I recently had a conversation with an older and wiser friend of mine. We were out for dinner, and one thing led to another and I started laying all my “friend drama” out on the table for her. At first I tried to keep my story short and to the point, hoping that I wouldn’t get too deep into the ex-friend drama like I usually do. I was trying to save myself the embarrassment, since it always seems like immature high-school drama to me (although I’m 26 and have been out of high school for 8 years). As my story — which ended up getting me riled up and angry — came to a close, my friend decided to enlighten me on her own friend drama.
My dinner companion, who is a couple decades older than I am, has had her fare share of friend drama. Drama through the years — high-school drama, mid-20s drama, 30-something drama, and current-day-adult drama. Some of her drama had even been started in her 20s and only recently squashed. All of the rehashing of our friend-drama led me to a conclusion: Friend-drama is something you cannot escape.
I don’t think it matters who you are, what your life decisions have been, or who you choose to be friends with. You can be living your peaceful life with only a few selected friends or you can be a social butterfly with hundreds of acquaintances, and the drama will find you. It will find you through the means of a jealous friend that you thought you could trust or through a coworker who desperately wants what you have. The scary thing about being a human being with any sort of friend is sometimes friends are all you have in life, and sometimes friends are the biggest backstabbers you could ever come across.
I am not saying that this will happen with every friend you have. I’m sure there are the lucky few who have never had to deal with the drama. And I have often heard people make the following statements:
“The second a friend tries to start with me, they’re GONE.”
“I don’t deal with drama. I just move on.”
You know the kinds of people who say those things. They rarely follow through.
That night at dinner, my friend said, “You know, the drama never stops. It never goes away. You get older, you mature, you find new friends, you maintain old friendships. But the drama never stops. The only thing that changes is how you deal with the drama.” And I’ve never heard a more true statement.
This statement made me realize the truth of a few bridge-burning situations from my last two years of friendships. I’ve burned three bridges in my lifetime: One was someone who I thought was my lifeline, and two were “surface friends” as I’ve learned to identify. Looking back, however, I have realized that I unknowingly dealt with these friend-dramas in a more mature way than I would have eight years ago. In all of these situations, I kept my cool as much as I could. I refrained from name-calling, kept the foul language to myself, and tried to handle both situations like an adult. I acted upon the phrase “Kill them with kindness.” As much as the inner high-schooler wanted to plot revenge, make prank phone calls, and make their lives a living hell, I refrained from immature behavior. I acted like a lady and still came out on top.
Because, you see, there will always be drama. Even if you don’t create the drama, the drama will find you. Handle your shit like an adult and carry on.