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Oh, mean girls. What would life be like without them? Maybe less stressful and a lot more fun? Unfortunately, for a lot of ladies, it’s hard to imagine life without mean girls. And if that’s the case, we’re so sorry!

But this isn’t a post to make you feel bad or to keep you feeling like a victim. That ends today. Instead, this post is perfect if you want to figure out how to deal with real-life mean girls so they don’t ruin your life anymore.

What is a mean girl?

If you’ve had to deal with real-life mean girls, you know all too well that you don’t leave them behind in childhood. They show up at work, in your family, at school, at the gym, or they’re the parents of your kid’s BFF. Fun times, right?

But what are mean girls exactly? Now, you might think that’s a stupid question because you probably think you know the answer – based on all the mean girls you’ve interacted with.

But let’s clearly identify what a mean girl is. Why? It massively helps you deal with them in real life.

So, this may seem like an over-simplification, but mean girls are basically girls who are very uncomfortable with themselves. So, their main goal in life is to make other girls uncomfortable. And from experience, you probably know just how yucky that feels.

How do real-life mean girls act?

Because of their deep discomfort with themselves, mean girls act out in many hurtful ways. Or, according to author and social worker, Katie Hurley, mean girls act out in something called “relational aggression.”

Relational aggression is characterized by gossiping and spreading rumors, forming cliques and excluding others, causing embarrassment, and more. Even physical violence comes into play.

Plus, with social media and smart devices, the platform for relational aggression is bigger than ever before and even more damaging.

What’s worse, mean girl behavior can lead to some pretty severe symptoms, like anxiety, depression and even suicidal ideation.

How to deal with real-life mean girls

So, the question is, how can you deal with real-life mean girls so they don’t ruin your life? Since there are different types of mean girls and different scenarios, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

But below are seven tips that you can absolutely use to deal with nasty ladies.

1. Break up with your mean girl “friends”

A lot of the time, mean girls are actually in your close friend group. And they can (and do!) gossip about you, stab you in the back or spread rumors about you.

They can also bring you down with their toxic, negative energy. So, it’s time to ask yourself why you continue to spend your precious time with them.

Their negativity brings you down, and since it already takes so much energy to lift yourself up, why would you allow someone to destroy your joy and positivity?

Decide that you are worth better friendships, and realize that you can spend time with people who love and respect you.

In short, it’s time to break up with your mean girl “friends”. After all, they’re not really your friends. You don’t have to be dramatic and have a messy breakup. But you can start to spend less time with them, and start welcoming healthier relationships into your life.

2. The way people treat you is a reflection of them, not you

When mean girls are mean, it’s so easy to take it personally. Their behavior is incredibly hurtful, stressful and damaging. However, it’s so important to realize that another person’s behavior is a direct reflection of who they are, and not of who you are.

So, what does mean girl behavior reflect?

For one thing, they’re uncomfortable with themselves. Additionally, they can be incredibly insecure, unhappy, afraid, hurt, resentful and have low self-esteem.

Additional, mean girls can be anxious, perfectionists and feel that they’re not good enough. They may even feel threatened by you, your good looks, your skills, and your social life.

When you realize this, it’s no wonder mean girls act the way they do.

3. The way people talk to you is a reflection of their own inner dialogue

Mean girl behavior is an important insight into their inner self, and so are their words.

In fact, when people say things to bully, intimidate, threaten or belittle someone, it’s hard to imagine that they speak to themselves with love and compassion.

Unfortunately, mean girls are probably in a lot of pain. And they need to take their pain out on someone else – lucky you!

4. Stop chasing mean girls

Some mean girls exclude and ignore other women. And for some strange reason, we want their attention and approval even more. But do yourself a favor and just stop chasing them.

Let’s face it, you may never gain their approval. And if you do, what do you have to sacrifice in order to get it? Is it worth sacrificing and censoring who you are to be part of a mean girl clique?

5. Avoid any mean girl behavior

You may want to fit in – yes, even with a mean girl. But whatever you do, do not take part in mean girl behavior, like gossiping, lying, back-stabbing, teasing bullying, etc.

If she tries to engage in this behavior with you, it’s perfectly okay to give her nothing and change the subject.

6. Lower your expectations

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons why mean girls are so hurtful is because we expect them to be better. But the truth is, you can’t change other people, you can only change yourself and the thoughts and expectations you carry about other people.

So, it’s time to lower your expectations for mean girls. In short, expect them to act unkindly and don’t take it personally when they do. Instead, follow tip #1 and create a better life experience for yourself – with people who don’t treat you in such a demeaning way.

7. Always protect yourself

Mean girls can’t be trusted. It’s sad but true. So, be clever – not paranoid – and always protect yourself. If you’re dealing with mean girls at the office, always speak to them with other people around. Or, always copy your messages and emails to other people so your words can never be misconstrued.

Additionally, resist the temptation to open up to them and share important, personal and/or vulnerable information with them. If you do, it’s like throwing precious pearls before swine. They’ll only trample them – either in front of you or behind your back.

Real-life mean girls can make you feel terrible. But they don’t have to, and these seven tips help you hold your ground and create a healthier, happier life experience for yourself.

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