Lifetime Connections

Exploring women's relationships in families and friendscapes

Relationship Threats: Are You a Drama Queen?

8 question self-test for drama queens: What is your DQ -- Drama Quotient?

Five decades ago, a president inspired a nation through his motivating challenge, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Since that era, however, our culture has radically shifted and morphed into a world in which we unashamedly focus on self-promotion and self-aggrandizement. Some among us may still believe that “the meek shall inherit the earth,” but a growing number of us believe that everyone deserves their 15 minutes of fame – on a daily or even hourly basis. We once had “skeletons in the closet,” but now those “skeletons” are tickets to attention and notoriety – if only among our closest friends or our Facebook audience. No sordid tale is too foul for sharing with others anymore. And when we make ourselves out to be the hero of a story, it’s all the better!

Are you a drama queen or are the experiences in your life really just that juicy?

Drama Queens (DQs, for short), however, are a very elite group of women and men highly skilled in both engaging and repelling everyone around them. Many of us would take a selfie as we board that once-in-a-lifetime, around-the-world cruise ship, or as we accept our first Oscar or Grammy, or as we squeeze into the frame our new other half of our Facebook “in a relationship” post and make it a “couplesie,”

However, true DQs are going to have photos of the bruises they received when they tripped on their egos as well as the selfies that log their latest trip to the grocery store when the clerk refused to honor their two-year-old coupons for 25 cents off almond milk and toilet paper. If you are beginning to wonder if you have ascended to the role of DQ, then you may want to take the quiz below.

Are YOU a Drama Queen?

  1. When you are listening to a friend recount some recent triumph or sorrow, are you already flipping through your own mental roster of “Great Moments in the Life of Me” to find just the right “I can top that!” vignette?
  2. When something relatively minor in life doesn’t go your way – the elevator door closes just as you walk into the lobby, the last “best seat” is taken at the movies, or the featured special of the day is sold out at the café – do you take it as a personal insult or attack on your dignity?
  3. When something relatively minor in life doesn’t go your way, do you feel compelled to make sure everyone within earshot – at that moment or three hours or even three weeks later! – hears about what happened and how unjust the world can be to you?
  4. When something wonderful happens to you – you win the lottery, you get that promotion, or you ace that class – do you feel the need not only to brag on your success, but pick apart the good fortune you just enjoyed to point out how things could have been even better, if the world was truly a just place?
  5. Do you often feel like you are “playing to an audience,” rather than sharing with your friends?
  6. Do you believe that there can only be one star in any relationship or gathering?
  7. Does it seem like your personal “drama in three acts” production is losing audience members even before the first intermission?
  8. If you were in the middle of a conversation with a friend, and you were asked point blank, “What did your companion just share with you?” would you be able to answer correctly? Or would you have been lost in your own head thinking of how you can divert the attention back to you?

Drama Queen Quotient Results

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, it might be time to re-think your perspectives on self-importance and two-way relationships. We all need to be valued, but when our need for attention outweighs our need for healthy relationships, it is time to do some editing of the leading player’s lines. Often, the people surrounding a drama queen in the midst of a soliloquy do not consider themselves to be friends who are engaged by the content of the story, but more likely simply members of a Greek chorus brought in to give appropriate, generic, homogenous responses of “Oh!” or “No!” or “At last!” as required by the script.

Revise the Script and Make Space for New Voices

Drama Queens are astute at crafting a story line in which they are the hero, the villain, the star, and the comic relief all in one tale. If you recognize yourself in the eight questions above, then it is time for you to start crafting a new script in which you allow others in your life to take center stage, to enjoy the limelight, and to receive the adoration that we all so clearly deserve. Even the best shows fold when there are no longer people willing to pay the price to be in attendance.

 

Check out more on relationship enhancement in Friends Forever: How Girls and Women Forge Lasting Relationships

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Suzanne Degges-White, PhD, is a licensed counselor and professor at Northern Illinois University.
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