It’s Time to Break Up with Drama
Excerpt taken from Friendship It’s Complicated: Avoid the Drama, Create Authentic Connection, and Fulfill Your Purpose Together by Andi Andrews.
It’s Time to Break Up with Drama
“You can always tell who the strong women are. They are the ones building one another up rather than tearing each other down.” Unknown.
So, I downloaded a Who Unfollowed Me app, for like, thirty minutes because, apparently, I don’t need anyone else in my life to create drama for me; I’m pretty good at doing it on my own. I have to say, my curiosity, insecurity, and general desire to be liked got the best of me for a hot second, as they do on occasion.
Worst. Idea. Ever.
These “Who the heck would unfollow me?” apps are really great at breeding drama in your head and heart because you begin to create imaginary scenarios as to why people unfollowed you. You envision melodramatic future conversations in which you will confront and talk to said unfollower and ask them why they left your entourage. I mean, how could they?
The honest-to-God truth is, they were probably never your actual friend in the first place – and logically, I’m pretty sure we know that. Yet, why do we need “them” to like us? Follow us? Affirm us? Agree with us? What is it in our human nature that craves attention, affection, and affirmation in unhealthy ways, and if we don’t get it, drama ensues?
This chapter is going to be a little bit different from the others. Throughout each section, I’ll give you some keys to breaking up with drama in your life and we’ll also have some time to pause and reflect together. So, here are the first two keys:
Key #1: Locate (because they already exist) some friends in real life (not on social media) who won’t unfollow you, no matter how hard or dark things get. Don’t focus on the ones that aren’t with you; focus on the ones that are.
Key #2: Consider how you can intentionally break unhealthy thought patterns and cycles in your life. What does this practically look like for you on a daily basis? How can you start today (i.e., deleting/never downloading or ever using “Who unfollowed me?” apps)? And as a rule of thumb, usually our real friends will stick around to see us through the changes we’re making – if we’re willing to change. If we’re not willing to change, even our real friends will set boundaries with us.
Now, why did I use the word locate in key #1? Because I would go so far as to say that you have good friends who already exist. Maybe you’re just not focusing on them or being intentional with them because you’re so caught up in the drama of those “friends” who are not for you or are sucking the life out of you. Why do I say this? Unfortunately, because of personal experience. I can get so caught up in thinking about those who aren’t for me or don’t like me, fabricating what they must be thinking of saying about me, that I forget the faithful friends who have always been there and who keep showing up. I miss out on opportunities to create new, healthy memories with real-life, present friends.
My best friend of twenty-plus years, Tanya, and I had an hones conversation on a long drive together. We took an autopsy of a difficult season in our friendship when we “broke up” and went our separate ways for almost a year. Disagreement, misunderstanding, and unspoken expectations of one another brought division to our relationship. We eventually confronted the issues we were facing, reconciled, healed, and began to rebuild our friendship. I actually write about it in my book, Fake or Follower.
Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy” (NLT). On that drive, Tanya got candid with me as only a true friend can. She reminded me that through the years of our friendship, she had felt uncomfortable and uneasy on several occasions about some “friends” who tried to enter my world. She had lovingly warned me, but nine times out of ten, I didn’t listen to her advice. I would defend the persona and my relationship with them, and then either the relationship would fall apart, drama would ensue or I would face betrayal and pain, and yet Tanya never said, “I told you so.” Instead, she patiently waited for me to come back. But the less I trusted her wisdom, discernment, and warning, the more she pulled away from me and our friendship, because fractures in our trust with one another had appeared, and the honest parts of our relationship had become one-sided. My actions kept saying to her, “You’ll wait for me. I won’t listen to you or your wisdom, but be my friend, even when I treat you like garbage.”
Well, thank God she didn’t leave. But I needed to repent for devaluing her and the years of investment and love she’d poured into me. And she repented for stepping back instead of stepping in when I diminished her input – even though I can see why she did. Not only did we repent and make amends; we chose to make changes. To turn toward each other and continue to have hard conversations whenever we need to.
As we talked during this long drive, we both had this revelation: “It’s not the person; it’s the pattern.” What do I mean by that? The problem wasn’t the person who stepped in to be in a relationship with me; it was the pattern I operated in. We all operate in cyclical patterns if we don’t get understanding on what they are and how to break them by walking through healing with Jesus and setting new boundaries to create a healthier pattern. My unconscious pattern was one of trying to receive affirmation from particular people who told me I was special, that they needed me, that I was awesome, gifted, and worthy of their love. Often, these people appeared to be spiritually superior to me, possessing the ability to prophesy and speak mysteries accurately over my life, which seemed to meet a felt need of mine. But as time passed, it would seem their motive wasn’t love (see 1 Corinthians 13:2). I felt seen and known until the tables turned and things began to fall apart. Then I’d go running back to Tanya to talk. Frankly, I didn’t even know I had been doing this until the damage was done to a faithful lifelong friendship with someone who chose to stick around and tell me the truth, even when it hurt.
To break cycles and patterns in our lives, we have to stop conforming to the ways or patterns of the world (repent) and then think and live differently (make a choice). Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” I need to stop the negative cyclical thinking and living with me, and to do this, I must choose the pain of change over the pain of staying the same. What unhealthy patterns do you operate in? Where do you need to repent and make different small-yet-effective choices daily? Which friendships do you need to be intentional with?
We’re going to hit a few heavy topics in this chapter: gossip, games, insecurity, jealousy, competition, catastrophizing, and self-sabotage. But before we dive in, let’s look to the Bible, a book that’s literally full of drama, which points to our desperate need for Jesus.
Drama and Our Desperate Need for Jesus
It seems to me that Jesus had a high drama threshold with His disciples. First of all, He chose Peter, who … well … just makes us all feel normal in our passionate mood swings. Peter leaves everything to follow Jesus immediately after a miraculous catch of fish (Luke 5:8—11). He has the public revelation that Jesus is the Son of God (Matthew 16:16) and directly after that, Peter is called “Satan” by Jesus because he is trying to obstruct the plan of Jesus going to the cross, having in mind the concerns of man rather than the concerns of God (Matthew 16:23). Then there’s Thomas. I mean, even after Jesus dies, rises again, and is standing right in front of his face, he basically says to the Son of God in regard to His death and resurrection. “Prove it.” Jesus, in His deep love for Thomas, does prove it by showing him His scars (John 20:24-29). And then there are the squabbles among the disciples about who’s the greatest(Matthew 18:1-4; Mark 9:33-36; Luke 9:46-47), not just once but even at the Last Supper when Jesus is trying to intimately connect with them over a meal for the last time and usher them into the new covenant. Luke 22:24 says “A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.” Jesus reminds them once again that whoever wants to be the greatest is the one who becomes a servant of all. Oh, and let’s not forget that at the Last Supper, Jesus publicly calls out His betrayer while the disciples “question among themselves” – that is, gossip about – “which of them it might be who would do this” (22:21-23). And Jesus doesn’t hold back with Peter either, who, in what appears to be an extreme swing for the fences, making sure everyone knows he’s not the betrayer, shouts (well, as I read it, I imagine he shouts), “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death” (22:33). Jesus tells Peter that by the next morning (when the rooster crows), he will have denied that he ever knew Jesus, not just once, but three times. Drama, drama, and more drama. I mean, even after this very melodramatic last meal together, Jesus needs His three closest friends to watch and pray with Him in the garden during His darkest hour before He goes to His death, and He finds them sleeping (22:39-46).
That’s just a snippet of some of the interactions Jesus had with His twelve disciples – the people He chose to walk in close relationship with. Jesus shows us that He doesn’t let drama slip by; He addresses it head-on and sometimes it gets awkward. He doesn’t ignore it; He speaks to it. He knows it’s a part of the human story, but it doesn’t get to dominate the conversation or have the last word. We see mood swings, dramatic statements, mistrust, insecurity, comparison, competition, gossip, games, jealousy, and apathy, and those are just in what I mentioned above. So, if Jesus had drama all around Him and addressed and walked through it, so can we. To have uncomplicated friendships, avoid the drama, and begin to create authentic connection, we have to keep Jesus right in the center of it all.
Order your copy of Friendship It’s Complicated: Avoid the Drama, Create Authentic Connection, and Fulfill Your Purpose Together by Andi Andrew.
Andi Andrew is the author of She Is Free, Fake or Follower, and Friendship–It's Complicated. She is also the founding Pastor of Liberty Church, a multisite church she pioneered with her husband Paul in 2010. In 2015 she launched She Is Free, initially a New York City based conference, and now a movement that exists to engage and equip women to encounter God and expand the Kingdom in their spheres of influence. In January of 2022, Paul and Andi moved from New York City to Charleston, South Carolina where they currently attend Seacoast Church.
Andi's life will continue to be focused on raising her four kids, writing books, creating for her podcast Coffee With Andi, and traveling to invest in churches and lives all around the world. Learn more at andiandrew.com
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