Are You Drama Bonding But Don’t Even Realize It? (This will help…)


I’ve been noticing something pretty interesting lately in my own conversations, and those I overhear when I’m out and about.

Yes, I’m guilty of being a bit of an eavesdropper…

Because, as a coach,  I’m so curious about how we function as human beings and I’m often surprised at what I hear out in the world.

Most of the time I kinda feel like
I’m listening to a reality show confessional (not just because I live in Los Angeles), and I’m sensing more than ever how many of us are connecting through drama.

Have you ever noticed how very few conversations start off with…

“Hey, my life is awesome, easy. My relationship is better than ever, and I’m enjoying my work more than ever, too.”

Instead, what I’m hearing usually starts off with a polite, ”How are you doing?” and then in about 3 minutes or so it launches into, “OMG! Can you believe this happened to me?”

Followed by a juicy story of a breakup, being stood up, or some other drama around working so hard and not being able to take a day off.

Then the other person chimes in to fan the fire as the story builds. There is a connection, and they feel closer and not alone in their drama. Someone is right (them) and someone is wrong (the other person).  

I’ve also noticed in the supermarket or in a cafe, when the wait is long or the service is bad, there is always one person who will make a stink waiting for someone to complain with them.

Basically, they are looking for a connection through how crappy the situation is.

It’s incredibly easy to get caught by this kind of social bonding bait.  

I call it, Drama Bonding.

Drama Bonding is when you share what is going wrong by complaining, then dumping the drama going on in your life on someone else as a way to bond.

It’s kind of awkward to share your wins, what you are happy about, and what is going well with someone you don’t know – or even with a friend sometimes, because you may feel guilty for the good things in your life when they are always talking about what’s gone wrong in their own.

Scary, but true!

It’s not your fault or anyone else’s that they do this. We are all guilty of doing this at sometime or another. We may even be doing it now and not realizing we are doing it. We are taught to bond through drama.

It’s sort of like smoking. You can always connect instantly with another smoker, and you both know smoking is bad for you. There is an instant bond.

Just take a look at any T.V. drama, soap or reality show, or gossip magazine. This is what makes this stuff as hot as it is. As a culture, we eat it up. I guess it’s because it makes us feel better about our stuff, we feel connected and that we are not alone.

We love hearing drama and being on a team.

The winning team. It makes us feel part of something. What if we bonded over the good stuff or when there is a challenging time, we come from a place of amusement and curiosity of why this may be a pattern in our life?

Drama Bonding also creates blocks, resistance to welcome in what we want in our lives, and brings more of the drama into our lives by having these stories or pictures in our consciousness.

What we focus on expands and attracts more of itself. Click to tweet…

Drama Bonding is easy to do, and we don’t even realize we have been doing it, or are doing it. This is where the fun begins. Once we are aware of how much we do it, how much it is around us, and commit to stop it, we take a step towards freedom.

Freedom from Drama Bonding and getting snagged by it.

I will admit, I was not born this way. I had to unlearn Drama Bonding, too!

I would be the first one ready to chime in by asking questions, putting on my problem solving pants, and go to town on how awful whatever the situation was. In the past, I’ve made friends this way, and realized it was a huge energy leak.  

I still have to watch out for when I’m in a store, cafe or market, and call on my patience because I’m a detail kind of gal and like good service.

What You Can Do to Stop Drama Bonding

First, Go on an awareness exploration to see where you do this in your life, and how much of it is around you. Stay amused and notice how sharing what is going wrong is talked about more than what is glorious about life.

Second, instead of joining in the complaining or the story of what is going wrong – the drama, listen with this mantra in your head, “It’s not my business”, or “It’s not my problem.”

Then, reply with validating them for being strong, smart, brave, and how the problem is a big one. Just watch what happens when you don’t fan the fire of the story.

I should mention… when you stop bonding through drama, those people will want to go somewhere else to share the drama. Won’t it be better to bond over what’s working in your life, and what you are learning from your challenges, than bonding in the pain?

Play with it and see what happens.

I’m curious, how did you feel after you bonded over “drama” or your problems? What was the outcome, did it help? I bet not.

Let’s Practice Some Positive Bonding Instead…

Now, answer this question in a new way in the comments below, “How are you doing?”

Hint: You want to talk about what is working in your life right now. Give yourself permission to focus on what you’re grateful for, appreciate and see how much is already working for you.

I’ll go first. I’m doing great, I woke up today feeling blessed for having a lovingly supportive relationship with my husband, my body feels strong to do yoga, and I have lots of energy to do ALL the things I love to do.

Now you…

And if you have other ways to shift from bonding over drama or bad news, please share that, too.

Your Angel of Fire,






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  1. Amazing clients. Thriving business. Fabulous kids who are working their butts off to expand their minds. Yeah, I’m one lucky b*tch.

  2. A friend just reminded me on my birthday yesterday, that I had completed another “Turn Around the Sun” (vs turned a year older). I loved it! Pretty powerful to be able to circle the Sun..,multiple, multiple times! And I used this circling to launch my new biz..pretty awesome all around! (Funny coincidence, my maiden name was “Circle” too!) No dead ends here – just vast full-circle excursions.

  3. Awesome post Hillary! I love the label “drama bonding” you nailed it. I had such a kick ass day today, I wasn’t bound to my hubby’s negative drama. Turning the switch off of these ingrained patterns isn’t that hard, it’s easy, it just takes mindfulness and some self awareness!

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Thank you Kristin! I love your kick ass day lady… 🙂 Why is it so easy to find your space and own your next steps?

    • Thanks so much! I must admit, my world had been a shit ton better since my conversation with you. I can’t WAIT to coach with you. Truly! And TAOBC is already lighting up my world, so thank you!

  4. Indigomoon says:

    Love this Hillary! I noticed this a lot in women’s circles years ago and how it always felt so odd to share how amazing things were. It taught me a lot about how to create different spaces in my workshops. Right now I’m loving my amazing relationship with my husband, my supportive family and how blessed I am with health, creativity and organic food. Xx

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Thank you Indigomoon! Great awareness… I love what you love and how you are living your life. Keep it up. xo

  5. This is right on! I’ve been writing 3 things I’m thankful for each day and am encouraging my friends to do the same so we can bond over gratefulness. Complaining, drama, rehashing is draining. Appreciate the awareness!

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Very cool Dr. Traci Elizabeth! Right on!!! You are so welcome and as you live by example others will follow, or not. 🙂

  6. Oh this is soooo good and sooo true!!! In fact, I stopped asking people “how are you?” for this very reason.

    Instead, I say, “oh my gosh! So happy to see you. You MUST tell me all the awesomeness that’s been happening in your life. I know you have lots of good stuff to tell me.” If they start hemming and hawing trying to move to the negative, I always say, “well wait, let’s start with the good stuff…” normally they catch a hint lol.

    To answer your question above…my life is fricking awesome! My marriage is getting better, I’m in this awesome program called TAOBC (wink wink), my clients are INCREDIBLE, my mom is healthy, I’m working on my website and I got some really great “just because” gifts this week. The universe is rocking my socks with joy ❤️

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Glad you enjoyed the post Torrie! I totally understand why you’d stop asking… I love how you reframed it into a celebration. Love how your world is looking, keep up the amazing work lady. xo

  7. Love the post, Hillary. I know that I used to get caught up in the drama, but realized that it did, indeed, bring me down. So now when someone brings up something negative, I try (not always successful) to throw in a positive and it does stop the negativity in its tracks. Awesome!

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Thank you Ellen! Cool. Now you can use the tool we shared in the post when they do share, WOW that’s pretty interesting or something like that. Have fun with it! xo

  8. Hillary, as a first born and rescuer, I was always responsible for others. This has stayed with me until recently when I began to recognize how much of my energy was being drained trying to be a problem solver or listening board for others! 2-3 weeks ago, I detached from one source like that. My best friend, I keep, BUT, I realize that we bonded over hand wringing and without that, we lack the ability to share so much of the good and blessing in our respective lives. I keep an attitude of gratitude and do feel grateful, truly. Lots of losses, Hillary. One question: My sister in law ALWAYS raves about everything in her life! I feel bad in comparison because my life is not so sweet or rosy from every angle, love, family, finances, spiritual sharing, social. I cheer her on, I stay positive, but I dare not complain, despair or share my reality or truth. Inwardly, I feel bad. What say you or others reading? Smiles.

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Dede, I hear you. Use this post to help you see what is working… Comparing yourself to anyone is not a good use of your energy. It’s good to cheer her on yet keeping inside how you feel is not helpful. What is one thing you can see is working in your life presently, in the present moment? Love to hear.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hillary, Many things are working well in my life, chief among them basic physical health, freedom to use my time as I wish, and positive, good relations with my adult children! I have needed plenty of nature, silence & down time for recovery and for the first time in my life, I am blessed to have that! I have learned to respect my limitations which is authentic and respectful of myself. I have grown in new ways every day and continue todo so. I focus my energy on acts of kindness, positive words and “making someone else’s day!” Dede

        • Hillary Rubin says:

          Nice Dede!!! how about focuses on your life and not having to focus on making someone else’s day?

          • Thank you, Hillary, for the refocus. The concept of “My Life” is something new for me to begin to focus on. Having said that, I am focusing on a trip to Alaska in August which is only for me, myself, and I. (My MO is for others, so this will take a bit of work on my part.) The biggest thing I now do for myself is enjoy the silence, solitude and serenity in my apt. I read, reflect and write. In this way I grow. Since it’s important to me, I must be thinking of myself!

          • Hillary Rubin says:

            Awesome Dede… way to go… ENJOY!!!

  9. Thank you, Hillary, for your blog post. I was just thinking about this the other day. It seems I have been avoiding some of my friends whom I haven’t spoken with in a while because of what I have going in my life and I don’t want to drain their energy with my divorce drama or toddler tantrums. I want to be engaged and present in their life. As friends do- they will ask how I am or what is going on or new in my life. How do I navigate the good and what I like to call my spiritual lessons?

    I woke up to a cool breeze and sunshine and the sound of my daughter’s voice. I’m starting the TAOBC- yay!. I am amazing and working through my “stuff” and see a bright future.
    Congratulations and joy to you!
    Love and light,

  10. I’m feeling so happy + grateful. My life is full + I am able to move with grace + ease through my challenges. I am loved + I am surrounded by people I adore.

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