I am a woman in my mid-forties and I thought that the days of junior high were over. But I have to admit that I have good memories of junior high and high school and they did not prepare me for how other adult women would treat me. I have been playing the scenes over and over in my head wondering what I did to deserve the mean girl treatment.
The first incident happened when a friend posted on Facebook inviting people to a local bar to listen to a band. I texted the friend and said I was on my way. I told my husband I was going out on a limb and headed out on my own without the security blanket of him walking in with me. This was a bold move. Even though people think I am an extrovert, I really am not. I walked into the bar and up to my friend and saw empty chairs around her and was about to sit down. She looked at me and said, sorry but these chairs are all taken. I looked behind her to all the other open chairs in the bar. I was not offered to grab one and come sit with them. I was in essence dismissed.
I remember leaving and laughing about it. I felt it was like a movie, set in high school, where you are invited to sit at the table with the cheerleaders and when you arrived with your lunch tray they ignore you. My feelings were not hurt as this wasn’t a close friend. I was just amazed at how rude the woman was.
But when this happens to you by a good friend or a family member it cuts more deeply. I posed a question to my Facebook friends last night asking the question about mean girls. I thought at this age it didn’t happen. I raised boys so for the most part this has not been a topic I was used to dealing with. My oldest son was bullied, by a girl and we dealt with it. But my youngest son reminded me that everyone has to deal with mean girls. The comments on my Facebook thread has me convinced that mean girls are alive and well.
Mean girls are found in work places, play groups, mother in laws, daughter in laws, mothers, sisters, daughters, volunteer organizations and church groups. They never really left junior high. Mean girls have gotten older but they have not matured.
The second mean girl event for me has been more painful to deal with as I thought the person was a good friend. When to your face you are told that they love you and then find out that meetings are held behind your back bashing you and Facebook side threads are written about you, it shakes you to your core.
I want to shout, what would Sheryl Sandberg say? I am trying to lean in and be a smart woman. I thought that women supported each other and raised each other up. To find out the opposite is true has me thinking that I need to face these bullies. But part of me is just saying to walk away.
My word of the year is authenticity and this relationship no longer feels authentic to me. I am finding this relationship incredibly difficult as the days go on. In order for me to be authentic I need to deal with this situation.
Part of organizing is clearing the clutter from your life. The clutter in your head is often ignored but is often what holds you back in clearing the physical clutter. The time that is eaten up thinking about how you could have done things differently is exhausting and takes up time. Time is wasted thinking about the mental clutter, which takes away from creating the physical transformations.
But part of dealing with bullies is being worried about the back lash of the attacks becoming even more vicious. You worry about the fact that if you talk to the “principal” that the attacks will just be more secretive. The time taken up with worry and concern in your head is monumental.
There is an old tale of a hound dog laying on a nail poking up from the floor whimpering. The hound dog never moved because the pain was not great enough, it just sat and whimpered. For me the pain is great enough. I am ready to move off the nail. But if I move, does that mean the mean girl wins? The mean girl only wins if I don’t move.
The choice is mine. I can leave. I can confront. I can stay. I can ignore. Whatever I decide, I know that the mean girl will not win. The only way the mean girl wins is if I let her write my story. So this week I start to write my own story. If you have a mean girl situation in your life, I encourage you to also write your own story. Together we can all unite and work towards eradicating the mean girls by making them powerless over our lives.
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
Melissa is a Productivity Consultant living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things!