Drama. It’s just part of our lives. I think that in our current society we are immersed in it and encouraged to be part of it. Whether it is through reality TV, social media or the new “cancel culture” of today, people seem to love it. Or even if they don’t love being part of it, they love watching and experiencing it unfold in other peoples’ lives. I’m not saying this as some outsider because I am very guilty of this. I love reality TV and anytime there is a scandal I’m always reading up on what happened, taking sides and getting way more invested than I should. But even if you don’t like the drama that engulfs our culture, everyone experiences some drama in their own lives.
My freshman year people would always tell me that relational conflict was inevitable with people that you’re close with. I honestly did not believe them. I thought I could go my whole life dodging confrontation and conflict and doing whatever I could to get along with everyone, even if that meant keeping relationships at surface level. While I love watching the drama of others, I myself am pretty into avoiding conflict at all costs. I convinced myself that having relational conflict was a choice, and I was going to choose to just not do that. But it really is true that drama and conflict are inevitable in any close relationships. However knowing this fact in concept is a lot easier than actually experiencing conflict and tension with someone you love. When that happens, it doesn’t feel like a good thing that will bring you closer. For me, it makes me want to distance myself from that person even more.
Honestly I have never been good at bringing up qualms or concerns with people, but I would claim I was an open book. In reality, I was just a little bit fake. However this past year, I’ve learned a lot regarding drama, relational conflict, and ultimately growth. So here are a few things that I constantly have to tell myself in order to not fall back into my natural habits of being dramatic, and un-confrontational.
If you have an issue with someone, even if it is small, just say it to them.
Small annoyances turn into big tension if they are left unsaid. So even if it is something as small as chores or a comment someone made, bring it up! I always used to tell myself, “it’s okay, I’ll get over it eventually”, but you know I never really did. You can’t expect someone to stop doing something that annoys you or apologize for something if you never talk to them about it.
2. Initiate, put in the effort...it makes a difference.
Relationships are a two-way street and if you want to get closer to people, you kind of need to like... talk and hang out. And that doesn’t just magically happen. We’re all busy. With school, work, clubs and just life so it takes effort to see people and get closer. So take a step back and look at the relationships in your life. When is the last time you were the one who asked to get dinner? So, if you’re like me and always wait for the invite from others, text someone right now who you haven’t talked to in a while and just meet up. Or text that one person who things have been weird with but you don’t really want to deal with it. Yeah, just deal it with it already.
3. Don’t think that your relational dramas are too irrelevant for God, He cares and wants to know.
This is a big one. I often think that God doesn’t care about my daily dramas or problems. That I should only come to Him with super spiritual things or big life crises. However that isn’t the case. God wants you to come to Him with everything, the good the bad, the big and small things that happen in your life. Don’t compartmentalize your life and put God and spiritual things in one corner, and your daily life in another corner. God should be in the center, affecting and being present in all aspects of our lives.
4. That one verse about talking to outside people (Matthew 18:15-17)
Sometimes these situations require an outside perspective. It can be good to get advice from someone who isn’t involved in the drama. For me personally, I make everything dramatic. Everything becomes a huge deal and if I only stay in my own head, things become worse and worse. So talking to someone logical who can give me advice rooted in God’s word is essential.
5. Be grateful for the community of people that you have in your life.
Ultimately, having drama at least means that you have people in your life who you are close enough with to be in this situation. So, be grateful!!! Be grateful that there are people who you care enough about to work through whatever issue. Use it as an opportunity to step back and realize how blessed you are with relationships and how even if life seemingly sucks right now, it could be way worse and you will get through it. Gratitude honestly makes everything better, so if you’re ever feeling particularly moody or angsty, just write down one thing you are grateful for and I promise you will feel 1000% better.
6. Remember that we are all sinners.
Remember the grace and mercy you have received through Jesus. And forgive, like actually forgive. - Colossians 3:13 “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
In the end, if you are like me and make everything more dramatic than it needs to be just remember that a lot of times life is a lot more simple than we think. Just be open to having conversations with people even if they are uncomfortable in the moment. It will be so much better in the long run. Relationships are more than having things in common and joking around all the time. As much as I sometimes wanted that to be all they were, the reality of the kind of relationships God wants us to have is so much greater. And trust me I never would have thought that I’d be writing a blog about being less dramatic, more open and more honest in relationships. It goes against, like every natural tendency that I have. But sometimes in life you have to push yourself in order to grow.
Kim Shollenberger (Class of 2020, Berkeley A2F) is a Society and Environment major who loves oat milk lattes & scrunchies. She can most likely be found at a cafe (Artis) pretending to study, but in reality she’s probably just posting on her finsta again.