The 5 Types of Mean Girls in Your Life
As told by, well, Mean Girls.
There are some things that all girls have to deal with. Periods, boob sweat, bad hair days, and mean girls. From that elementary school rival who made fun of you for your Dollar-General-not-Lisa-Frank-folder to your officemate that blames you for every sale gone sour, mean girls are pretty much an unavoidable part of lady life. Luckily, there are ways to combat them and resources for when mean girls turn into bullies and inflict some serious emotional bruises.
Let’s meet the mean girls (and no, not the Plastics).
The Office Tattletale
You might be the newest or youngest one at the office. Your coworkers might tease you, call you the “baby,” put you on coffee runs, or make you stay late to do the bitch work. You can’t really complain to your boss—the issue at hand is petty and bringing it up could make it seem like you can’t handle conflict. But playful hazing goes south she puts your career on the line with her nastiness.
What to do: Beat her at her own game. Screenshot all the assignments you are given, keep track of every email, and don’t let her walk all over you. This way, you have proof of the work you’ve completed and she can’t blame you for her mistakes. If she gets way out of hand and seriously affects your ability to work (and talking with her proves futile), then it’s time to set up a meeting with your boss.
Next we have the backhanded compliment queen. You know the one. You’ll go shopping together, always a little hesitant to try things on because you’re just waiting for her to say something like, “That dress looks sooooo good on you! It totally wouldn’t fit right if you were thinner.” If you go out for food and get dessert, she’ll comment, “I’m jealous, you’re so lucky you can eat stuff like that. I have to watch my figure.” You think hanging out with her sounds like a great idea until you’re actually together and she’s slyly dropping insults all over the place, making you feel horrible about yourself.
What to do: Drop her. You don’t need anyone in your life that doesn’t think the sun shines out of your every orifice. Every. Single. One.
The Freshman Floor BFF
The first few weeks of freshman year, everyone aches for a sense of familiarity and clings to the first people they meet, promising to be BFF’s for life. Most likely, these are your dorm floor mates, and by the time spring semester rolls around, you’re dodging into stairwells to avoid them. But just because you’ve moved on doesn’t mean they have. Maybe they didn’t find their clique and feel like you’ve betrayed them—and that can make someone very jealous and bitter. Like a bad hookup, they will haunt you around campus. You’ll see them senior year out at the bar and they’ll just have to come up to you and recount that one time you got so drunk you flushed your earrings down the toilet and spent the night sleeping in your closet (not that I would know from personal experience or anything).Usually, this mean girl is only a problem when you run into her. But if she’s the queen of the gossip mill, some nasty rumors can come your way and hurt your self-esteem and reputation.
What to do: Try to reconcile with her and put the past in the past. If she’s not responsive to that, then try your best to ignore her. Haters are your motivators, anyway.
The Hot/Cold Friend
This mean girl will have you constantly second-guessing your friendship. One day you’re joined at the hip, the next, she and everyone in your crew are ignoring you at the lunch table. She’s likely the leader of your middle-school posse and thought it would be “funny” to tell everyone to not to talk to you one day. For absolutely no reason. This kind of mean girl gets your core—she has you wondering what you did wrong, why you aren’t good enough for her, why she doesn’t like you. It does serious damage to your self-image and psyche and makes you constantly worry about what joke she’ll play at your expense next.
What to do: It may be uncomfortable, but you can only deal with this mean girl through communicating effectively. Explain to her how what she may think of as harmless pranks are emotionally taxing to you—if she isn’t evil to the core, she’ll let up. If she is? Grab a wooden stake and some holy water.
The ex-bestie is arguably the worst of the mean girls because you have a shared past. She knows your secrets and won’t be afraid to exploit them when your friendship turns sour. Her antics hurt you the most; at one point, you had a solid friendship and enjoyed her company, so knowing she could turn on you makes it that much more painful.
What to do: Unfortunately, if you can’t patch things up, you just have to let her go and realize that some friendships aren’t meant to last a lifetime. Hopefully this can become something amicable and won’t result in bitchy talking behind your back for years to come.
A backhanded compliment may not crush your self-esteem and rumors may not shatter your soul, but there’s a fine line between playful jabs and serious bullying. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, one in four students reported being bullied this year, and 64 percent of children who were bullied did not report it.
Little girls grow up learning to guard their emotions by putting others down, and these backward teachings result in a lot of pain. We should be teaching girls to empower one another, not tear each other down to feel better about themselves. After all, that’s all a mean girl really is—someone who is unhappy with themselves and feels the need to put down others.
Organizations such as Stomp Out Bullying, the Kind Campaign, and the Jed Foundation are anti-bullying advocates, teaching that love is louder than any internal or external voices, cyber bullying, or abuse. Check out Rosalind Wiseman’s Queen Bees and Wannabees (the book Mean Girls was based on!), which discusses how girls’ adolescent experiences shape their future relationships and provides advice on dealing with social conflict. Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons also combines real-life anecdotes with strategic tips for resolving online and in-person battles.
With the help of this wealth of resources, we should strive to educate others on the harms of bullying and teach appreciation of one another and one’s self, so hopefully one day we can live in a world where bullies are a thing of the past.
Feature photo by Daan Huttinga VIA Unsplash