I lasted three months before I moved on — the boss was no support as he got on very well with these girls. The same day I handed in my notice, they all deleted me from Facebook like a pack. I got away as soon as I possibly could. They sit facing each other so one has her back to me, but I caught her making faces to the second girl when I spoke.
It went on and on until one day I openly asked them why they were being like this, and told them it was hurting my feelings and making the job unbearable.
That same night, we had a work night out and the group bonded a little more. Mean women typically target other women based on their own insecurities. Usually the victim will be independent, popular, successful — in short, a threat in some way to the aggressor. When I was systematically and covertly picked on by an older woman, after a couple of years, I eventually snapped and confronted her. I let her know that I and others knew exactly what she was doing, and it seemed to shock her into backing off.
Mean girls often become mean women, but if you find yourself being picked on by one, there are ways you can act to protect yourself. You can be positively focused on what you need to get accomplished. But if there is a pattern where you are undermined, dismissed, ridiculed, then you need to address it — and being nice and trying to please the person is not going to work. So the only thing you can do is share with someone how their behaviour is coming across or impacting you.
Before you rush to confront a person over their behaviour, first reflect — was it a one off comment? Was there malice in it? Is there a pattern? But then come the whispers.
The sharp silence that slices through the kitchen when you walk in. The Snapchats of the after-work drinks you were never invited to. Are you just being paranoid? The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls.
While male bullying is often thought of as physical, adult women tend to use a subtler, less identifiable brand Simmons calls relational aggression. From the career saboteurs to social ostracizers to gossipy girlfriends, most women have had a run in with a grown-up mean girl at some point in their post-high-school lives. Test your version of reality to see, is this real or am I just paranoid? Time for the hard part—the casual conversation.
If it persists or gets worst, move on to…. Tell her exactly what you think is happening and use situational examples. So start small before fighting spitfire with spitfire. There are some things not even a Clarisonic can cure. While your skin may have thickened since your hormonal high-school days, the stakes are way higher in the real world.
The same three-step approach applies here, but with a fourth prong: