Life is stressful. Most of my friends are moms to kids of some age, most of us work and most of us are active in many other ways. Cutting the stress out where we can is critical to getting through the craziness of daily life. Sometimes that’s easier said than done though. This past week, I’ve run into several bloggers who had experienced recent issues where friends or family had given them a hard time regarding their blogging business. Nasty texts, bad vibes, snide comments, refusing to acknowledge the success altogether…who needs that?
Here are some ways to get away from that drama – because this isn’t high school anymore, right?
Take a social media break, hiatus, vacation, whatever you want to call it. Find what you love, find what makes you happy, and do it.
If you suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), then at least unfollow the people that cause you stress so you can still enjoy the rest. Studies have shown that how we perceive others’ Facebook feeds can negatively affect our own lives. Social media gives people the opportunity to be superior, to brag, to chastise or to rant, but we don’t have to read it or take it to heart.
Remember that social media is only a small portion of reality, and as this news article showed today, even that ‘reality’ is questionable. People tend to use Facebook to humble brag about their life, so take things with a grain of salt. What you’re not seeing is the dirty laundry piled to the ceiling, the story of their latest marital issue, the bills on the desk, the dusty furniture or the overall unhappiness they’re trying to replace with things or hide entirely. No one’s lives are perfect, so don’t let yourself get upset or depressed over the Facebook wall or Instagram facades.
Eliminate the negative. If you can’t be happy for someone, then be quiet. Not everything is about you and you don’t need to make it all about you. A person can be happy for themselves without it diminishing anything in your life; if someone else’s happiness upsets you, then you need to look at yourself to see why. (Want to go cool places or try new things like the blogger friend who you ignore or hassle over their fun stuff? Start a blog, or be nice and maybe they’ll take you with them some time.)
Walk away. If someone wants to sit and gossip or talk about the heavy stuff all the time, you don’t have to listen. Giving someone support or empathy doesn’t mean enabling or drowning in their self-created issues. You can give a hug or wish them well, and then separate yourself without guilt. If someone else wants to continue to talk about the same problem over and over, rather than resolving it, or they want to talk about someone in a bad way, you aren’t required to take part. If something repeatedly saps your energy and requires your attention, take a second look; it may be the time to turn around and leave.
Be the bigger person. That seems simplistic but it’s true. Don’t get sucked into the rabbit hole of defending and arguing or getting thrown under the bus. Speak up, kindly, give the person an opportunity to change or be honest, and know that you handled it the best that you could. Being the bigger person doesn’t mean you have to be the doormat. You don’t have to continue to put up with the same type of behavior you already talked about, but you don’t have to be nasty or blame someone else. Just smile and turn around. (See above: walk away.) Lots of people give lip service and will continue to do so until you convey that you’re serious and just aren’t taking it anymore. It’s your call. You can’t change people, and some are going to lie to you and say they’re listening, but knowing you were truthful and explained your intent, you’ve done all you can.
Life is all about give and take. You talk, then I talk, then you talk, then I talk. I support, you support. I invite, you invite, and so forth. If something is feeling really one-way to you, chances are it might be you giving way more than you take. You aren’t stuck to that; you teach people how to treat you, so if you’re finding interaction with someone is one-way and draining, you have choices. Drama comes in all forms, but only if you let it.
All of this is so much easier to write than do. We all get sucked in at times but my tolerance is lower as time goes on. The older I get, the more I want to have fun. I work all day and a lot of my nights and weekends, so when I’m not working or not enjoying my family, I don’t want unnecessary, self-created drama. I want to be there for people, but everyone has to draw the line somewhere. I don’t need to put up with meanness or be ignored when I talk about something fun. Don’t like what I put on my personal Facebook wall? Feel free to unfollow. But be nice. And be nice to my fellow bloggers, too…