ Patty Great insights from someone with bits of a drama queen about them:-)

    I must admit that quite a few of the drama queens I have met have been quite powerful and creative people with a lot to offer.

    I do like the idea of showing some compassion since as I said in my article, a person behaving as a drama queen often has some genuine underlying reasons for doing so.
    .-= Arvind Devalia´s last blog ..How to Make your Own Luck, Even on Friday the 13th! =-.

  13. Hi Arvind,
    Very provocative post. Knowing what one gets out of being a drama queen can be very useful in changing this way of being, as you suggest. In addition, the person has to really want to change. My experience with people who have a lot of drama in their lives generally has been that they love the drama more than they want it to end. As with any pattern, if change is actually going to happen, you get to the point of saying, “Enough!” then real change is possible.
    .-= Gail @ A Flourishing Life´s last blog ..The Warrior’s Way to Inner Peace: Part 1 – What is Inner Peace? =-.

  14. Ashok says:

    Old habits die hard – thus goes the saying. Presuming that one has the habit of being a drama queen, what is the remedy? How to get rid of it? Having had my own share of bad habits, like almost everybody else, that I wanted to change, let me tell you that changing old habits is not a task that can be achieved with ease – it is almost impossible (I said “almost”). After tremendous efforts, we do change something, just to find one fine morning being back to square one. Therefore, if I say that one should change the habit of being a drama queen it would be too simplistic a solution on offer from me. What then is the remedy?

    Moreover, what are the evil consequences of being a drama queen? The emphasis is on the word “evil”, because otherwise being a drama queen would be such a nice thing!

    Arvind, it is an excellent post indeed, in which you’ve beautifully analyzed the “causes” as to how people tend to become drama queen. Would be grateful if you could throw some light on these other two aspects as well, namely the “evil consequences” and the “remedy”.

    @Tony, couldn’t agree more with you when you say that for the younger generation the drama queen behavior is the result of being exposed to a decade plus of reality TV. Great observation. In fact, I’ve strongly believed that in the latest generation, more number of people behave like a drama queen only because of the TV effect. The older generations too have/had their own share of drama queens but the extent would be less since their childhood would have been spared of the TV effect. No offense intended for any particular generation – just an observation.

  15. @Gail Thanks!

    I am so glad the GLZ readers are taking this article in the right spirit – my intention was to make it provocative and initiate some healthy debate.

    As you say, knowing first what one gets out of being a drama queen can be very useful in changing this way of being.

    Of course the person really must want to change in the first place.

    I too have met many drama queens who just love the drama so much they would never want to change!

    Makes life initially more interesting for those around them, and then it gets really irritating and draining.

    If only more drama queens were to get to the point of saying “enough”!

    If only more drama queens could read this post….:-)
    .-= Arvind Devalia´s last blog ..How to Make your Own Luck, Even on Friday the 13th! =-.

  16. @Ashokbhai Thanks for visiting GLZ and for your detailed feedback.

    As you say, old habits die. And as I mentioned in the post and also what’s coming through in all the comments above is that drama queens are quite often addicted to their behaviour.

    As Gail says above, there has to come a point when they say “enough!”

    Some of the remedies for giving up being a drama queen and for dealing with one are implicit in the article – knowing what makes tick you could reflect and see where they are coming from. Sympathise, cajole, humour them – whatever you think is appropriate in the situation.

    The “evil” consequences of being a drama queen is that life for the people around can become unbearable. Evil perhaps is too strong a word, but I get your point.

    Like the movie “Gone with the Wind”, drama queens can actually be quite lovable and ultimately harmless people – so it comes down to your choice as to how you deal with them. Either put up with their behaviour and learn to live with it, or tackle them subtly or otherwise.

    Life could get very peaceful and boring suddenly if the drama queens were to reform!

    Ultimately, you could just let them go from your life. Bit difficult I know if that is your spouse, sibling, child – in which case just learn to adapt or change them.

    Finally, I totally agree with what you say about the TV effect. We are creating a world full of mini drama queens! Perhaps in times to come the “normal” people will be in a minority. Help!
    .-= Arvind Devalia´s last blog ..How to Make your Own Luck, Even on Friday the 13th! =-.

  17. Hi Arvind. I’m really glad you included “Putting aside any underlying medical causes or genuine reasons, here are the reasons why a person may create so much drama in their life.” I know someone who has a mental illness (ie personality disorder) whereby a symptom of the illness is a high level of drama in their lives. It is necessary for them to live in chaos as it makes them feel alive. It really is a huge challenge for them and for those close to them.

    I realise this article isn’t about those with mental illness but thought it was worth mentioning, to help others understand that sometimes people are drama queens simply because they have an illness.
    .-= Sami – Life, Laughs & Lemmings´s last blog ..Kick Arse Question – I Need Your Help =-.

  18. Nezel says:

    I agree with you Arvind that TV soaps are filled with exaggerated “drama Queen” characters. I grew up with a family in which our form of entertainment and family bonding was watching soaps. Thus I come to believe that life is full of dramas. I even believed once that other people must sympathize with me and help me out of my turmoil.
    It was when I hit life the hardest that I come to realize I made my own fate and was the writer of my own dramas.
    I’ve lived a lot of wasted years. I am just so glad to realize that there is no need for me to be a panting drama queen in order to get people’s attention.
    I now live a ‘bored’ life but am so happy for at last I found the joy of living.
    Cheers!

  19. @Sami Thank you very much for your input and confirming that some people are genuinely the way they are, due to a mental illness or personality disorder.

    As I have emphasised in my article, we do need to be aware of any underlying genuine cause for someone behaving like a “drama queen”.

    Any such people in our lives should of course be treated with the greatest of understanding and compassion.

    Thank you again Sami.

  20. @Nezel Ditto!

    In my family too there was a habit of watching TV soaps. Coming from an Indian family, my parents watched a lot of Indian soaps. And as you will know if you ever watched Bollywood movies or Indian soaps, they are full of drama, histrionics and really poor acting!

    I know some people who sadly base their entire philosophy of life around what they learn from such TV dramas – they believe that the world is harsh, full of dirty tricks and cheating – and guess what? That is exactly what shows up in their life!

    I am so glad you have realized that there is no need for you to be a “panting drama queen” in order to get people’s attention.

    As you say, better to be “bored” and then to find happiness and the joy of living.
    .-= Arvind Devalia´s last blog ..How to Make your Own Luck, Even on Friday the 13th! =-.

  21. Gail says:

    Hi Arvind, I have to go along with Sami about mental illness/medical problems. I appreciate that you are compassionate for people who have mental or emotional disorders that are underlying the overreactive behavior. My mother was an alcoholic and also probably bipolar. She passed away 20 years ago but her legacy has continued…I was a drama queen in a big way for much of my life as that is how I was raised. I really did live from one crisis to another and had PTSD and was an alcoholic myself. But… I have been working hard on myself to unlearn the drama responses. I believe that everything in your article is true – that most of the time, regardless of the reason, the drama stuff is learned and can be unlearned. For me, as a kid, the drama was real and painful. As an adult, I now know I can make choices and can live peacefully. I have compassion for other drama queens but now I know that there is another way to live.

    Take care,
    Gail

  22. Theresa Truscott says:

    Hi Arvind,

    Great post. The one thing I would add to the discussion is that drama queens very often don’t even realise they are behaving badly. As with any addiction, the first step is to admit one has a problem before one can work on changing the behaviour.

    Keep up the good work,

    Theresa

  23. @Gail Thanks so much for sharing such a personal story.

    This is what I love about blogging – we can learn from each other by sharing our own human and personal experiences.

    It is really wonderful that you have now found another way of being and living:-)

  24. @Theresa Thanks Theresa – yes, part of the challenge is that a lot of drama queens don’t even know that they are behaving badly and that there is a problem.

    Maybe we can subtle arrange for them to see this article:-)
    .-= Arvind Devalia´s last blog ..Be Special to Find the Special One =-.

  25. Blue Lace says:

    I’ve just read the article, and decided not to read the other responses, until responded myself, so as not to influence my own. I totally agree with the article and yet, having been there myself, not withstanding a medical condition, I felt an immediate need to comment. I believe all drama queens, from my own experience, have an underlying condition, as you describe, and in the majority of instances, need compassion, and to be shown coping strategies and given more support to rise about the drama.
    I was unaware until relatively recently that I, and my story, were not the same. When I did realise this, it was an empowering discovery and leads to constant change.

    I tuly

  26. @Blue Lace Wonderful insight that you and your story are not the same!

    As you say, it is empowering to learn that we are much more than our stories and once we have this awareness, we can begin to let go of it all.

    And yes, we must be more understanding and compassionate towards drama queens, whatever the underlying reasons.
    .-= Arvind Devalia´s last blog ..Catch a Bus to Juice up Your Life! =-.

  27. Please Help!!!!! says:

    I have a 9 year old who rants and raves about everything. If she hears a noise at night, gets a small cut, sees blood, has to go to bed, take a shower, clean her room; just to mention a few… It is very tiresome and annoying to me, I see the classic symptoms of a drama queen in her but now how do I stop this before I run out on my family???? I seriously have way too many medical issues to deal with for myself to have to deal with all the other drama that doesn’t need to be there… PLEASE if anyone has any suggestions I would really appreciate it!!!!!!
    On the other note I did love the article, it summed up alot of her reactions…
    Thank You!!

  28. Drama Queen says:

    Every little drama queen will turn into a less dramatic queen by growing up. Trust me, i was one of the worst drama queen s when i was a child and now im… Well, still a drama queen but much more enjoyable. I learned to think in another way by growing up!

  29. Johnny says:

    I think people create drama in efforts to exercise, and justify there mental problems, with having an excuse.

  30. Merkeet says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for the article, it makes a lot of sense. Slowly but steadily I have become a drama queen. I only became aware of it because it has started to have a negative effect on my romantic relationship and in other areas of my life. In my case, there’s a combination of factors: boredom, need to get attention and constantly over thinking of the worst possible scenarios. I am now looking for a change in my life; it seems like a steep hill in front of me, but I do really need to change these patterns if I want to be happy. Thanks also to Blue Lace for the final comment, it truly is empowering what you discovered.
    Thanks

  31. Angie says:

    I am 16 years old and I think I might bea drama queen. See my sophmore year. All I did was create drama for myself and now my junior yhear I aspect myself to be alienated by everyone. I will just accept it I guess.

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