There’s a really tired, beaten old stereotype about military spouses: They’re drama queens. It’s the same kind of garbage stereotype that says that military spouses cheat. That military spouses think that they deserve a rank. That military spouses [fill in the negative blank here].
The truth is there are some military spouses who like drama. (But that’s kind of the thing about people: Some of them are drama magnets, others aren’t.) And there are a myriad of reasons why it feels like military communities have their own reality TV shows sometimes– families pushed to the breaking point with the ops cycle, the stress of moving every two years, living in the same neighborhoods as your spouse’s coworkers.
But really, this post isn’t about why drama happens. It’s how to deal with it.
I hate drama. (Except if it’s Downton Abbey.) And I hate being around people who invite drama. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Believe people the first time
To paraphrase Maya Angelou: When people show you who they are, believe them the first time. If you’re hanging out with people who trash each other behind their backs, believe that that’s what’s happening to you once you leave the room. If you want to stay away from drama, stay away from people who show you that their priorities are gossiping.
What code do you live by? How do you conduct your life? If you’re hanging out with people who go against that code, you might want to rethink who you keep company with. (And no, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to hang out with people who are different than you.)
Stay away from the Mean Girls Club
It might not make you the popular one on the block–or in the FRG– but staying out of the Mean Girls Club by being inclusive will always make you feel a whole lot better about yourself. And it will grow community. After all, who really wants to be the person saying, “You can’t sit with us?”
Cultivate your story
So often, drama and gossip runs away with your story. It unravels quickly and grows into something that you might not have intended. That drama and gossip circles you if you’re part of it– it changes the way people think of you and how you think of yourself. The only way to stay in control of your story is for you to take control of it. Staying away from gossip and drama is one of those ways to do it.
Especially online, it’s easy to cast aspersions. It’s super easy to think that you have the superior knowledge, or understanding, or… You know what I’m talking about. The truth of the matter is, often criticism isn’t about being wrong– it’s about being different. Just because a military spouse might not do things the way you would doesn’t mean they’re wrong. And it doesn’t mean that you’re right. It just means that you do things differently from one another. Instead of compulsively criticizing, stay away from the keyboard, keep scrolling, or offer some praise.
Military life is hard. Be kind to each other. We’re all just trying to slog through it the best we can.