In an interview of co-host of NBS Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski by Erin Skarda of Time magazine, Brzezinski gave 7 tips for women to take into their next career generation starting “Don’t act like a man,” “Be authentic” to “Be ready to walk,” and “Shoot for respect first, friendship later.” http://ideas.time.com/2013/03/08/women-at-work-seven-ways-to-negotiate/

In the interview, she used the word, “Drama” three times seemingly in different meanings in the no.5 and 6 tips.

V. Lose the drama

Knowing your value means knowing when your stock is low. You have to go into at a high-value moment in your career. Don’t play the drama card unless you’re ready to follow the next step.

VI. Be ready to walk

Suze Orman said that women should save up for eight months before they think about leaving a job. Be ready to walk in some way, shape or form. If you’re not, it’s just drama, and nobody’s going to buy it.

I don’t understand what “Lose the drama” does mean.

Though OALED provides definitions of ‘lose’ under 12 different headings, my understanding of the verb “lose” basically means ‘to fail to win, fail to keep stg.” Can you tell me what’s good for ‘losing drama’ as a tip for successful deal?

To me “drama” of “Lose the drama” and “drama” of “It’s just drama” seems to have different meanings.


Is ‘drama card’ an alias of trump as a terminology of card-playing?

What does '“walk in shape or form” mean?


4 Answers 4


There are lots of things going on here.

  • 'playing the X card' means to bring up or use X as an issue in your own favor (yes as a metaphor for any kind of game situation like cards, where you have strategy or fact hidden or unannounced and you 'play' it). For example, for two people in a debate, one may make an ad hominem attack about the other person's religion, it can be said the first person 'played the religion card'.

Here, I interpret 'to play the drama card' means to bring up the drama of threatening to quit (a dramatic threat) so that the other person (one's employer) would recoil from that and not fire the person.

'lose the X' means don't use X, don't let X be involved, which is not synonymous but implies the 'don't play the drama card'

  • to 'trump' someone in informal language means to 'do one better than someone'. This is related to 'play the X card' if the X card played does in fact do one better.

  • 'Be ready to walk in some way, shape or form' the phrase of interest is 'way, shape, or form' which is a quasi-legalistic way of listing all the manners of walking away. Rhetorically it is just filler that sound legalistic (there is no really difference among way, shape, or form here).


"Lose" in that context is actually using a different definition:

to free oneself from : get rid of

The author is suggesting that women dispense with unnecessary drama:

any situation or series of events having vivid, emotional, conflicting, or striking interest or results: the drama of a murder trial.

The key there is emotion. There is a stereotype about women being overly emotional, so it is something to avoid in business situations.

The analogy with "the drama card" is that drama is something that you can use strategically, like playing a particular card at a particular moment in a card game.

So to summarize the recommendations in different words:

  • Don't be overly emotional.
  • Use emotion strategically, and don't play that card unless it's the right time.
  • Don't threaten to leave your job unless you really mean it, otherwise it'll just seem like you're making a big emotional fuss.
  • 1
    You didn't cover the cliched repetition in some way, shape or form, but everything else is spot on and succinctly put. Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 0:29

Understanding the author's particular definition of "drama" should help you understand the various uses. In that context, "drama" means:

3 a: a state, situation, or series of events involving interesting or intense conflict of forces

3 b: dramatic state, effect, or quality

The implication is that negotiations in the workplace should be professional and free of emotional response that is characterized as "drama" when expressed by a woman. (With few exceptions, a drama queen is usually a reference to a female).


"Lose the drama" means negotiate professionally and maintain emotional control - in other words, don't use drama

"Be ready to walk in some shape or form" means though maybe not literally, be ready to follow through with a threat if you don't get what you want in a negotiation.

"Play the drama card" means to choose the tactic of getting emotional to get what you want, as a strategic move, as one would make a strategic play in a card game.


"Lose the xyz" is a collection of phrases, which is often used to tell the listener to stop being or having xyz.

For example, depending on the present context,

  • Lose the baggage = forget about the past that is dragging your life down.
  • Lose the pink tie = your pink tie looks horrendous, please take it off.
  • Lose the bull-sh~t = stop talking nonsense
  • Lose the smirk in your face = I don't like the sinister look on your face.

They are very direct and not much interpretation skills are necessary.

Therefore, understanding the basic "Lose the xyz" template, I immediately understood the allegory when hearing "Lose the drama" for the first time in my life ...

Stop being dramatic, you drama queen.

English speaking people concoct idioms frequently. You need to loosen up and stop thinking there is a rule book at every corner of the English language.

Be in the flow like Taichi (vs Shaolin). In Shaolin, there is a rule at every corner. In Taichi, they teach you the fundamental bio-physics framework. After understanding that framework, your body is free to react to each unique situation without the need for further rules. Some people use language like Shaolin, while many use language like Taichi.

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