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