I know the short answer is maturity, especially lacking in young adults when emotions are volatile. Envy or jealously are difficult monsters to tame—we want something or someone we can’t have and so we try to make the person we find responsible pay. Insecurity also abounds, which leads to stepping on people we deem weaker or easy to manipulate so we feel better about ourselves.
I recall with great clarity the mean girls throughout my school years and even a few into my adult years. It took me a while, but I finally detached from them. It turns out, quite a few friends reported they are still dealing with mean girls, the adult version.
I have one word for all females behaving this way: STOP. Just stop.
With all of the unrest, problems and division in the world, women need each other for support and love, not for judging, belittling or hurting.
For the lost, here are 15 guidelines for how to be a righteous gal.
1) Be decent. Before you send that text or snap, make that post or say the words you long to, ask yourself if what you are about to do reflects your highest self, the one we all have inside of us that is intrinsically good, not evil. Now ask if it will benefit anything or anyone other than yourself. If the answers are no, don’t do it.
2) If you witness mean girl-ness, stand up for the victim instead of silently condoning it.
3) Are you angry, frustrated, jealous, tired or needy? Don’t act or react when not yourself. Wait until you calm down before you make decisions or interact with others.
4) If you find you are happy when others are miserable, take a personal inventory to find out what’s going on with you and why. Get to the root of why another person’s misery fuels you.
5) Don’t start gossip and rumors, and don’t perpetuate them. When others try to gossip with you, shut it down. Stop judging, belittling or talking about others in an unflattering or unfriendly light.
6) Be a friend. Know someone who is hurting, ill or having a tough time? Reach out, connect and try to help a sister out. On the flipside, have fun together.
7) Support other women in their endeavors, dreams and goals. Send encouraging words to your friends and find ways to show you support their efforts.
8) Instead of rolling your eyes when you see another glamour shot or fitness post on your friend’s Instagram page, give it a like or write in a nice comment. She’ll likely return the favor and then it’s a love-fest instead of an opportunity to criticize.
9) Be a good listener. When your friends need to vent, listen. Even if it’s about the same topic. Again.
10) Rescue friends that might be in trouble—whether because of a guy, drinking or something else. Don’t abandon them and hope for the best. Be their wingman.
11) Don’t fight over boys. That is one of the dumbest most futile things ever, and they are rarely worth it.
12) Foster self-esteem in yourself and others. Realize what makes you happy and be sure it isn’t reliant on others. Then own it. Conversely, if a friend is happy, be genuinely happy for her, too. Don’t be envious or let your own feelings of what you are lacking get in the way.
13) Let your friends make their own mistakes. It’s okay to offer your opinion but do it without being judgmental or hurtful—and be there to pick up the pieces on the back end instead of saying “I told you so.”
14) Don’t take your girlfriends for granted just like you don’t want to be taken for granted. Don’t take advantage of your friends, either, or use them for goods and services you don’t have.
15) Be available. So many women aren’t really there for other gals when they are needed. Don’t be so wrapped up in your own life that you can’t make time for others.
Women are courageous, beautiful, powerful beings. Tap into the energy that bonds us together and lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. Join the ultimate sisterhood, one you can experience and enjoy for life.
This column appeared in The Journal on Sunday, October 8, 2017.