Earlier this week a mom of a college student stood relating to me a bit of the “drama” that seems to be inescapable in her daughter’s world. It just seems like it’s hard to be in a dorm, an apartment, or even on a team with other girls when you’re between the ages of 16 and 25 without having some “yah-yah”-ing going on…sometimes a little gossip, a bit of pride and some histrionics that can turn minor incidents into full-blown relationship busters. Even more complicated is when the trouble involves someone of the opposite sex–someone who may be looking for male logic and sense in the hysteria that may at any time be compounded by caffeine, hormones, or sleep deprivation. As I was thinking about this I was reminded of my own college days and those of my daughter that were not completely free of the turmoil of girl theatrics, by any stretch. I reached back into the archives today to pull out something Hannah wrote while in the midst of the dorm drama. It might be useful if you find yourself embroiled. Keep calm and keep Christ in the mix. In fact, keep Him at the center. In times of crisis, get somewhere quiet and spend some time in the Word. Here’s Hannah on drama. As you read, try to call to mind scriptures that support her five recommendations. I think you will find they are very Biblical.
Be the Bigger Person
“I’m sorry! It’s really hard to keep up with who we’re not talking to anymore!”
This quote, taken from the teenage chick flick of the century, Princess Diaries, is funny, yes, but far too close to home. Said in a group of melodramatic teenage girls, this should have been an exaggerated example of how immature girls can be, but I daresay it wasn’t an exaggeration at all.
We’re all aware of how mean girls can be, and, while we girls at FHU have great role models and a spiritual environment to help us avoid the drama, sometimes we, too, can make regular productions of petty incidents. An argument over something as silly as laundry detergent can result in a menacing grudge that can start during the first semester and last until graduation 4 years later—complete with gossip in an attempt to make the ostracized one look as bad as possible, dirty looks, and envy when the other girls gets ahead in the game. It’s exhausting.
Guys, on the other hand, get over things rather quickly. I don’t know if it’s because they’re more mature or because they’re just too absentminded and careless to prey on bitter thoughts long enough to hold a grudge, but in any case, their world is much simpler than that of us girls. I’d like to think it’s because they’re reasonable enough to see that having to remind yourself how mad you are at someone every morning is no way to live.
For the record, I’m not discrediting the perks of being a girl. Young womanhood doesn’t always have to equal childish drama. In relationships with guys, it is our keen instincts, female intuition (proven time and again), and tender hearts that balance out the coarseness and unfeeling logic that is often characteristic of our male counterparts. At the same time, girls ought to have figured out by now that not all guys pick up on body language that screams, “I’m mad at you—ask me what’s wrong,” and if even if the guy is sensitive enough to pick up on it, he may actually believe you when you quickly retort “I’m fine,” (oh the horror!).
My advice for girls? Be honest, be real, be Christ-like. This is so much easier said than done, but there are some simple ways to work toward this ideal. Here are a few (you know I’m all about lists):
5. If you have an issue with another girl, don’t assume that she knows what the problem is, or that giving her the cold shoulder will fix it.
4. Talk to the girl who has upset you, and not everyone else instead of her. Talking to someone unrelated to the situation can be beneficial if the purpose is a sincere desire to gain insight on how to help someone or how to help a situation in a Christian manner, but all too often, this excuse is used as a crutch to make you look good while you’re backbiting. Go to the girl herself with an attitude of humility and selflessness. If you cannot find resolution then, you can pillow your head at night knowing you did your best, and the rest is out of your hands.
3. Be calm and clear when you communicate with guys. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t expect them to always pick up on clues or hints.
2. Remember that when you give in to drama, you’re hurting yourself more than anyone else. To illustrate this, let me remind you of something Augustine of Hippo once said: “Resentment is like taking the poison and hoping the other person dies.”
1. Rise above it. Be the bigger person. Period.
In short, let’s start communicating. Really communicating.
Inasmuch as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.