Deb Sofield


Not My Rodeo. Not My Bull.

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When you feel yourself being pulled into someone else’s drama, repeat these words, Not my rodeo. Not my bull. I also like the phrase, not my circus; not my monkey – it’s all the same in its meaning of “be wise, my friend, and don’t let yourself get caught up in other people’s drama.”

I laughed out loud when I saw this quote the other day, because I love the rodeo. (My mom grew up in Wyoming, so I come by it honestly.)

“Not my rodeo… Not my bull.”

I cannot begin to tell you how often it seems that others (well meaning people and some not so well meaning people) want you and me to get involved in their drama. And for the record, it is always a bad idea to do so, because once you’re dragged into the conversation of someone else’s trouble, it is hard to pull yourself out of it and, if you’re not careful, somehow– someway–they will make it your issue, and then you’re stuck conversing about people you had no bone to pick with in the first place…all because you allowed yourself to be pulled in to the vortex other people’s drama.

It almost happened to me last week. I was sitting at a lunch meeting with some friends, and one of my tablemates was going on and on about how she didn’t like the organization’s C.E.O. And then she said, “Deb, don’t you think he’s a poor leader?” Now that was a pretty sly move to involve me in her dislike of the C.E.O., and it put me in an odd position because (one) I don’t go to that organization’s meetings, (two) I like the C.E.O.–I have no complaint with him or his leadership–and (three) there was no need to involve me in her blanket conversation about this guy’s leadership or lack of it. What I figured out was this, that by involving all of us at the table, she was looking for cover to make her biting remarks seem less harsh and make the issue seem like it was a bigger deal than it really was.

It happened very quickly and I felt sideswiped because, within an instant, she had corralled all of us at the table into her drama of the C.E.O. by assuming we would get involved and agree with her on her dislike of the guy.

In this case, I was quick enough to demur and say I liked the guy and that I must know a different side of him than she does… and, as quickly as she had corralled me into her comments, when I pushed back, she let me go and moved on to a few others who confirmed her dislike of the guy.

The reason I’m bringing up this issue is because I am amazed how many times our friends, our officemates and colleagues make a wide swing to bring you and I into their drama so they don’t seem so alone in their anger. But, remember this, drama doesn’t just walk into your life; you create it, invite it or associate with it, and my advice to you is to do none of the above. In fact, I’d advise you to step away from the dust storm and find a quiet place to reassess your thoughts on the matter before you speak or engage too fully with those who are chattering about everything and nothing…all to create drama.

I saw a great quote that says, “Just because some people are fueled by drama doesn’t mean you have to attend a performance.”

I have a quote on my Twitter page which advises, “If it is not your battle, don’t make it your burden.” And it doesn’t mean that I don’t care about the issue, but I must say, as I’ve gotten older, I care more about living my life with peace and serenity than drama and negativity. The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life will become–it’s just a fact of the universe.

As I was researching this topic, I came across a few really good articles that helped me with today’s message. The bottom line is this, others will draw you into their drama for their selfish reasons–it is always about them.

Believe it or not, the biggest driver for most drama queens and kings is that they feed on the thrill of the emotion.

“The addiction to drama is not much different than an addiction to gambling. When drama is happening in a relationship dynamic, excitement happens, the body produces adrenaline and there is a rush of energy. People addicted to drama are seeking that rush of adrenaline, or the thrill that the rush of energy brings them. For people that lead a very uninteresting or monotonous life, that rush of adrenaline helps them feel alive. Creating drama means stirring up the energy, just like a thrill seeker trapped in a mundane life. Stirring up drama by creating family conflicts and blowing things out of proportion may be the only expression the thrill seeker has left.” 

They love the distraction from their own lives.

“What happens when we stop creating drama and craving for external distractions in our lives?  Most of us are left with a big fat nothing. We are left to deal with ourselves, our lives and our deeds. We are left with a deafening silence that causes us to become more aware of the reality of our existence.  Suddenly the silencing noise, the noise that numbs our minds, our thoughts, our inquisitive questioning processes, is gone.  A veil is pulled back from over our eyes and we see our lives for what they are: empty, two dimensional, lost. Perhaps this is why many of people become relentless Drama Queens? They are treading the temptingly easy path full of external stimulations and distractions, rather than taking the intimidating internal path, and becoming solitary sojourners.”

It is hard to believe that some people’s lives are so empty that they choose the noise of drama over the quietness of a life well lived.

My final point is that drama-seekers have a need for personal attention.

“Some people need excessive attention and get it by behaving inappropriately. It could be due to a lowered self-esteem, a lack of self-confidence, low levels of self-worth or self-love or a feeling of insecurity. Some may seek positive attention by creating situations in which they hope to be praised, thanked or admired; Some perhaps are not bothered about the quality of attention they get, just so long as they get it, and so will elicit negative attention perhaps by making a scene in public, getting over-indignant about a trivial matter, causing heads to turn and tongues to wag. Some seek out sympathy by always having something to complain about. If you care for someone whose actions are plainly done to get others to take notice and react, it’s important to consider what’s motivating them. If it is a one-off, it might be a sign of tiredness or a reaction to pressures and stress. If the behavior is persistent or goes beyond what one might normally expect, it can be a sign of an underlying mental health issue.”

I think it’s rare that someone is forthright enough to call into question the emotional and mental health of a drama-seeker, but many of the articles I read pointed to this very issue. A person who is consumed with drama thrives on commotion, upheaval and disorder to get their way.

You know the type. They are sweetly nice one day and absolutely crazy angry the next. They prey on the kindness of friends and family who try to help and are generous to a fault. So focused on themselves, they love to compare their lot in life (which is never enough) to others and then act out for the attention. They cause disorder for the emotional thrill of being in control, and, by being a whirling dervish, they can distract their mind from their own pathetic life as they seek the personal attention of others to start the process over and over again. 

Next time a friend or family member begins to corral you into the drama of others, remember, it is important that you respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you or makes you happy. And I’ll add to that the famous line from Dr. Maya Angelou, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”

I know we’re taught to give others second and third chances, but sometimes once is more than enough when you see for the first (and hopefully last) time the outcome of someone else’s drama world.


Because it’s not your rodeo… and it’s not your bull.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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