Ava Marie LaMonica
5 Ways to Avoid Unnecessary Conflict and Drama
If you’re like me, conflict and drama are two of the most dreaded things to deal with. This is even more true if you are more introverted or reserved. Unfortunately, conflict and drama seem to find a way to us reserved and easygoing people. This is because many people who adore conflict and drama think we reserved people are an easy target.
Of course, there are important times where conflict is necessary, such as standing up for yourself, communicating your feelings, etc. However, this post will cover 5 ways to avoid unnecessary conflict and drama.
1) Setting Boundaries
Most people are aware of the importance of setting boundaries but don’t necessarily know how to go about doing so. Setting boundaries can come in many different ways and could be as simple as stepping away from an unhealthy or draining conversation for the sake of your own well-being and mental health.
For example: A friend, significant other, or even a family member argues with you about a problem they have. This could be a problem they have with you, a mutual friend, or perhaps another family member. The argument continues to spiral and spiral until it gets to the point where you’re beating a dead horse. Nothing you could say or do can change the other person’s opinion. You’re wasting your time, energy, and your anxiety is at an all-time high, interfering in your daily tasks.
There are three possible solutions to this:
If your emotions are high, but you see validity in this argument and think it’s necessary to actively work through the issue, set a boundary by saying something along the lines of:
“I cannot speak about this issue at this time. Let’s take some time to cool off and then we can come back to this.”
If the issue is trivial, petty, or nitpicky and you know that it doesn’t have the potential to go anywhere, set a boundary by saying something along the lines of:
“With all due respect, I can no longer have this conversation with you. It is causing me unnecessary stress and anxiety, and continuing this conversation will only be counterproductive to our friendship/relationship.
If the issue is about another person, but you sort of feel like you’re trapped in the middle of the situation, set a boundary by saying something along the lines of:
I understand this is an issue for you, but it’s not healthy for me to be involved in this and it’s best if you work this out with (insert person’s name).
These are just a few examples of some ways to set boundaries, but it’s important to remember that choosing to step away from an unhealthy conversation does not mean that you’re deflecting or avoiding the problem. Setting these boundaries can be absolutely necessary for the sake of putting yourself first.
2) Being More Private
Have you ever vented to someone and actually felt worse after?
Sometimes saying less is the best thing you can do to avoid unnecessary drama and confrontation.
Of course, this can be difficult at times. Naturally, you should feel comfortable confiding in the people closest to you, so this isn’t to say that you should internalize every thought, feeling, or emotion.
However, sometimes saying or revealing too much about yourself or others can lead to problems down the road.
For example: You confide in a friend or a family member about a problem that you’re having with your significant other or another mutual friend. Rather than giving general details about your feelings towards the situation, you reveal every single detail, including specific conversations that were had. At the moment, this may be something that’s really upsetting to you and causing you to rethink your relationship with this person. On the contrary, it may be something that’s not a huge deal to you, but your emotions are high and you feel compelled to simply vent.
Surprisingly, something as innocent as this can lead to unnecessary confrontation or drama.
You may work through the problem with the person and choose not to cut ties with them. As a result, the person you vented to may question or criticize you for your decisions. Likewise, you may forget about the issue you were venting about, while the person you told may have a stronger opinion or feeling about the issue.
Ultimately, pick and choose what information to reveal about your life and be cautious about the specific details you confide in others about. This definitely depends on your trust with the person and can certainly vary, but remember that less is usually more when it comes to venting.
“Privacy is power. What people don’t know, they can’t ruin.”
3) Avoiding Mixing Certain Friend Groups
Some people just aren’t meant to be friends. This doesn’t mean there’s hate, hard feelings, or animosity. Some people just don’t click, simple as that.
There’s nothing wrong with introducing your friends to each other, especially if this is a situation like a birthday party or special event where you want to include all of your friends.
However, it’s important to observe which friends get along with each other and seem to click the best.
While some people are easygoing and can pretty much get along with anyone, sometimes, you may have a different bond or relationship with a certain friend, and mixing friend groups can lead to discomfort or jealousy among some people.
Other times, certain friends may be drastically different from one another and may not be fond of certain habits, personality traits, or flaws of your other friends, while you may overlook or understand certain things because you have a more intimate relationship with that person.
For example: You have one friend who lives life on the edge. They drink copious amounts of alcohol, smoke anything from cigarettes to weed, and are notoriously the life of the party. You introduce them to your preppy, more subdued friend who tends to stray away from the party scene. The edgy friend thinks your preppy friend is boring and snobby. The preppy friend thinks your edgy friend is trashy and a bad influence.
Likewise, you may have certain friends who have vastly different opinions or mindsets towards alcohol, drugs, political issues, or other important values.
Mixing these friends too often is literally just asking for conflict and drama and you will be the unlucky one stuck in the middle of everything.
So choose wisely about the friends you want to continuously mix and observe which friends seem to vibe the best and click with each other.
Mixing friends can give you a wonderful, lifelong friend group, or it can backfire, so be careful about who you bring together too frequently.
4) Having Smaller Gatherings with Less Alcohol
Like my previous point about mixing friend groups, having big gatherings too often, especially when alcohol is involved is another segue to confrontation and drama. I stress the word, “too often”, because of course, it’s a blast to have bigger hangouts and gatherings (I also drink pretty often, so I’m not one to talk here).
But think about it, put a bunch of drunk people together week after week and there’s bound to be issues. Even if these are people who click great and generally get along pretty well. Emotions are heightened, conversations can be misconstrued, and people just get well…too comfortable with each other.
Having smaller hangouts can be very beneficial in avoiding confrontation and drama. Not to mention, it gives you time to have your sole focus on a specific, individual friend or family member. When you are constantly surrounded by a bunch of people, it’s more difficult to do this and you’ll feel pulled in different directions.
So instead of getting blackout drunk week after week in a big group setting, switch things up.
Go out to eat with a few of your close friends or family members. Have a casual wine or margarita night. Go to the park or grab a cup of coffee with a friend one on one.
You can still have your wild, drinking nights, but the point is, try to keep the number of people to a smaller degree more often and avoid drinking with those who have trouble holding their liquor and are known to be confrontational when drunk. This applies to your significant other or family members too. A drunk fight is nothing but counterproductive and causes unnecessary stress and hurt.
Bottom line, having smaller hangouts more often and curbing constant blackout drinking nights can prevent a lot of issues. No one wants to lose valuable relationships for something that can easily and inevitably happen. Plus, you’ll appreciate those bigger hangouts much more when they do happen!
5) Gossiping/Getting Involved in Other’s Issues
This is one of the most important things to remember if you want to avoid unnecessary conflict or drama.
It’s tempting to get involved in other’s problems or drama. Especially if this is something that bothers you personally.
It’s one thing to give a person advice on how to deal with an issue and perhaps offering your perspective on the issue. However, gossiping, trash-talking, or getting overly involved is one of the worst things you can do and it’s bound to create more drama.
It’s also important to note that a friend, significant other, or family member’s problem they have with someone is simply their problem, and getting involved is not fair to them or the other person. Likewise, if the things you’ve said get back to that other person, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a situation you never wanted to be in.
We are all guilty of doing this to an extent and acting as you’ve never talked about someone is a pure lie. It’s absolutely hard to avoid this completely.
It’s important to note though that there’s a difference between offering an honest opinion and saying cruel and unforgivable things that could jeopardize your relationship with someone close to you.
In short, think before you speak, and do not allow other people’s issues to become your issues.
So, those were the 5 ways to avoid unnecessary conflict and drama. While sometimes conflict and drama are simply inevitable, using these five strategies can help you do everything you can to have a calm, drama-free life.