I’ve never been a bully.
I mean, sure, I’ve had my mean girl moments. I’ve said unkind things. I’ve gossiped. I’ve watched other people do mean things and, to my own ever-lasting shame, done nothing to stop it.
I’m not perfect. This post is not about me talking about how nice and wonderful I am.
What I have been is extremely fortunate in terms of bullies and mean girls. I survived middle school and high school with good memories and no scars. No one really ever picked on me in earnest.
I like to think that there was just something about my personality that gave off the impression that I wasn’t a victim. I might be a little nerdy and have my own insecurities going on, but make no mistake — I am not to be trifled with.
In all honesty, I think I was just not that threatening in terms of the things girls get threatened by. (The blessings of being a late-bloomer.)
Because of this fairly friendly introduction I had with the world, I find that I am repeatedly stunned when I encounter mean girls and bullies as an adult.
Don’t get me wrong — I know there are mean people in the world. I watch The Real Housewives. I occasionally turn on the news for a second before getting depressed and turning it off a few minutes later. (To watch more Housewives.)
But even though I consider myself a rational person with realistic expectations of humanity, I find that I am still surprised when I come across someone who is nasty, cruel, or entirely inconsiderate as a grown-up.
And yet. I encounter mean girls and bullies at work. I encounter mean girls and bullies in acquaintances. Heck, I would need at least both hands and possibly my feet to count the number of “friends” I’ve had over the years who have turned out to be mean.
And every single time, I’ve been completely shocked.
I mean, don’t you usually grow out of being an a-hole? Isn’t that what our parents always told us would happen?
Fair warning, folks: It doesn’t always happen. (And if Dance Moms is any indication of the future, we’re got whole new generations of awful heading our way.)
On the bright side, I’m not the only one who gets it. I mean, this woman gets it. (And by it, I mean, that being a mean girl is not the best way to accomplish anything except hurting other people. It doesn’t make it easier to work together, it’s not good for business, it doesn’t solve any problems.) All being a mean girl does is create more mean girls. Or destroy more nice girls, depending on how you look at it.
Maybe I’m just a really bad judge of character, and that why I’m always caught unawares. Or maybe I’m really trying to assume the best of people.
I don’t know how to conclude this post because there isn’t really a solution here. I’ll keep trying to be a nice girl without being a doormat. If I have a child one day (and I hope to), I’ll do everything in my power to help him or her turn out kind too.
Because, really, Regina George is the only Mean Girl I have any interest in having in my life.