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How to Tell if She’s a Drama Queen or a Friend in Need

Updated on February 22, 2016

We’ve all had those tumultuous friendships, the ones that seem to be nothing but ups and downs and excitement at every turn. Sometimes it can be fun, and other times it can be exhausting. There’s nothing wrong with befriending someone whose life is more adventurous than average, but how can you tell the difference between someone who is including you in the excitement of their life, and someone who is dragging you along in a game of drama and manipulation?

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Intention

In basic terms, it all depends on the intent of the other person, which can often be tricky to determine. Everyone needs a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on from time to time, and indeed that’s what friends are for — to be there for each other in good times and in bad. But when it starts to seem like every event in this person’s life becomes an excuse to involve you in a way that you’re not comfortable with, you have to ask yourself if she sees the friendship as a two-way street, or if your main purpose in her eyes is to be there when she needs something.

Trust Your Instincts

In the end, you have to go with your gut instinct. It is important to determine what you expect out of the friendship, both in terms of your own needs, and how you see the relationship as its own entity. Do you find yourself energized by this friendship, or exhausted by it? Is the drama exciting, or draining? Are you giving up a lot of what you want so that your friend can have what she wants? If she doesn’t get what she wants in terms of attention, does she manipulate the situation so that the spotlight is always on her? There is a subtle difference between someone who honestly needs a lot of help and is willing to help in return, and someone whose game it is to manipulate others into doing what they want. If you’ve started to feel like it’s mostly take and very little give on her part, ask yourself if it’s because she keeps getting in legitimate binds, or rather because she has become accustomed to playing the role of protagonist, with you as her trusty sidekick.

Caution Hasty Decisions

Of course, if you have decided that this friendship isn’t what you thought it could be, that doesn’t necessarily spell out the end for the two of you. It seems that more and more, people think of others as disposable — if a friendship isn’t perfect, even a long-term one, you can just bail out and find another friend. Yes, you can do that, but this is not like trading in an old car for a better model. People each have their own perspectives, and it’s possible that your friend just doesn’t see the situation the same way that you do. Perhaps her intent was not to harm the friendship or manipulate you, but certainly she needs to be made aware of how you perceive the situation. After you have cleared the air, hopefully things will make a turn for the better. If they don’t, however, then you have to start weighing the benefits of the friendship against the toll it is taking on your mental and emotional health.

True Friends Can Handle Truth

Friendships don’t have to run at an even keel all the time, and of course it would be boring if they did. It can often be difficult to notice the difference between a friend legitimately needing you and a friend manipulating you, but if you’re starting to feel like being around your friend is more of a struggle than a pleasure, it may be time to reassess the situation and let your feelings be known. Maybe it will work out, or maybe at won’t, but at least your friend will know where you stand, and you can move forward with the knowledge that you have done everything you can. After all, good friends don’t come along all that often, so it’s worth giving your friendship every possible chance of making it through the difficult times.

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