From The Confessional: Mean Girls Are The Absolute Worst

by Karen Johnson
Roy McMahon/Getty

We all like to joke about Regina George and her catty bullshit, but at our core, we know that mean girls are real and can cut deep. We knew them in third grade when they made fun of whatever hand-me-down shoes we wore or that we still wore pigtails when “pigtails were for babies.” We knew them as teens when we’d find out after the fact that the rest of the group had a sleepover and we were intentionally excluded. And that they made fun of us the whole night. And we know them today, as adults, because mean girls grow up to be mean women.

They are the moms at school pickup, refusing to let a newbie mom into their tight, snobby little circle. They are the women in our neighborhoods who host Lululemon parties and cookie swaps with everyone else and “forget” to extend us an invite so we sit home, watching the cars pile up in front of their house.

They are our in-laws, our cousins, sometimes even our sisters, and our former friends. Mean girls are 12, and they are 45, and they are 70.

There’s no escaping them, so we have to learn to toughen our skin, not let them break our spirit, and remember that we don’t need $100 Lululemons anyway and are just fine in our $20 Target pants, surrounded by people who love us for us.

And we have to teach our kids that ugly truth too—that they’ll encounter mean girls their whole lives. But most importantly, we must ensure that we don’t raise mean girls, and that instead, we raise kind children who are includers and givers and know how to be true friends. One of the best ways to do that is to model kindness ourselves—because they’re watching.

My 10 year old daughter had a friend that now treats her like shit. I wish I could punch the little brat in the face. My poor daughter keeps wondering what she did wrong. Nothing dear. The little girl is just one of those mean girls.

Confessional #25768431

Seeing DD8 cry about the mean girls makes me cry, I remember how it felt to just want to fit in. Still feel that way, ‘cause mean girls grow up to be mean women. Teach your kids to be inclusive and kind! It makes such a difference!

Confessional #25757593

Can spot a bitch a mile away. The mean girls in DD’s grade (third) dress just like their grown up mean girl mamas- athleisure (LuLuLemon) and messy top buns. Told DD to kill them with kindness. Can’t believe the pettiness starts so young.

Confessional #25750472

One of the most heartbreaking parts of motherhood is realizing that mean girl bullshit starts young. Like really young. How many of us have had our kindergarteners and 1st graders come home in tears because another child had been unkind to them? So yeah, the lessons on dealing with mean girls start early, and even worse, they pretty much never end.

I still think about how the “mean girls treated me in college. I’m 35.”

Confessional #25765087

I let former HS mean girls friend requests sit in limbo on my FB account. No, you can't spy on my awesome life. Enjoy your mediocrity. You earned it.

Confessional #23425250

Because the truth is, we never get over it. That feeling of one of your peers—or worse, someone you thought was a friend—making you feel less than cuts deep and doesn’t heal for a long ass time.

Is it worse that they leave me out on purpose or if they just don’t think about me at all? Mean Girls: 30’s version

Confessional #24934233

I'm in my late 30s and being bullied by another mom at my kids' school. She's a cold-hearted terror and I dread seeing her daily. Mean girls don't grow up, they only get older.

Confessional #18362573

I wish I could tell my DD that mean girls won't be an issue anymore when she becomes an adult, but I make it my practice to not lie to or deceive my kids.

Confessional #19969787

And then all of a sudden we are in our 30s, but it’s still happening. That mean girl making your kid cry probably has a mean mom at home. She probably was the who who made fun of your dingy hand-me-down hightops when you were kids. And now she’s raising one just like her.

A few of my female co-workers are freezing me out and I'm so relieved. They're mean girls and I didn't like being associated with them. I'm gonna call it a win.

Confessional #25761423

My stupid co-worker reported me today over such bullshit. Some people should not be in any position of any kind of authority over others. Hate the mean girls at work, I'll be outta there as soon as I can

Confessional #25754595

It's entertaining to watch the office mean girls turn on each other.

Confessional #18375098

They are on our street, at our kids’ schools, at church, and of course, there are mean girls at our places of work.

My mom and SM often behave like un-self aware, entitled 70-something mean girls.

Confessional #25791392

MIL wants to be BFFs when we're alone together, but in front of extended family she acts cold and snooty to me. I dont know what she is trying to pull, but I don't have the energy to deal with grown up mean girls.

Confessional #24593469

Church has the worst mean girls. Middle Aged Mean Girls. I wouldn’t even care except that their spawn might hurt my little girl’s feelings. Then my husband and I have agreed that the gloves will come off.

Confessional #24726977

We want to believe someday they’ll grow out of it, but then we meet crotchety old women in their 80s, still dragging other women. So guess not.

Sometimes I think the only thing the internet has really accomplished is to provide a new venue on which the "mean girls" can continue their nastiness after high school.

Confessional #25757559

I had a friend who sent out a mass email about a friend in our mommy group's unibrow with a photo. Nasty mean girls don't end in high school. Cut ties with her, better off with no 'friends'.

Confessional #23864674

And now, we have the internet and social media, giving bitchy mean girls yet another vehicle by which they can torment others.

If you find out your daughter is being unkind to other kids, that’s on you to fix. And you might want to start with yourself. Does she see you do that to other women? Does she hear you tear other women down for their looks, weight, clothes, money, job, or life choices?

On the other hand, if our kids grow up watching us be kind and lift one another up, and accept and embrace each other’s differences, they’ll learn to be tolerant and accepting and kind too.

It’s time to break the mean girl cycle. And it starts with us.