How To Attract A Decent Man When You're Surrounded By Drama

Here's how to find a good man when you feel like you're surrounded by chaos.

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I used to be drawn to trouble. Even as a kid, I liked friendships fraught with drama, before I even knew what "drama" really meant.

But deep inside, I always wanted to be the girl who had it together, had good friends, and had the ability to attract the love that lasts.

I always wondered how men and women in healthy relationships learned how to get the right guy or girl to like and then love them in the first place.


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While my friends started getting engaged and married, my relationships were dramatic and dysfunctional. It felt like other people had taken a class on how to find true, lasting love that I didn't even know existed.

I realize now that the problem was I thought having a healthy relationship was outside of my control — as if attracting someone who'll stick around is something that simply happens (or doesn't) in a person's life.

No wonder I spent years going from one toxic relationship to another. I didn't understand what healthy relationships really look like.


If you're currently dating and searching for love, this struggle might sound familiar.

Over the years, I came up with a definition for healthy relationships that really works for me:

"Everyone is responsible for their own mental well-being and their own sobriety. In a healthy relationship, you support your partner, but you aren't their crutch. A healthy partner needs you because they love you. An abusive partner will love you as long as they need you."

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist John Kim defines healthy relationships as follows:

"A healthy relationship is two whole people with separate lives coming together to share their lives."

I wish I could say that I had a "lightbulb moment" when I suddenly realized I had to change my ways, and then BAM! An awesome guy just appeared. Nope.


I spent years swimming through a sea of wannabe movie directors, struggling actors and comedians, micro-famous local trainers, and controlling older men. (I live in Los Angeles, can you tell?)

I learned this lesson by accident, after meeting my now-husband and getting pregnant after just three months together. It was dramatic and followed the typical pattern.

But this time, the stakes were high. The stakes being this little baby.

We didn't get married, but we built a family together and all went well enough. We even had another baby.

Then everything fell apart. Turned out, I hadn't attracted a calm, centered, good guy after all. Yeah, he was a good guy, but he was as much conditioned for chaos as I was.


So we just kept creating it together. From having a baby a year after we met to moving houses four times in four years, to a courthouse wedding, to my husband starting a doomed business just as the market was crashing — we never rested.

And all (I repeat all) of my friends were drama queens.

I had to learn the tough lessons about healthy relationships and finding my center while also juggling a toddler, a baby, a job, a home, and a husband in a struggling economy.

Otherwise my marriage and family would fall apart.

That's why I want to help you — the person out there who thinks life just keeps sending drama your way — to attract better guys and be way happier.


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Here's how to find a decent man when you're surrounded by drama:

1. Pay attention to your heart rate

Yes. I mean it! I don't mean to check your pulse while you're working out. This isn't a fitness post, you guys.

I mean be aware of your body. Take a deep breath — right now! — and get a sense of how your chest your heart and your lungs feel.

Are they light and free and flowing? Are they bound up, tight, and clenched? Is your heart racing, or is it chill? (If you feel nothing, it's probably chill.)

Now, throughout your day, pay attention to your heart rate and your breath. Which people in your life make you feel clenched up or make your heart race or ache nervously?


You don't have to do anything about it. Just observe it.

2. Listen to your friends and co-workers and ask yourself if they're the type of people you want to be like

Yeah, they're fun or interesting or exciting or good at what they do. But do you want to be like them? Do they have qualities you admire? Are they good people?

Turns out, the people we choose to surround ourselves with have a huge effect on how we behave. You may think you are an exception to this rule, but you're probably not.

You're not being a judgy jerk if you don't want to be like them. How they are might be perfect for them, and that's not your business. But always bear in mind that you will eventually start to become more like the people you're around a lot.


And if you're trying to attract a good guy, ask yourself this: Would the person you want to end up with like you if you were like that?

Be honest.

3. Reduce your use of social media

I know it's hard! But trust me, you'll meet more of the right people for you when you put down your phone.

Make a pledge to cut out a certain portion of your social media use, and try to stick to it. Maybe before bed, maybe when you're standing in line for coffee, maybe on the bus — then do something else instead. It doesn't matter much what that is. Read books or comics, walk around, look around, smile at babies, take deep breaths ... all good options.

Open yourself up, energetically, for new stuff to happen to you and for new people to talk to you about new things.


You'll also find a deeper sense of peace. And you know who is attracted to people with a sense of peace? People who have their act together!

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4. Get real about what you like and what you don't like

This seems so ridiculous but go with me on this.

When I was single, there were a few popular yoga places in Los Angeles that everyone went to. They were packed with hot, sweaty people with seriously fit bodies and featured world-famous instructors.

For some reason I went to these studios over and over again, spending my hard-earned money on jam-packed classes. It was just the obvious thing to do, so I did it.


Then one day someone gave me a coupon for a free class at a totally different, not-very-cool yoga studio and I tried it.

When I walked in, I felt like I could breathe. I hadn't realized how much stress going to the "right" yoga studio had added to an activity designed to reduce stress and make me healthier. I wasn't paying attention.

You're probably doing the exact same thing in your life, without even knowing it.

Are you being dragged to clubs or shows by your friends, despite feeling totally exhausted afterward? Maybe because you have FOMO, or maybe because you think you'll meet a guy there?

This isn't going to work out for you in the end. Dating sucks when you are dating the wrong people!


Unless you are able to meet the other person who also doesn't like being there, you're not going to meet someone you have a lot in common with, or is energetically in line with where you want your life to go. Be willing to be alone or miss some hang time with friends to find out what's right for you.

5. Prioritize the people in your life who don't talk so much

This sounds outlandish, too, I know.

All my friends used to be these huge personalities, and some of them still are. People with big personalities keep the room lively and always give you something to talk about.

But if you find that all your friends are those big personalities, you might be trying to fill a void inside of yourself with chaos and activity.


Next time you meet someone who seems shy, get quiet with them.

Ask them questions about themselves and really listen to their answers. Let things be chill. Take a deep breath and be chill, too.

Not only do you open yourself up to meeting a potential partner whom you may not have met before, but you're more likely to meet friends and dates who are comfortable with silence and not always questing after drama.

Quiet folks aren't less interesting than us loud-mouth people, they just tend to have less of a need to show everyone who they are and what they can do all the time.

If you're sick of drama in your friendships or relationships, giving these five things a shot might be worth it.


Worst case scenario? You go back to your wild ways, your wild friends, and your wild life.

But you just might meet the man of your dreams, the girl you've been waiting for, or even a better, happier version of yourself.

RELATED: What It Really Takes To Find Love And Be In A Perfect Relationship

Joanna Schroeder is a parenting writer and media critic whose writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and more. She is co-author of the upcoming book Talk To Your Boys from Workman Publishing.