Dissecting The Mean Girl

It’s very rare for someone to tell you to your face how they truly feel about you. It’s rare because it’s not an easy thing to do. Somebody once told me to my face that I’m “mean.” I was rather stunned because people usually reserve things like that for behind-the-back lashing and also, I didn’t agree with her.

Admittedly, my behavior (at times) is somewhat questionable, but I’m still not convinced that I’m mean. I know what “mean” is. I have seen mean. We’ve all seen it. It’s everywhere. It’s in the shows we watch and the movies we see. It’s in the articles we read and the videos we view. The characteristics of a mean girl have been dutifully exposed.

No one wants to be a Mean Girl—unless, of course, they truly are just that. And I don’t feel that I am. So when I was told that I was, it broke me. It broke me for awhile.

But then I got to thinking…Am I a “mean girl,” or was I just being mean?

There’s a difference.

And that led me to conclude that there are two types of mean girls:

There is the Mean Girl on the Offense: This girl is like a lawnmower in that she’ll plow through anyone who gets in her way. She is the Mean Girl who makes herself feel better by tearing down others. She rules by fear and finds the less assured to be her disciples. She is mean; it’s a state of being.

And then there is the Mean Girl on the Defense. This girl is not mean coming out of the gate. She has to be provoked, like a sleeping bear. If you’re going to poke her, good luck to you because she might come out swinging. She’s standing up for herself. Her meanness is reactionary and, as far as she‘s concerned, justified. Unlike the Mean Girl on the Offense, this girl’s meanness is not a state of being, it‘s circumstantial and it’s temporary.

I have two little girls of my own and if they see me being mean, there is a good chance they will grow up to be the same way. I don’t want my girls to be Mean Girls—but I also don’t want them to be doormats. I want them to stick up for themselves while still being nice, and that’s not always easy. Sometimes that means letting things slide.


I wish I had the innate quality and maturity level to let things slide. I wish I was better at biting my tongue, but I’m not built like that—and that is something I need to work on. When the time comes, I’m really going to try and help my girls find a place in the middle.

I want them to know when they should stand up for themselves and when they should walk away. I want them to know when to put up and when to shut up.

And I will be learning right along with them.


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