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How to Survive and Love Someone with NFD (Need for Drama)

September 1, 2020

Maybe you know or even love someone that needs constant drama in their lives. They run to one crisis to another and often drag you into the middle of it. They are generous about sharing all the details about their latest terrible situation and workplace feud. 

 

People with “NFD” or the “need for drama” create most of their own crises, because their personality predisposes them to seek an adrenaline rush or sense of power. They are classified under Cluster B personality disorders which makes them a challenge to work, befriend, or live with. When you have a cluster of borderline, narcissistic, and histrionic traits, it’s difficult to discern fact from exaggerated thought processes. Personality disorders do not respond well to consistent counseling, because the clients often miss appointments due to a crisis.

 

People with NFD see the world very differently. Trying to reason with them will not be as successful as changing your behaviors so you don’t fall victim to their dramatic exaggerations or become part of their drama. Below are four suggestions that can help you stay calm and keep the drama from spilling over into your life:

  1. Learn to look at situations objectively before reacting. It’s easy to get persuaded and involved in drama. Your NFD coworker may warn that the company is going broke, you’re going to get laid off, or there is a secret office feud. Think rationally before you react. 

  2. Skip the gossip. People with NFD are good at creating gossip and love to spread it. If you get involved in their gossip, you must remember what you said will be exaggerated to the tenth degree. This exaggerated gossip causes hurt feelings, ends friendships, and ruins reputations. 

  3. Be compassionate with boundaries. NFD individuals need to be noticed and feel important. Creating compassionate boundaries will help them feel loved while keeping out their drama. Being honest with them and keeping strong boundaries will lead them to respect and understand you enough to know their drama is not welcome. 

  4. Don’t accept the multiple invitations to argue. If you love someone with NFD, you’ll have to accept they see storms where you see blue skies. They start arguments and are prone to changing or challenging the truth. Redirecting them and helping to unravel exaggerated stories can reveal the feeling they are reacting to underneath. Something as simple as boredom can fuel a dramatic showdown.

 

You cannot control the crisis going on in someone’s mind, but you can decide how you will react. Make your life one of honesty and positivity when possible. If your life involves someone with NFD, you will get invited to many dramas –  be selective about the ones you attend. 

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