Being in a sorority has so many benefits. It is hard to even know where to begin! As a member of a chapter, you have gained a very unique support system. But what happens when you begin to feel a crack in the foundation of this system? When we’re entrenched in the chaos of sorority life, we sometimes find ourselves confronted with conflict. Her Campus has compiled 10 ways to fend off the drama, and move on to a better sisterhood!
1. Don’t be Passive-Aggressive
You live in the chapter house and your roommate always comes in late and makes a ton of noise. What do you do? Certainly not talk to her about it. No, you decide that making even more noise is the best way to go. Right? Wrong. Sisters, let’s put an end to the cringe-inducing drama starter that is passive-aggressive behavior. These kinds of actions may give you a smirk of satisfaction in the moment, but they won’t solve your problem in the long run.“My sorority has a page on Facebook and there are CONSTANTLY girls posting messages to ‘everyone’ when in reality, they're subtly calling a certain person out,” says a collegiette who wishes to remain anonymous. “If you have something important to say or talk with a sister, do it in private and don't put it on Facebook for your entire chapter to see. You may think you're dodging a confrontational bullet by being passive-aggressive, but it only makes things worse.”
2. Put it into Perspective
Drama is like a celebrity. In the heat of the moment, it gets all the attention. It is the “it” thing to talk about. And yet, in a flash it can become old news. If you find yourself in a spat with a sister that seems especially upsetting, remember this: even if it feels like everyone is talking about or thinking about the drama between you and another person, you probably just need to give it a little time to simmer down. While you wait, make a conscious effort to be courteous to the people around you. You can’t change the fact that you’re being talked about, but you do have control over the one-on-one interactions you have with your sisters.
3. Promote Sisterly Bonding
Noticing a lot of tension during chapter? This doesn’t necessarily mean your sisters aren’t getting along. Perhaps midterms are just around the corner. There’s an illness going around. Whatever it is, it isn’t anything a good old sisterhood event can’t fix. If you see someone feeling especially hostile or gloomy, combat it by asking her to hang out. Going to a movie is a great way to cure this kind of issue. It will give you and your sisters a chance to sit back and spend an hour or two not worrying about stresses in your lives. Plus, this shared experience will give you positive stuff to discuss instead of the negativity that was making things tense in the first place.
4. Get Out of Greek Town
When you’re a member of a sorority, it can be incredibly easy to get caught up in everything Greek. This is not always a bad thing. It’s great to be involved with your organization! However, it also means that you are around the same people all the time, which means conflict may be brewing. This isn’t because you aren’t great friends; it’s probably just because you need a change of scenery on occasion. “I live in my sorority house so there can be a lot of estrogen flow sometimes! I just try and make sure I spend a lot of time out of the house during the day, whether that's at work or in the library or in class,” says Alexa, a junior from James Madison University. “I think it is important to have friends outside of your sorority too, even if they are in another one!”
5. Going Out? Keep Your Lips Sealed
A sorority girl is committing a serious error if she badmouths girls in her chapter (or another chapter) when she is out and about. It makes your sisterhood look damaged or nonexistent. If word gets out that you were caught doing this, it could have some seriously negative effects when it comes to recruitment next year. Who would want to be in a sorority that talks trash on each other in a public setting? Probably not you, and definitely not an incoming freshman who just wants to make friends and find a family away from home. If you need another reason why this is a bad idea, this also makes you look bad in front of guys. Say you go out to a fraternity, perhaps looking to get asked out on a date. If a guy hears you spewing drama, he will run the other way, and fast!
6. Leave Liquor Out of It
Sometimes called “liquid courage,” alcohol has the dangerous property of forcing drama out of people in a negative way. The important thing here is to know your limits and to address issues before you start drinking. If have an issue with one of your sisters, talk to her about the problem WAY beforehand. Don’t assume that you will just worry about it the next day, and definitely don’t plan on talking to her about it that night. If you find yourself drinking with the group, you may also find yourself getting into it with your sister. With alcohol involved, your attempt at conflict resolution might not even make sense. You will also have less control over your words and they could come out ten times harsher than you really mean. The worst part of it all? You just wasted a fun night with your sisters on drama that could’ve been fixed already.
7. Vent to a Third Party
Venting about a problem is normal, but you have to be conscious of your setting and what you are saying. The chapter house is not the place to vent about another sister. It turns people associated with her against her, and that’s not fair. “Whenever I find myself having issues with someone in my house, I call my friend from high school that goes to a different college now,” says Emma, a senior from the University of Missouri, “I’m able to get all of my frustration off of my chest without hurting anyone.” A non-affiliated third party will be able to give you objective advice about the issue at hand, and she won’t spread it around like gossip to other people.
8. Start a Convo, Don’t Make a Scene
Just because you’re about to confront someone with a problem doesn’t mean that you have an excuse to attack her. Starting a huge catfight in the middle of your chapter formal room is definitely out of bounds… that’s just extreme. But you also shouldn’t have a serious conversation (that could potentially escalate) in any sort of public setting where other sisters could see/join in. Drop her a text asking to talk over a cup of coffee. Figuring out a fix to the drama in an isolated place will keep it from getting worse. When you’re actually talking it out, make sure you’re listening to her side of everything too (even if you don’t necessarily agree with what she’s saying). Being as diplomatic as possible will increase your chances of fixing your relationship in the future.
9. Kill Them With Kindness
Sometimes, the problem won’t be fixed even after you two sit down for a mature conversaion. You have on your hands a case of “time heals everything.” Until then, you’ll still have to see her at every philanthropy event, social, or weekly chapter meeting. “Whenever I’m in the midst of drama, I remember some advice my mom routinely gives me,” says Rebecca, a sophomore at the University of Arkansas. “Unless you have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And if you’re confronted with a bully of some sort, kill them with kindness.” Catch her throwing a glare in your general direction? Send a polite smile back and focus on how awesome the rest of your day is going to be.
10. Remember Your Letters
If you ever get to a point where you feel like your sorority is a beehive of drama and chaos, take a minute. Go for a walk or throw some headphones on and let yourself think. Everyone has ups and downs, and this may just be one of those down times for your sorority as a whole. But don’t forget why you all joined in the first place. You were each hand selected because you have similar values, goals, and even senses of humor. At one point, you were all united in your love for the letters you wear regularly. From the minute you were initiated you became sisters and part of that is having each other’s back. Yes, some drama is going to come your way, but use it to make your sisterhood stronger. Everyone is going to have some conflict, but help your chapter become the best at growing from it and moving on. It starts with you, collegiette!