In the 2004 movie, Mean Girls. Cady accidentally catches the attention of The Plastics- aka the mean girls. In one of the movie’s most often quoted scenes, they “graciously” invite Cady to sit with them at lunch for the week. The invite is punctuated with, “On Wednesdays we wear pink.”
Mean girls. We all know them. And they seem to play part in some part of everyone’s life- either a person was a mean girl or suffered at the hands of a mean girl or saw others encounter mean girls.
When I was growing up, mean girls were mean girls. It was that simple. They were not kind. They were bad eggs. They were born that way. Just as some of us were not born mean. Well, I’m sure you see the flaws in my childhood theory. Now we know that when someone is mean, there might a reason. Whether it is circumstances in their life at that moment or the result years of childhood trauma, a large part of that mean group wasn’t born like that. It’s not right to treat people badly regardless.
When I was eleven years old, my family took a vacation during the school year and I missed a week of school. This was unheard of- we were sent to school with hacking coughs, fevers…. we were raised that you simply did not miss school for any reason. In this specific year, my dad had vacation time coming and money saved for a trip but if he did not take it by a specific date he would lose it. My parents reluctantly pulled us from school for a week. We went to Disney World. It was awesome!
My first day back at school after our trip, I was excited to share my adventures with my best friend. Unbidden and uninvited, our resident mean girl, Chrissy, walked up and said, “No one missed you while you were gone. We wish you didn’t come back.”
I was shocked and hurt. I hadn’t had any encounters with Chrissy before this. I spent my entire school years trying desperately (and succeeding most of the time) to remain in the background. While I might be chatty in my small group of friends, I was mostly quiet and never seeking attention. I was incredibly insecure, something that still occasionally rears its ugly head to this day.
I don’t remember any other details of that encounter but one thing remains consistent. My reason for feeling hurt. Her actual words could have devastated me if I had been someone else. To be told that none of your peers missed you and that they wished you gone? Many people- especially at the delicate age of eleven, just on the cusp of the teen years, would have been crushed at the thought. I might have been unsure of myself but I was also smart enough to realize how silly her words actually were. I only had possibly five good friends at that time. Of course, no one missed me. They didn’t even realize I was there when i was there! Seriously! No. I was stung by Chrissy’s intent to hurt me unprovoked. I had never exchanged a word with this girl. Never made eye contact. Avoided her like the plague. She wasn’t one of those mean girls who gives you a fake smile and then stabs you in the back. No, she was one who had a nasty scowl on her face and sneer in her tone that was unmistakable.
Since then, I have encountered mean girls in every part of my life. They are everywhere. Unfortunately, my experience has been that mean girls grow up to be mean mom, mean associates….mean. They don’t bother me and although at times my lack of response infuriates them, I remain off their radar. As an adult I am able to see their insecurities and the motives behind their behavior.
I am sorry that these girls act this way. There is another option but I’m not sure that some of them would be open to it.
“There are three ways to ultimate success:
The first way is to be kind.
The second way is to be kind.
The third way is to be kind.”
Have you ever encountered a mean girl? Or are you a mean girl, wondering what the big deal is? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Also, I’m curious- if you were bestowed that lunch invite, would you wear pink on Wednesday?