I find myself in a drama-filled situation this week. It involves a co-worker, who also happens to be a parent of a child I work with. This is always a tricky relationship. While I make it a priority to keep the people I work with at a professional distance, I still want to be friendly. In other words, we won't be going out for drinks, but we can joke and laugh about things together at work!
On the other hand, if you are the parent of a child I work with, I want to maintain even more of a professional distance, to be able to discuss your child's performance and behavior without it being awkward. So what we're going for here is friendly but separate, and above all, professional.
The problem comes when the professionalism is one-sided. Last week I had to tell this co-worker some things about her child that she did not want to hear. Maybe this has brought about her change in behavior towards me this week. Maybe it's something else entirely. I don't now.
But it seems like she is just looking for a reason to be mad at me. I'm a big girl...I can handle it. What bothers me is that she will yell and rant at me (or about me) at one moment, then be overly friendly and try to make small talk the next. And then she'll tell me that she's not upset with me for how I treated her. (HUH?) I find myself on edge around her, never knowing if she'll fly off the handle if I say the wrong thing, or if she'll take something I say and use it against me later. And you know what? I don't need that drama in my life right now.
So I am now being strictly professional with her. I am treating our relationship as strictly teacher/parent. It feels cold and I don't like it. I am a friendly person. Conflict makes me sick to my stomach. To purposely hold myself back from someone is a choice that does not feel right to me. It doesn't line up with what the Bible teaches. And yet, it also feels like the right choice at this time.
After Munchkin was born, I spent the better part of a year in counseling, learning to overcome many of the problems arising from my troubled past. Many good things came out of that year, but perhaps one of the best things for my emotional well-being was learning not to take on anyone else's drama. I used to let everyone use me as their sounding board. I use to try to keep the peace in all my relationships. I used to feel constantly pulled to "take sides" in many conflicts. I learned that it was a choice I was making, and to just say "No. I'm not going to do that." It took a long time, but was the best change I ever made in myself.
So, once again, I choose to preserve my sanity. I choose to get rid of the stressful situations in my life that don't need to be there. There is so much "drama" in my day to day living already--I don't need to add any more. I've also noticed that when I refuse to take part in someone else's drama, it usually fizzles out--so I'm praying this fizzles soon.