Its hard to miss the drama in a conservative work environment where things are relatively calm. Granted there are pressures and tensions at the office but nothing compares to the constant barrage of theatrics. One person seems to stand out in suggestive appearance, inappropriate behavior, and a need to be the center of attention. In modern culture, these people are frequently called drama queens. But in psychology, they are labeled Histrionic Personality Disorder. A personality disorder is pervasive, meaning it exists in all environments such as work, home and community. Individuals who fall into this category seem to have a constant flow of drama following them everywhere. Some of it is outside of their influence, but some is the result of poor judgement. Histrionics are characterized by the following in work settings:

  • Validation – An insatiable need for approval from co-workers and supervisors. This manifests by being easily influenced in order to gain even more approval.
  • Tasks – Has great initial enthusiasm for projects but lacks follow-through. Will begin a task highly motivated and committed but has difficulty finishing when the excitement dies down. Needs immediate gratification and becomes agitated with any delay.
  • Relationships – Quickly attaches and clings to co-workers calling them their best friend when the feeling is not reciprocal. Often co-workers will avoid them in an attempt to set better boundaries. Will seek out the excitement of new relationships and abandon old ones.
  • Day-to-day – Is impulsive and likes to engage in risk taking behavior. They are easily bored with routine and jobs that perform the same tasks over and over. They tend to act out to gain attention and when it is not received, they act out even more. This results in depression when they are not the center of things.
  • Responses – Is sensitive to stressful environments, worries excessively, is flippant with responsibilities, and lacks specific detail in speaking. They can be emotionally expressive and manipulative, but also very shallow and fake.
  • Ethics Engages in inappropriate seductive behavior with people who are in other relationships or where there is a potential for conflict such as employer/employee. They use their physical appearance to sexually attract others, wear revealing clothing, and then will follow through with promiscuous behavior.

Because of this behavior, many Histrionics do not last too long in a job which is a shame because they tend to be highly creative. Their energy level and enthusiasm can be exciting to be around. While it may seem they work better in unstructured environments, too much flexibility can invite even more risk taking behavior. They function well in environments where the rules are constantly reinforced and there are frequent rewards.