In almost every girl’s life, they have either been a mean girl or encountered a mean girl. I know that I have! Many times, I just fell into a particular group of friends that just happened to be mean girls. Honestly, it felt like in Middle School, High School, and College, that’s just how some girls were, so I began to think it was normal! As a young girl, I just wanted a sense of belonging and wanted to fit in, so I found myself agreeing with and chiming in on the gossip sessions. Looking back, I wish I would have chosen better friends because we seem to take on the characteristics of the people we surround ourselves with the most. Also, I learned that if my friends are talking bad about others, what’s stopping them from talking bad about me? That’s not a friend that I would like to have.
Going back to my experience when I was younger, I remember one time in middle school, I called my mom, then called a friend too soon (this was back on landlines, so you may not be familiar with those!!), and it accidentally turned my phone call into a 3-way call with my mom! Little did I know, our WHOLE conversation was recorded on my mom’s voicemail!! It was my worst nightmare. On that phone call, my friend was saying some pretty horrible things about another girl at our school and I just wanted to be friends with her, so I started to agree and join in. I still remember, to this day, when my mom pulled me aside and discussed what she had heard on her voicemail that day. I have never seen her so disappointed in me. It broke my heart to have her look at me that way. It put things into perspective for me to have someone who loves me see a different side of me. It reminded me, “Oh yeah, that’s not who I am at all!” I encourage you to imagine that Jesus is in every one of your conversations and that you want to make Him proud with every word you speak.
It’s okay if you mess up now and then. Give yourself some grace. We can’t shame ourselves, all we can do is repent, do all that we can to rectify the situation, and get better each time. It takes some practice, but it will get easier become natural!
We need to be kind at all times, not just when the cameras are on us or our parents are around, but AT ALL TIMES. When we are consistent in this way, it makes us real, genuine, safe friends. It also gives us a sense of integrity when we are kind when no one is watching or when people aren’t around.
Here are some tips to avoid becoming a mean girl!
- Be very aware when you are discussing someone who is not around to defend themselves. This might be talking negatively about them, making fun of them, or discussing their personal or private life details that aren’t yours to share. Suppose they aren’t there to defend themselves or give context to the situation. In that case, the chances are that you should drop that and move on because that could be harmful or disrespectful to someone and if the word gets back to them that you have said these things, that is where we cause damage in each other’s lives without meaning to.
- Intentionally practice paying attention to the thoughts in your head and the words that come out of your mouth. Build some self-control around how you speak about other people and the things that come out of your mouth. Often this comes out in the form of sarcasm, so we think we are funny and light-hearted, but a lot of times sarcasm has a slight knife jab at the end of them that does not feel too great! I know we have been on the receiving end of those, and those are not fun!
- Notice when the conversation has decayed into gossip and slander and learn how you will bow out. Start practicing saying things like, “Hey guys, I don’t think it’s nice to talk about this” or “I noticed so and so is not here to defend themselves, let’s talk about something else.” If you don’t feel comfortable saying something this bold, you can always choose not to contribute to the conversation or find a way to step away. It just takes practice! When you start to look at how much we discuss other people, gossip, slander, or have opinions about the people around us, you may be like, “Woah! I may be a mean girl, and I didn’t even notice it!”
Even though I know all of this, there are still areas I can improve on as well! We will always be learning and growing throughout our lives, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it perfect overnight!
The main point to bring home is that YOUR WORDS HAVE THE POWER TO BRING LIFE OR DEATH. Your words will lift someone and bring confidence and peace, Or your words can bring insecurity, doubt, and destruction.