During middle and high school, I was the odd one out in my class, and was often bullied, especially by the typical mean girls. However, later in life, I ended up making friends with girls who weren't much different from those who had tormented me before. Through these experiences, I learned a great deal, and now have advice for others facing similar situations. Here's what you need to know to outsmart the mean girls, from someone who has been both a victim and part of their clique.
1. Mean Girls Are Insanely Insecure
The girls I became friends with were obsessed with maintaining their status as the popular kids, and couldn't stand anyone who threatened their power. Their entire lives revolved around gaining control and avoiding any feelings of isolation, humiliation, or inferiority. To build themselves up, they would tear others down, which allowed them to feel superior. In short, they crave attention and will do anything to maintain their dominance.
2. Ignoring A Mean Girl Will Drive Her Nuts
It's essential to understand that mean girls crave attention, and ignoring them or the issue might only encourage them to become more hostile. If you want to provoke them, ignoring them is the easiest way to do so. However, if you're looking for a way to diffuse the situation, you'll need to address the underlying issues and find a way to communicate effectively.
3. They'll Push Buttons Just To See You Lose Your Cool
Mean girls take pleasure in the negative impact their bullying has on other girls, reveling in their power to cause harm. However, if you detect passive-aggressive behavior from them, respond with kindness. By being overly friendly and ignoring their tactics, you can thwart their attempts to get a reaction out of you, potentially causing them to give up.
4. If They're Outright Aggressive With You, Use It Against Them
In my experience, mean girl behavior tends to be subtle and indirect. If it ever escalates to physical violence, it is important to document these incidents and report them to the appropriate authority figure. This could be a teacher or a bullying specialist for students, HR, a supervisor or lawyer for workplace situations, and publicly calling out their bad behavior may be effective in social settings.
5. Most Mean Girls Don't Actually Have Real Friends
While it may not appear obvious, the reality is that many people associate with mean girls or extend invitations to them out of fear of their retaliation. I have observed that mean girls tend to struggle to maintain friendships beyond a few years, which suggests that they are, in fact, not winners.
6. As Messed Up As It Is, You Should Sometimes Feel Sorry For Them
The leader of my previous group had numerous personal issues to deal with, including a parent's serious illness, an eating disorder, and financial difficulties that prevented her from pursuing college due to a lack of student aid. She seemed to have lost control of her life and resorted to being a typical mean girl to regain it. Although I felt sorry for her, I eventually removed her from my life because being in a difficult situation does not excuse rude behavior.
7. If You're A Mean Girl, You Need To Stop Being One NOW
I have experienced the allure of power and the pleasure of putting someone down. However, just because it feels good does not make it right, and I learned the hard way that such behavior will inevitably have negative consequences.
8. Don't Be Afraid To Fight Back If You Need To
When dealing with a difficult situation, it can be tempting to fight back to demonstrate that you will not tolerate mistreatment. This is not necessarily exacerbating the situation, but it is important to prioritize self-defense while avoiding any methods that may be violent or cause harm to oneself.
Mean girls thrive on power, and everything comes down to power dynamics. The crucial point is to avoid giving in to their tactics that attempt to take away one's control over their life, happiness, and choices. By doing so, you are effectively defying them in your own way.