Stop Being a Drama Queen and Become Happy Instead!

stop being such a drama queen!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:-)

What does it mean when someone is being a drama queen?

Well, it’s 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’s 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 “Make It Happen”, 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’s as if they are walking on egg shells.

Who do you know in your life that’s 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 soap 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. Perhaps this is where real life drama queens learn about their station in life.

An even worse place for seeing drama queens in action are the reality TV shows.

Do people 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’s 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?

Crucially, how can one stop being a drama queen?

The pertinent question is why people create such drama in their lives in the first place .

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 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 wide range of family and relationship conflicts, work problems and health issues.

I am sure that’s not the case with you (hands held in prayer at this point) but some people may simply 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! They are often seen looking very sad and down.

Their story goes like this – I have had such a bad life, 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 – “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’s the most bearable option and avoids 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’s not a happy place to be in.

A dethroned drama queen would suddenly find life really dull and boring – but he or she now has a chance of finally finding some happiness.

It’s clear that for some readers of this article, 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 below your own experiences of drama queens in your life. Mentioning no names of course:-)

Image courtesy of amy(mcd)lakhani


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  1. Hi Arvind,

    The article how correctly described me. Once upon a time, me too a drama queen. I used to make small things big to grasp attention and due to too much insecurity and boredom within myself. Thanks for putting the reasons why a person behaves dramatically. Awesome checklist for me to revisit them and remind myself not acting dramatic again =)

    I used to so much addicted to British soap opera — I would stick to those dramatic series everyday off the school and I guess it did subsconsciously affect how I think and behave. You know, thinking that behave dramatic is a common and natural way of living. Like you, I gave up my TV set a few years ago and it is a true liberation and me become less mind polluted.

    Tons of appreciation for putting this post up !!

    • Jen, thanks for confessing to have been an ex-drama queen. But remember it’s not a case of once a drama queen, always a drama queen!

      The British soap operas are notorius for their story lines and hooking people in. A couple of years ago, a new friend invited me to her home for dinner but specified that I could only before or after a certain time. It turned out she was addicted to one of the soaps and her whole life revolved around the fictional characters. Our friendship didn’t develop into much more.

      Jen, welcome to the world of TV-less people. Yeah!

  2. Justin Dixon says

    I do find the background to be one of the most likely answers. Not everyone can detach there emotions enough to see things in a logical light, but if there is constant drama following someone around than they are doing something to invite that drama. Negative self-view as you said is definitely a big point, also taking neutral events very personally, as well as surrounding yourself with certain people. If you have a friend that when your with them there is constant drama you may need to distance yourself from them. You may also need to take more responsibility for the happenings in your own life if you want to reduce the drama.

    • Justin, thanks for sharing all your pearls of wisdom.

      You mentioned one very valid point which I hadn’t covered in my article – if your friends are prone to drama, then you are more likely to become a drama queen too. If that’s the case, then you should definitely distance yourself from them.

      Ultimately, as you say, it all comes down to taking more responsibility for the happenings in your life.

      I would even go further and say that you need to take complete and total responsibility for your life – then you can’t ever blame anyone else for what happens in your life.

  3. Hi Arvind,
    You have captured the essence and listed the reasons one might be a drama queen brilliantly. I have never been one – thank God! However, there were friends and family in my life over the years that were D.Qs. Their histrionics would suck up my time and energy over and over again until I learned how to deal with a D.Q.

    A book I read many years ago, The Celestine Prophecy, that addresses the need some people have to constantly create drama in their lives. One of the things I learned from this book was that if we withdraw our attention from the Drama it ceases to be – withering up like a flower starved of water.

    I have found that non-reaction to Drama is the best approach. I no longer allow myself to be drawn into other people’s dramas – which essentially deflates the huge hot air balloon they’ve pumped up around the issue. I don’t judge either. I just get very quiet and listen, and nod my head – maybe replying with a few uh-huhs, but that’s it. The quiet allows the words to reverberate in the D.Qs head and sometimes results in them hearing the hollowness of the drama they’ve created. When they hear how they’ve whipped up nothing into this big frothy frenzy hopefully something clicks and they begin the process of inner change.

    • Angela, thanks for sharing your insights about how to deal with a D.Q. And thanks for introducing the abbreviation D.Q. in my vocabulary. Next time someone’s having histrionics or creating drama, I shall just tell them to stop being a DQ!

      But even better of course would be to follow your suggestion and simply withdraw my attention from the drama. I love your suggestion of not reacting and being none judgemental – sounds like “cruel love” but effective.

      I have read The Celestine Prophecy a couple of times and listened to the audio version and maybe it’s time for me to revisit it. After all it’s no coincidence that you have mentioned it here:-)

  4. Cheryl Paris says

    Hello Arvind,

    I have to say vow!!!
    You have specified all the points why women or men are ‘drama queens’.

    No doubt the actions they take are to run away from real problems to find real solutions, to seek attention, to get sympathy. And once they get sympathy they tend to manipulate others. I agree people do are scare of drama queen or king material. You never know what triggers their nature when and where???

    Yes, they have to be given credit for improving the chanel or soap ratings. People like to sometimes watch them and just enjoy on TV but not like to be one. If they did not improve chanel ratings I wonder why such people would be called on Big Brother and Big Boss. People kind of like to see what will be his/her next action and they surely tune.

    Bye for now,
    Cheryl Paris Blog

    • Cheryl, there was a time when I was so infatuated with a friend that I never really noticed her drama queen histrionics until well after she was out of my life.

      It was exactly as you say – once she had my attention and sympathy, she manipulated me and I was like putty in her hands.

      She constantly created “emergencies” and milked my kindness and sympathies whilst I was happy to play along. I guess it made me feel wanted but at the end of the day I was doing both of us a disservice. If only I had come across my own article a few years!

      In hindsight, I realised that it was also about me – I got to look into what was lacking in me and my life that I had such a need to be vindicated by someone’s dramas and manipulation.

      So how did I finally break this pattern? I got bored with her dama and gradually stopped being her friend – it also helped that she found someone else to captivate with her drama.

  5. I am seen two types of Drama Queen. One is the very insecure person who needs constant reinforcement and assurance and constantly seeks approval and feedback from others. The other is the narcissist who craves attention and is totally self-absorbed. They feed off of other people to meet their own needs but cannot give back. Either way, it’s an unhealthy and emotionally immature behavior. Many Drama Queens don’t recognize that quality in themselves unfortunately!
    Very interesting post!

    • Barrie, thanks for unravelling drama queens and categorising them into two types.

      I have indeed met both types of drama queens – and looking back I have even met a couple of people who had both qualities!

      The most challenging part about being around a drama queen is they themselves don’t recognise just how disruptive their behaviour is.

      Maybe we can henceforth simply send them a link to this article – assuming of course that you definitely want them out of your life!

  6. Arvind, thank you for your interesting post. Boredom seems to have become a significant problem in a modern society that constantly pulls us outward. Once you begin the journey into your inner self, this false, outer boredom drops away. A play for drama can often be an cry to complete those parts of your inner self that you feel are inadequate. Observers can choose not to join in that drama, and a compassionate response (which may include walking away) can light the way to an alternate way of being.

    And reconnecting with nature also opens the doorway to rediscovering your own inner nature, thereby ridding yourself of boredom and unnecessary ploys for outer drama forever.

    In the words of the Chinese poet, Li Po (also called Li Bai):

    The flocks of birds have flown high and away,
    A solitary cloud goes off calmly alone.
    We look at each other and never get bored –
    Just me and Ching-t’ing mountain.

    Warm wishes again from the mountains in Japan – Catrien Ross.

    • Catrien, amongst my readers, you win the prize for living in the most amazing place!

      I love the way you always respond with your words from the heart and you come from a place of compassion.

      Yes, indeed at a deeper level any person who is creating drama is ultimately seeking healing at a deeper level. We can be compassionate by either walking away or staying and sending them positive vibes.

      At the end of the day, we have to be compassionate to ourselves first so must take the course of action that supports us best.

      Thanks Catrien for that lovely quote too.

  7. Some people are attached to drama, because they are dependent of the chemistry of negative emotions in their body.

    • Maja, that’s a good point – drama queens must be getting a chemical low and indeed a high through all the cocktail of emotions they generate through their histrionics.

  8. Ha ha – I’ve never known one of those critters! Okay, if truth be told, I do have some familiarity. In fact, drama is rampant in my family (I know that’s so unusual!). I love to visit and love them dearly but I must say I always enjoy getting back to my rather peaceful, yet never boring, life!

    When I was in my teens and early 20’s I think I was a bit of a drama queen – quite the adrenaline rush. By 30 that s**t got old! I’m much happier without it.

    Thanks for another cool post Arvind!

    • Lauren, you mastered the art of living around drama queens – spend some time with them but then return to your own peaceful life. And I am sure it’s not that boring!

      Welcome to the world of reformed drama queens:-)

  9. Arvind,

    Confession time, I have been there as a drama queen, so I know this first hand 🙂 Now, I get to see other people and kids being drama queen, kings, princess and princes!

    I am so happy for your success here, it is so well deserved and I can see lot of hard work put in here! Keep up the great work.

  10. Hey Arvind, Great observations. It sounds as if you’ve had lots of experience. Seriously, I think your point #2 about family background is an important factor. In my limited experience, a large family with more than its share of dysfunctional people is a real breeding ground for drama queens. And although it’s exhausting to be around one, a drama queen can be a very sympathetic and caring person. Maybe they just get too involved in too many other people’s lives. Just guessing, since I am not now nor have I ever been a D. Q.

    • Madeleine, yes I have had my fair share of drama queens in my life – but I have now learnt how to avoid them:-)

      Family background definitely comes into it as I have noticed that some families just seem to have a lot of drama – and not just the families in soap operas.

      And yes drama queents can get too involved in other people’s lives – which can make them quite sympathetic and caring people, if only they could get out of their drama for a while.

  11. Thanks for directing me to this post Arvind. I’m definately a Drama Queen, but how I want to reform! Learning to see my own actions and behaviour is a tough one. How do I become more aware of what I do, and what need I’m feeding by doing it, and learn healthy ways to interact with others and behave? I’m not even sure I know what a healthy repsponse is I’m so used to having hysterics and drama’s and poor me’s!
    Very glad to be starting to see the light, but it still feels like a small pinpoint in the distance!

  12. fiona mccudden says

    Hi Arvind,

    The fact that the term “drama Queen” exists is itself enough reason to explore its origins. Of all the posts, I concur with Coach Berrie. I definitely have been a drama queen in my life at one level. I have to be honest and say I hate putting people into boxes and putting labels on things to justify how we might react to our own irritation. Now there’s a thing. I think there is a phrase out there somewhere that says the traits we abhor in others are usually those that we fear we may possess. Have just come from your kindness blog to this and I always say “acceptance is key. If we cant help or tolerate an individual any more, just explain to them how they make you feel. They might change and you might still have a friend. If they do not, then at least they know why the door is still swinging with you on the other side, “for good”.

  13. I no someone who is a drama queen & the boy she likes always complains bout tht & won’t give her a chance cuz his friends think soo too! I feel bad for her

  14. Help!! I am most definitely a DQ and have lost the most special man in my life because of my selfish, self-centred behaviour!! All my life seems to have been surrounded by drama – or have I looked for and created it??
    Please can someone direct me to a site where I can get some help on stopping this negative and destructive attitude?? :0(

    • Tache, welcome to my blog.

      Many people who are involved in “drama” do so without knowing that’s what they are creating. So be easy on yourself!

      At the same time, we attract what we give out – so in some way you did create the drama without actively looking for it.

      Good luck and enjoy the festive season.

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