An emotional drama queen walking in to his man and making a scene in public can be an awkward social situation to handle.
Let’s see a real world story and how it went.
And then we’ll tease out the mistakes and the correct way of handling women’s drama queens in public:
- Drama Queen & Public Drama
- Handling a Drama Queen in Public
- Handling Drama Queens In Public
- Drama Queens: Summary
The Public Drama Setting
I am traveling in Bantayan, a semi-empty island in the Philippines so off the maps that my Chrome dictionary here doesn’t even recognize as a word.
This morning I was sitting on a nice wooden bungalow, having breakfast with one of those delicious fresh fruit shakes on the side.
The bar is one of those hideous white-men frontier alcoves.
Exclusively white patrons, costlier than the average, and a TV tuned in on some terrible sports channel -what the f*ck was I doing there, I know-.
The owner, a big Swedish guy in his 50s whom we’ll call Blonde, is also sitting in front of the bar.
It looked like an uneventful morning. What could even happen here except of some alcohol fueled, late drunken brawl?
I was about to be surprised.
With the tail of my eyes I notice from across the street a local Philippine woman making a beeline for the bar -we’ll call her Drama Queen-.
This is not the place you’d expect locals to hang out though, and much less so single women by themselves.
Drama Queen looks nervous and purposeful at the same time.
I keep it cool on the outside, but my mind perks up: this could be Power Moves material!
I wasn’t going to be disappointed.
Drama Queen & Public Drama
Drama Queen walks up behind an older English man -we’ll call him Lude-.
Lude, like the two other patrons, is sitting with his back towards the entrance and facing the bar (same angle as the first girl on this picture on the left).
Drama Queen stops a meter away behind Lude and starts talking to him.
Her tone sounds demanding, but her voice gives away her true emotional state: shaken.
I only get the word “passport” and couldn’t make out the rest of the sentence. But from body language and demeanor it’s clear Drama Queen felt she had been wronged and was confronting Lude for his misdeeds.
Lude only briefly turns his head to make sure he knows who’s talking and then returns fully to face the bar.
Lude is adopting a “pretend she’s not there strategy”.
That strategy rarely works in these cases: she’s already invested too much to let go so easily. Drama Queen indeed keeps talking, her voice becoming even higher pitched and emotional.
This is not an easy situation for either of them: while all the patrons pretend to keep doing our thing, everyone knows we are all 100% focused on this public drama.
After a few long seconds of Drama Queen venting Lude turns to the Blonde the owner and tells him to kick her away.
Blonde doesn’t answer though and doesn’t move.
It doesn’t look good on Lude, but neither does on Drama Queen as Lude made his move clear now: his strategy is to treat her like a ranting bum.
Such a move doesn’t come free though: it usually further angers the already emotional woman and adds more fuel to the dramatic fire.
Drama Queen indeed digs her heels.
She uses defiant words when she says she doesn’t care if they will call security. But her voice betrays she’s feeling the brunt of the social weight on her small shoulders.
A few seconds later, on the verges of tears, she says:
if you have an heart you… (couldn’t get what)
And then she finally crumbles under pressure and leaves.
Lude goes after her now and they deal with each other out of earshot and out of sight.
He comes back after barely a minute and quips
oh well that was quick
With that sentence he’s trying to appear resolute and powerful.
And then moves on talking about which cable TV the bar is using. He’s trying to move the conversation ahead to relieve pressure from himself an what just happened.
Reflect On This Public Embarssment
What do you think of this story? How did you feel?
Think about it for a second.
Drama Queen had her own share of mistakes, but we’re focusing on Lude here.
Have you noticed the mistakes he made?
Here’s my take: he was right with his comment that “that was quick”.
But not in the way he meant it.
It was quick in the sense that it didn’t take long for everyone around to reach the conclusion of who he really was. An old bastard taking advantage of a poor woman.
Now mind you, that might not even be true, but from what people saw there, that’s what most are going to think. Here’s the mistakes the Lude has done:
Handling a Drama Queen in Public
Here are the typical mistakes when handling a drama queen public embarrassment:
1. Ignoring the Drama
When you avoid to engage someone who’s emotionally unstable and looking to engage you, what do you think will happen?
They’ll calm down by themselves or they’ll increase the effort? They’ve already initiated the silly move, they’re emotionally unstable at that point… When you don’t engage of course chances are they’ll keep escalating!
The escalation following a failure to engage can either go into physical, emotional blow out) (spill all your personal stuff publicly) or emotional collapse (leaves crying or drops on the floor).
This scene from Blow is an example of physical escalation because he failed to engage her:
2. Expecting Help From People
Or, even worse, asking for help.
When Lude asks for help from the people around he is deferring to someone else, which does three bad things:
- He communicates he has no power
- He’s bothering someone else with his problems
- He’s making people think he’s a mean man
This God-forgotten bar doesn’t have any security of course, and the owner doesn’t have to personally kick out anybody just because this is his place. Nothing bad happened so far, why should he be asked to take his side at this stage?
Also since he’s calm and she’s on the verge of crying, he ends up looking like a heartless bastard when he asked the powers that be to intervene for him. Especially after she said “if you have a heart”, he looks like an abusive fu*k in everyone’s eyes.
When tyrants answers the hungry population with violence, most end up hating those tyrants.
3. Badmouthing the Drama Queen
Badmouthing the drama queen will only have people think that it’s not the drama queen to be crazy. It’s the relationship that is crazy. And that includes you.
You want to dump low quality women right away, but handle it publicly like a professional. Keep a detached public demeanor and wash your dirty clothes in private.
Notice how poor The Godfather looks to his wife after he badmouth his sister, here behaving like a drama queen.
This was one of the social mistakes The Godfather commits.
When he comes back and says “well that was quick”, he treats her like a silly, worthless problem who doesn’t deserve any time and further comment.
The problem for him though is that most people are building a very bad impression of him. And this last comment is the icing on the cake, strengthening the idea he’s a lewd bastard taking advantage of poor women.
This was not the time to go for powerful. This was the time to be human.
4. Don’t Forget to Apoloogize
Lude’s technique of pretending all is good is fake to everyone. He’s trying to pretend he’s above that little commotion but since he asked for external help it’s obvious he wasn’t.
And of course we wouldn’t do anything with his apologies.
But by not acknowledging us and the disturbance he’s created he’s failing to win some easy points back and ingratiating us.
Handling Drama Queens In Public
Here’s the correct way of lude should have dealt with that woman:
If she’s not already out of herself avoid further escalation by engaging her. A great way is engage her is to:
- Fully turn towards her (body language speaks the loudest)
- Quickly greet her with “hey X” (inject some normality in the exchange)
- Say you can see she’s very upset (you’re attuned to her feelings)
All the steps are executed calmly but not super slow Godfather style. You want to relate here, not show superiority. At the same time don’t come across as defensive as that is an admission of guilt and an endorsement of public drama -something you never want, here’s an example–
If Lude had engaged he would have come off as much more of a caring man. Nobody would have thought he fucked her and took advantage of her, and possibly she would have changed her mind about him as well.
Importantly, she would have not said the words “if you have a heart”, which made everyone think he’s a heartless bastard.
Look how quickly Karen takes it down a notch after she notices he’s listening (and he cares):
Heavy disrespect or upsets without a cause cannot be met with nicety. In that case, you meet her at her level or it’s OK to ask security to take care of her.
2. Deal With It One on One
Soon after telling her she looked upset with a calm
Making a public scene of a private affair is typical of low value women. If you want to test your girl, you could actually ask her what’s going on there and then in front of everyone. If she starts venting private details, she’s a low quality woman. Calm her down and then drop her.
Otherwise, if you already trust her, invite her closer to you if it’s a loud environment and people won’t be able to hear.
Otherwise stand up and move her outside or in a place where you can address her concerns like two adults.
3. Address Concerns
Once you avoid a full blown public escalation and you’re one on one, you effectively avoided public disaster. If you don’t know what happened, her reasons will make the difference between you keeping her around or not.
4. Apologize Or Lead All Through
When you come back from talking to her one to one, don’t pretend nothing happened -it’s obvious to everyone that’s not the case-.
And don’t attack her unless it’s obvious she was at fault: people can easily think you’re the ahole.
What you do instead is either make light of it and help people move ahead with a laugh, or be serious and apologize for having inconvenienced everyone.
If it was a major drama it’s also OK to apologize, wish everyone good night and leave.
Note: the apology is not really about asking sorry. You did nothing wrong and don’t need to ask for forgiveness. You say sorry with your words but with an otherwise neutral voice tone. It’s more like a nice gesture to acknowledge them and the situation.
4. Post Outburst Analysis
If you are considering the outburst girl as a mainstay, you need to make sure she doesn’t do her drama queens antics in public.
Lay down a no public drama rule first thing in a relationship. Failing to meet that criteria is failing to be in a relationship with you.
When The Drama Queen is Out of Order
The steps to dealing with a drama queen in this post are specific to this example and they are accommodating towards the woman.
They’re not to be followed if the Drama Queen is rude and out of order from the start. In that case you can’t be nice toward rudeness or you show weakness and reward bad behavior.
The steps in this article apply when:
- You know you’re in the wrong and
- She is still keeping it together or
- You’re clueless but you respect her and know she might be onto something
- Averting a crisis is first priority
Averting a crisis might be top priority for example if you’re with your family or at an important networking event. Or you’re in the same situation as Johnny Depp in the car :).
In those cases, follow the steps to calm her down and cut her loose later on (asap).
Drama Queens: Summary
A woman who’s getting more and more emotional needs to feel she’s got access to you. Seeing a shut door will likely bring further escalation and risks damaging your relationship.
Engage her instead, bring her mood down and then resolve the issue privately.
If she went overboard or if it happens too often, she is not girlfriend material.