Just when you think the drama and chaos of high school are over, reduced to nothing more than faded yearbook photos of bad hairstyles and awkward moments, people evolve into the real world where unfortunately there seems to be even more closeted, mean-spirited gals who will forever remain mentally stuck at the ‘popular’ table. While the rest of us have moved forward, the ones who have peaked in high school simply cannot, or rather won’t accept; their glory days are vastly over.
We’ve seen it played out in every movie about our blundering teen years. The quarterback of the football team, once the cocky villain who bullied the freaks and geeks has a dad-bod and is now unemployed reminiscing about his days spent as a golden God with the same clique, while the head dweeb has transformed into a techie genius who changed the world with his billion dollar ideas. Justice is always served post high-school. Likely tale right? Wrong!
Mean girls live on. They thrive on a mission to put others down because it makes them feel better about themselves, to have power and control. Where can you find this not so rare breed of females, where else? The workplace.
As if starting a new job isn’t hard enough, at first your lady co-workers may seem welcoming, but eventually, the whispers will start as you self-consciously notice being ‘accidentally’ left out of break-room chatter or after-office drinks that someone forgot to invite you to. Yup, paranoia is a b*tch.
Experts reveal this isn’t all in our head or the psychotic plot of a Lifetime movie; some women are out to destroy. “Women tend to have a high social intelligence and a sophisticated understanding of relationships,” says Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls. While male bullying is often thought of as physical, adult women tend to use a subtle, less identifiable brand Simmons calls relational aggression. In other words? “Using friendship as a weapon.”
Think you’re too old for this sh*t? If life has shown me anything, believing in that would be categorically untrue. Whether it’s gossiping girlfriends or complete career sabotage, most women have experienced social ostracizing from these grown-up mean girls. It’s easy to get sucked into a relationship with an intoxicating frenemy. Just like Cady Heron taught us in the most relatable film of our time, as much as she hated Regina George, oddly enough she still wanted to be liked by her. Sick, I know, but we are all guilty.
Mean girls feel justified in their behavior and actions. It goes beyond jealousy. There may be endless reasons speculating one’s motivation as to why on ‘Wednesdays these girls choose to wear pink’, but regardless, trying to uncover an accurate conclusion would be like trying to figure out why everyone in Africa could read Swedish. Get the reference?
Whatever the scenario, there is a three-step strategy to handling the situation. It goes a little sumpin’ like this…
- #1 Prior to swapping her facial cleanser for foot cream, make sure this is reality and not based on assumption or bias. Analyze evidence to ensure you aren’t completely misreading and turn into an unwarranted mean girl yourself.
- #2 Confront the crazy. Do not attack. This should be done tactfully and privately. Approach casually and non-confrontational using observations and facts. Do not over-dramatize the trivial when she provides an explanation or most likely denies any wrongdoing. Traditionally, once a mean girl knows you are aware of what she is up to, it’s enough to scare off her calculated cruelty. If the personal victimization continues, well then…game on!
- #3 Be direct. Stand your ground. Tell her exactly what you think is happening and use situational examples. Keep a paper trail if you have to. Most of the time the stakes are much higher than they were during hormonal high school. If you find yourself on the wrong side of an adult mean girl, remember your reputation is a reflection of how you treat others more than how you are treated.
Keep it classy. Although we all know how tempting it could be to give her a taste of her own medicine, but in real life, things backfire. Respect yourself enough not to respond to the cattiness in a way that is perceived as less than appropriate ‘adulting.’
Source: 4GIFS.com and Google Images