“And then she said, ‘Your husband’s not a real Marine!'”
If military spouses had a nickel for every minute of spouse-on-spouse drama, we would all be very, very wealthy. And while some spouses seem to thrive on gossip and one-upping each other, there are many who would like to totally avoid this scene.
If you want to avoid military spouse drama, there are a few easy ways to do so.
1. Be Upfront
The second that someone around you starts getting into the drama, cut it off.
“I’m sorry, but I really don’t like to talk about those things. “
Then pick a new topic. Maybe get into your latest favorite book or movie, ask about the new store at the mall or gush over the yummy dessert you’re eating.
This sets the tone of the conversation and steers it away from gossip. The more often you refuse to engage in the drama, the less likely people will be to even bring it up around you. You’ll be establishing a reputation as a person who avoids drama.
And that’s a very good thing!
2. Walk Away
If you’ve made it clear that you don’t want to deal with the drama, and your friend keeps going, just walk away.
In a party, casually find a “friend” across the room that you just have to speak to right this second. Repeat this tactic every time gossip or drama seems to be approaching. You won’t have to deal with most of the negativity and you’ll get to circulate really well.
When you’re in a smaller setting, with just a few people, make it clear in advance that you really don’t want to talk about others or start the complaints train rolling. If it does start to veer in that direction, find a reason to leave early. You could be super sneaky and set a phone alert for your “appointment” to go off in a few minutes. Or “get a text” from your spouse that requires you to leave ASAP. You could also be honest:
“I’m going to need to leave now. I really can’t handle the drama or complaining. Please let me know another time to get together so we can talk about positive things!”
Then drop some cash for your food and dash.
3. Rethink Facebook Groups
One of the biggest sources of drama right now is online. There are Facebook groups for every facet of military spouse life. From neighborhood pages to military mom groups to unit support, it’s all there. And it seems like everyone is bringing their best complaining game to the interwebs.
If you find yourself in a drama-centric Facebook group, you have two choices: stay and mute the alerts or leave.
The online groups can be great. Members offer advice, support and the dirt on the best mani-pedis in town. By staying in the group, you can still access all of that, just on your own terms.
To keep the group from cluttering your newsfeed, reset the notifications setting. Go to the group page, click on notifications and select the option that you prefer: all, highlights, friends or none.
When a group becomes too toxic, it’s time to leave completely. All you have to do is click “leave group.” Just like that, you’ll have one less source of drama in your life.
4. Choose Friends Wisely
We all have THAT friend. The one who creates drama everywhere. What if you didn’t have THAT friend anymore? If you find you’re in a situation with one or two people who are just full of drama or gossip, it could be time to pull back from these friendships.
It’s OK to slowly, gently move from friends to acquaintances. Maybe meet for coffee, but don’t do full girl’s day out or spend a day on the golf course. You could go from spending weekends together to casually bumping into him at social events.
If your friend asks about the changes, you could blame it on your schedule.
“We’re just really busy right now. We’ve had to rethink how much time we are spending doing (activities).”
Or you could be completely honest.
“It was hard to listen to you complain all the time. I needed to pull back a little bit for my own mental health. I would love to still hang out if we could talk more about positive things in our lives.”
The same thing goes for online friends. You could unfollow people that you still care about and don’t want to unfriend online. It will cut down how often you see their posts, while still allowing you to occasionally check out their pictures. If you really want to send a message, completely unfriending is the way to go. Your personal Negative Nancy (or Nick) will be gone from your friends list and your newsfeed.
May your military spouse journey be drama-free!