Mean girls exist far past junior high and high school, which, unfortunately, is something that many women (and likely men too) are all too familiar with. Chances are, you've come across many mean girls, at all stages of life. And while interactions with them are complicated and stressful, to say the least, you've probably wished, at least once or twice, after the heartache, stress, annoyance, and emotional exhaustion (depending on the extent of your interactions with them), that you'd known some ways to spot a mean girl early on, so that you could have attempted to avoid all of that drama in the first place, rather than have had to go through it. There likely were signs, you just may not have interpreted them as such or known what to look for.
If you have to continue to interact with someone you've deemed a mean girl, at work, your kids' school, or elsewhere, it's important to summon the courage to stand up for yourself.
"[M]ean girls and bullies are mostly insecure and unhappy," Lena Derhally MS, MA, a licensed and Imago-certified psychotherapist, tells Romper by email. "That's why they engage in nasty behavior that hurts other people. Because they feel so small and insignificant they want to make other people that way and they want to feel a sense of power so they try to have control over other people. Often they pick on people that they think are too nice or who won't stand up to them — easy targets. So, the more you stand up for yourself and not react, the more they will leave you alone."
Knowing how to spot the mean girls who might be lurking in all different environments before getting drawn in or bullied yourself can help you more confidently navigate all manner of situations and keep the impact from dealing with mean girls to a minimum.