Mean girl behavior is everywhere these days. Although we’re in the midst of the #metoo movement and there’s definitely a shift in the way women are finally supporting other women, there’s also the unfortunate reality that not everyone has jumped on the “sisters supporting sisters” bandwagon.
My 4-year old daughter came home the other day and informed me that there’s a “Mean Girl’s” Club at her pre-school. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t take it seriously. But the fact is, those 4-year-old mean girls turn into 16-year-old mean girls who turn into 25-year-old mean girls who ultimately turn into 45-year-old mean girls.
Even my own mother at the age of 62 has recently been the target of some pretty mean girl shenanigans.
So what constitutes mean girl behavior? If you’re not following the 10 commandments below, you may very well be exhibiting some Regina George type behavior. And really… who wants to be Regina when you can be Oprah at the Golden Globes?
1. Thou shall include everyone.
Remember how you felt when everyone in your class was invited to the popular girl’s birthday party and you found out you weren’t? Well, that same horrible feeling that sent you home crying still exists for grown women today. We all want to be included and when we aren’t it hurts. Even if someone isn’t your bestie or in your “clique”, it doesn’t hurt to include them. Nobody wants to feel left out.
2. Thou shall not judge.
We never know what’s going on in another person’s life. We don’t know what they’ve been through, the circumstances they grew up in or what challenges they’ve had to overcome in their lives.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Take the time to at least read a few chapters before deciding that the books sucks.
3. Thou shall not make derogatory comments about another woman’s looks.
So often I hear women put other women down who their current boyfriend or partner once dated. “She isn’t even that pretty,” we’ll say to our friends as we troll through her social media feeds. “OMG… he dated THAT. She’s like, so fat!”
Listen…he’s with you now. There’s no need to trash another woman simply because the man we’re now in love with once loved her too.
4. Thou shall empower each other.
Female empowerment starts with us. Hold each other up and straighten each other’s crowns girls, because if we tear each other down, we make it okay for others to tear us down, too.
5. Thou shall refrain from calling anyone a “cheap bitch.”
She didn’t leave a 20% tip? She only gave you $100 as a wedding gift when you gave her $250? Again, we don’t know another person’s background or what their beliefs are money. And we certainly don’t know their net worth or what they may be going through financially at any given time. Rather than shaming her, how about offering to treat her to lunch or drinks next time we’re out together?
6. Thou shall not gossip about a friend.
Think about how it feels to know a group of your friends spent an entire night over drinks talking about you. Feel good?
Someone else’s business is really none of our business. Do we really need to discuss the fact that Kerry is on Zoloft or that Erica had a total meltdown in front of her boss and 10 clients last week before running hysterically to the bathroom? As my momma used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say…” Well, you get where I’m going with this.
7. Thou shall not stab other women in the back.
This doesn’t need explaining. We’re grown, women. We know what being stabbed in the back by a friend feels like and it’s not pretty.
8. Thou shall not be a bully.
Being cruel. Name calling. Pushing people around. Threatening them when they don’t do what we want. Shaming them on social media. These are all bullying tactics that should be left on the 4th-grade playground where they belong. (Not that they belong there either but we can at least make excuses for 9-year-olds).
9. Thou shall not steal friends, clients or lovers.
See Commandment #7.
10. Thou shall treat others the way we want to be treated.
Kindness, respect, compassion, understanding, support, and encouragement go a long way. I personally want to be treated like this by everyone. But what I know for sure, is that I can’t expect this treatment from others if I’m not willing to give it myself.
If we feel good about ourselves and who we are in the world, then we don’t need to expend energy trying to knock other women down. It’s a fact. So maybe the next time we feel the urge to break one of the 10 commandments, we can use it as an opportunity to look at where we aren’t feeling so great about ourselves at the moment.
Then redirect some loving kindness back to us.