First of all, let me warn you about the language involved in this tale. You’re probably aware that using profanity is more more common that it used to be. Nevertheless, I’m pretty old-school about it and don’t use such language unless I’m *really* agitated. In deference to people like me, I’m hearing younger people use letters to stand in for the actual word. For example, just the other day, a student made a presentation to persuade her audience to get a tattoo. One of her arguments was that it would make you "B. A." This threw me…."Buenos Aires??" I thought. Then I realized she was referring to an expression that rhymes with "glad lass."
Those of you who are moms, or if you have pets, know the warning signs. Too much silence, or you realize that the pet is not in your presence, and you hear noises like the sound of crinkly paper. It happens in Madeleine, when the head mistress wakes up in the middle of the night and says, "Something is not right!"
Yesterday afternoon I was sitting on my bed reading, when I realized that "something was not right." Sure enough, I peeked into the room of my daughter, the Success Princess, and saw that she was looking sad. Definitely not the norm for this cheerful soul. It took a few minutes for me to pull out the story, but it turns out she had gotten caught up in Girl Drama at her school. (After all, she is in 6th grade.)
It turns out her best buddy had sent her a text accusing her, the Success Princess, of calling her (the buddy) a "B" to a mutual friend. "B" is the letter that represents a female dog. (I’m horrified that 12-year-olds are using this terminology!) This buddy was indignant and hopping mad. Success Princess was devastated, as she protested to me her innocence. Plus she’s certainly not used to hearing that language at home, and I don’t think (!) that’s normally the way she would express herself. In any case, talk about not feeling appreciated by her friend!
Hasn’t that happened to you, that you get falsely accused of something by someone who should know better? I used to react by defending myself, or countless times I would apologize for a crime I was totally unaware of having committed. I was always willing to sacrifice my own sense of self in order to "keep the peace." Counterproductive strategy, at best. It only teaches others that you’re willing to take the heat for other people’s problems, and it’s another way to quietly and surely de-value yourself.
So. I see this as a classic "Learning Opportunity" and I begin talk to the Success Princess about teaching other people how to treat you.
On this topic, people often first think of the Golden Rule. Normally, being blamed for someone else’ problem is not the way you want to be treated. Roughly, this is what I told her. See what you think.
1. The way she handled this drama would set the stage for all the future dramas that were sure to come. It was a precious opportunity for her to decide how she wanted to be treated.
2. If someone who is close to you accuses you of something ludicrous, or ridiculous, there is something going on in the other person’s mind that has NOTHING to do with you. That other person is looking for some sort of physic relief, and you’re a convenient perpetrator to blame.
(If you’re a psychologist, this is some variation of the perpetrator/victim/rescuer triangle.)
3. Pleading your innocence to a friend is not recommended. Defending yourself, or explaining yourself only gets you caught up into other people’s mind games. If someone really thinks you are malicious, what kind of friend is this person? Do you really want to spend your life hanging out with these folks?
Yes, I know this is middle school girl drama. Adults sometimes play a more sophisticated version.
Time and energy spent in this type of drama keeps you from working on your important life purpose and from having fun. It’s a huge distraction, keeps you focused on problems and not on solutions. (You know how some people seem to invent problems and drama when there aren’t any handy?)
Me, I’m excited that Success Princess is getting this message at such an early age. Let’s keep drama on the stage or the screen, where we can enjoy it and then let go.
What would you recommend to a young person caught up in school drama? Share your thoughts by commenting below.