What do I want my three daughters to know about mean girls? They are toxic and they don’t grow out of it.
Sometimes when we think about mean girls, we think about high school. But mean girls start in elementary school, they continue and often get more intense in middle and high school, and then live their adult life in much the same way. Maybe you have a different perspective, but I have never seen a mean girl grow out of it. And so, my advice to my daughters is to stay away from them.
Find friends who you don’t have to coach. Find friends who want to be friends with you, who love who you are, and who you never have to beg to spend time with you. I won’t have to teach my daughters who the mean girls are, although sometimes it can be tricky to know who is who. Time always shows a person’s true colors and it will be painful, but I want my girls to recognize reality. Mean girls are toxic. They suck the life out of you. And guess what? It doesn’t get any better as adults.
You know who the mean girls are. The ones who smile and giggle when they are being nasty but disguise it as being funny and just joking around. The ones who exclude those who are different and always keep their same circle. The ones who plaster on a smile and proclaim themselves as world savers on social media, but don’t even speak to people in public also known as in “real life.” The ones who are in positions of leadership but when the crowds aren’t there they are actually rude, insensitive, and insulting. The ones who know exactly who they can pick on and get away with it and target the most vulnerable people who don’t fight back. The ones who make you feel crazy. Did I imagine that just happened? Did they really just say that? Maybe I did something wrong….because everyone else thinks they are so wonderful. Yeah, those girls and those women.
We have all said and done things we shouldn’t have, but most of us regret those things and would give anything to undo any damage or hurt we caused. Those are not the situations I am talking about here. I’m talking about mean girls – no remorse, no change, no ability to put themselves in someone else’s situation. I’m talking about patterns of behavior over years that girls use to step on others as they climb their way to popularity and success. I’m talking about those who pretend they don’t realize they ruined the self esteem of others and left them feeling empty and not good enough.
I remember once when my seven year old got upset because someone called her a name. I showed her a flower and asked her what it was. She said, “A flower.” “If I call it a stick, is it a stick?” “No.” “Is it a dog?” No.” “Is it a rock?” “No.” People can call a flower whatever they want but that doesn’t change what it is. It’s still a flower. I’m hoping that simple illustration will make sense to her. It’s like W. C. Fields said, “It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”