1. First of all, check your surroundings. Are you sure you need to be there right now? Are there more of them coming? Are they about to leave? Where is the closest exit?
2. Pretend you don’t see them. Once the Leader—probably named something like Brynlee—notices that you’re looking in the group’s direction, she will attack.
3. And Brynlee may be 13, but she will make your weak 20-something body crumble with tears and shame.
4. Double check that you aren’t wearing anything reflective or flashy. If the light catches something that could potentially attract the eye of one of Brynlee’s cronies, you’re doomed. They will be on you. They will look up your social media accounts on their iPad minis and laugh at how you have less than a thousand followers on Instagram and that you still use Facebook.
5. For your own sanity, avoid making mental comparisons between the group of teenage girls (GOTG) and yourself. They are so free. They have experienced nothing. They can eat whatever they want. They don’t pay rent. They are not held responsible to vote in this upcoming election. They know this.
6. Do not engage. You may consider your height and experience to be a threat to them, but they know their power.
7. Be weary of any hair flips. The direction and intensity with which the one closest to you—probably named Kaylyyn—flips her impossibly beautiful and undamaged natural hair, says everything about the temperament of the entire group.
8. Thus, should Kaylyyn flip her hair to the left with a snap of her wrist, all hell is about to break loose and you should definitely evacuate the premises immediately, leaving behind all belongings that can be easily replaced.
9. Therefore you must be careful that you’re not inciting any bad blood with your own body language. You really shouldn’t be flipping or twirling your hair within 20-25 feet of a GOTG.
10. Do not get involved if you see them excluding one of their friends. Yeah, you feel bad and bullying is so awful, but this is like filming a wildlife documentary. You can’t interfere with nature like that. Plus, the friend is a brunette, so.
11. Don’t try to relate to them either. No shooting finger guns in their direction. No quick smiles or glances or head nods. Yeah, you have a job and can buy R-rated movie tickets without adult supervision and could literally walk into a bakery and buy yourself a cake whenever you wanted, but these girls don’t care. Nobody is more powerful than a teenage girl.
12. Execute a brisk power-walk by the GOTG. Do not try to seem confident. Do not look above their eye level. Do not breathe a sigh of relief until you are confident they can’t hear you anymore. Don’t even breathe at all.
13. Shrink your head down into the neckline of your clothes. If they see your face, they will read your weaknesses. They will know from just one glance that you’re most insecure about your hairline. You won’t know how they figured it out, but they know.
14. Just keep moving. Even if you drop your most prized possession during that fateful passing of the GOTG, leave it. Nothing is worth you returning to their wrinkle-free, beady eyes, so that they can gaze down on you miserably pick up whatever it is you left behind.
15. If worst comes to worst, try not to cry. These girls are mean. They are 13 years old and can barely do anything, but they are the meanest species in modern civilization. They feast on human tears. Hold yourself together until your can find a more appropriate public space (bathroom, park bench) to sob.