We had nicknames for the people we liked and didn’t like. We gawked at badly dressed seventh and eighth graders and openly asked “what was he/she thinking?!” We called girls who dated the boys we liked sl*ts. We were…mean girls.
I transferred high schools twice over four years, attending at one point or another three different high schools – it was because of this, I lost my mean girl status. Not to say I didn’t find new friends, I did. Tpup and I are still homies and I met him in 9th grade gym class/band.
The third high school, and ultimately my alma mater, was a little tougher.
That first month? I ate lunch by myself, even resorting to eating by myself in a stall in the bathroom at one point. I was shy. Painfully, so, and when you’re the new kid on the block, fifteen and sixteen year olds can be so very judgemental and mean.
I’ve made my amends with my adolescence. I made friends, though not lifelong per se (I haven’t been getting any wedding invitations or anything but no loss there), some I thought would be and life just…got in the way.
In college, there were mean girls, but mostly freshmen year – the judgmental ones who kept tabs on every other girl, and kept count on how many boys they brought home and how many nights a week they threw up. We’ve all encountered those or been those girls. They diminish and are hard to notice when everyone is busy just making their own mark and figuring out their own lives.
Recently, I encountered some mean girls. I never thought I would again but I did. I’m still immensely unclear about what I did to offend said mean girls but man, mean girls in your 20’s are just as bad as the mean girls when you’re 14.
I sense, that they’re mean over a boy. And the fact that they don’t like my lifestyle (apparently Junior League and blogging are pretentious? Whatevs.) or so they’ve once mentioned in passing. I don’t get it though, seriously, we’re twenty-something – nearly thirty – years old. Is there really an excuse to whisper behind someone’s back, act pretentious and turn your nose up at someone?
Cliques, as I have learned, are so 7th grade. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve tired of the politics of cliques, or of cliquey-ish people in my life. Life is too short to deal with such petty crap.
I know I’m guilty of making the occasional judgment on someone, but after all that, I’m vowing to be nice. To be nice to everyone because well, why not? Why waste our time being mean? Why waste our time being mean to people we’ll never come across ever again?
Try smiling at a stranger. Saying thank you when someone holds the door for you unexpectedly. Complimenting the woman in front of you in line on her shoes/purse/etc… Random acts of kindness never hurt anyone and small acts make a big difference (anyone who’s read “Tipping Point” by Malcom Gladwell knows this).
So try it, be nice. The world has enough mean girls on its hands with middle schoolers, so let’s all try to be nice and…not mean. Even if for a day. Being nice just…feels better.