Psychology today


If you are looking for a partner or even just new friends, it may be wise to know some of the potential signs that a person is prone to drama. At certain stages of life, it can be especially important to surround yourself with people with whom you can easily form a relationship or friendship.

Consider these scenarios:

  • You just got out of a dramatic relationship with someone who was needy and intense. You are just recovering and looking for a company that is not so stressful.
  • You may be a little needy and dramatic yourself. You know you need people in your life who are stable, have excellent boundaries, and don't engage in the emotional games you tend to play.
  • You are in the middle of a phase in your life where something is incredibly demanding of your time (z.B. You are a new doctor doing your residency). Your emotional reserves are always almost empty. However, you feel somewhat lonely and wish to have a close relationship.

People who are prone to emotional instability can have many great qualities, but they can also be hard work, and whether you are up to it depends on your own circumstances and the balance of the situation. Therefore, I am not saying that you should immediately write off people who exhibit any of the following characteristics, but be thoughtful in your decisions.

1. The person is making angry, entitled statements.

We've probably all had the experience of hearing someone make a statement and thinking "Wow, that sounds so entitled." For example, the person makes a mistake and thinks other people should fix it without facing any consequences.

Also watch out for people who are disproportionately angry or upset when something small is not as they expected – for example, showing up at a hotel at check-in time and their room is not ready. Or the person overreacts to small, perceived slights. For example, she proposes an idea to her new work team and is asked for more information so the team can make a decision. You respond with: "How dare people question me?"

2. The person struggles with showing up to things on a regular basis.

A good sign of emotional stability is when someone regularly keeps his commitments, whether it's turning in his work on time, actually showing up for events he's committed to, or playing sports with a group.

3. The person has a dramatic family.

It's undeniably hard to judge a person by their family, but if someone hasn't had loving, reliable caregivers, there's a good chance they haven't developed those skills themselves.

There is also a genetic element to temperament, so someone with emotionally unstable parents is more likely to be that way themselves. Sometimes you can see a trait that runs in a family, with some family members showing a reasonably adaptive version of that trait and others showing a clearly maladaptive expression. For example, one sibling is a drug addict and criminal, the other is an adrenaline junkie who takes big risks in their business dealings. If you're someone who hates risk-taking, the latter might not be a good match for you either. If you don't mind risk, it could be a good thing.

Consider the stability of the person's family in conjunction with the other clues I mentioned.

4. The person does not show adequate empathy.

We have all experienced making a statement expecting some kind of response and not getting it. For example, they share something that went well for you and expect a "well done". Or you share something stressful and expect your conversation partner to at least bring a "that sucks" in response.

Pay attention when you make a comment that would normally elicit an empathetic or supportive response and the person digresses from the topic and talks about themselves.

5. The person always tries to outdo you.

This point is a variation of the above point. When you make a statement, the other person always tries to outdo you? For example, you mention that you are stressed, and your counterpart mentions something that he or she thinks is even more stressful. A friend of mine used to call this reaction pattern, "You've got a headache? Well, I have a brain tumor."People with limited emotional skills sometimes see their behavior as empathic and don't realize it's not.

Another manifestation of this pattern is when you are trying to talk about a goal you are working on and the other person tells you about their bigger goal.

6. The person easily "cheats" other people.

Suppose a coach has paid for all the team uniforms, and each team member is supposed to pay him back for the cost of his uniform. An unstable, entitled person can just comfortably "forget" about it. If she thinks she can get away with not paying a bill, she will, even if she owes it.

7. The person can never admit they are wrong.

Instead of admitting a mistake, it lies, makes excuses, downplays a situation or always blames other people or circumstances.

8. The person is extremely fearful of any criticism or minor rejection.

People who do not have good coping skills and are prone to rumination and mood swings tend to be very fearful of negative emotional experiences, such as z.B. To be criticized or rejected, although these are to some extent part of life.

9. The person is running away from problems instead of dealing with them appropriately.

Your potential partner unexpectedly changes their phone number, and you find out they are doing this to avoid collection calls. Or he is behind on his mortgage, but instead of facing the situation and working with the lender, he tries to avoid the problem.

You meet someone who has had each of their last three relationships result in them getting a restraining order against their previous partner, or being arrested. This is an indication that something is going on. They have probably experienced trauma, the psychological consequences of which they are not yet able to deal with, and keep getting themselves into new, messy situations. This is different from someone who has experienced trauma but has worked through it. At the very least, someone who has had very dramatic relationships in the past will have some emotional scars (and possibly still open wounds) from those experiences.

Stable relationships can help people heal from past unstable relationships, but having a relationship with someone who has that history typically requires more emotional effort. Depending on what is going on in your life and whether you yourself are emotionally stable, you may or may not want to get involved (or have the emotional skills to do so yourself).

11. The person does not deal consistently with their medical conditions.

If someone should be taking daily medication for a long-term problem and struggling with consistency, that's a possible sign that their behavior won't be very reliable.

Similarly, it is an indication that a person who should be taking behavioral steps to manage a condition (e.g. B. Exercise or reduce salt intake), but doesn't do so because she has difficulty following through with it consistently.

On the other hand, if you meet someone who is consistently managing a condition, that is a very good sign that they have good or potentially good self-regulatory skills. Even if the person has had some dramatic elements in their past, they are able to get over them, at least in one area.

12. The person is unable to put themselves in the view of others.

The ability to see others' point of view helps us stay emotionally balanced. For example, if you can understand why something is a big deal to someone else, even if it isn't to you, then you can respond with understanding and not with annoyance or by getting upset at the other person's annoyance.

People who can't see others' perspectives tend to be emotionally explosive and can't understand why it's important for everyone to get their due.

13. The person seems to be too intense.

This can manifest itself in a number of ways. For example, someone who is too quick to expose themselves or who tends to jump into things they are too upset about. Often people who idealize others tend to freak out later when something bursts that bubble.

As I mentioned at the beginning, you should not look at any of the factors I mentioned in isolation. For every single point I have mentioned, there could be an alternative explanation. For example, a person regularly misses events because they suffer from ADHD and have problems with planning. Either way, if your intuitive alarm bells are ringing about someone, consider this list of factors to see if it helps you understand why you have that feeling.

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