How To Beat A Mean Girl At Her Own Game

Back in middle and even high school, I was the class outcast, which made me a prime target for bullying, the worst of which came from the typical mean girls. Later in life, I actually ended up befriending girls who weren’t all that different from the ones that picked on me as a kid and I learned a lot from them. Had I known as a kid what I know now, things would’ve been much different. From someone who’s been both bullied by mean girls and part of their clique, here’s what you need to know to beat them at their own game.

    1. Mean girls are insanely insecure. The girls I befriended absolutely couldn’t stand anyone showing them up, but also had a deep need to show off the fact that they had a massive group of friends who basically thought they were godesses. For many of these girls, their entire lives are built around gaining power simply because they can’t handle being alone, insulted, or upstaged. By cutting others down, they feel like they’re building themselves up.
    2. Ignoring a mean girl will drive her nuts. Simply put, they yearn for attention. Ignoring them or the problem may actually get them to become more aggressive, but it’s the easiest way to infuriate them, if that’s what you’re aiming for.
    3. They’ll push buttons just to see you lose your cool. Mean girls adore seeing the effects of bullying on other girls. They thrive on the fact that they have enough power to hurt other people. If you notice them being passive-aggressive with you, kill them with kindness. Be saccharine sweet with them and pretend you don’t notice at all. If you keep making their plans to get under your skin backfire, they’ll most likely back off.
    4. If they’re outright aggressive with you, use it against them. In my experience, most mean girl behavior isn’t outwardly aggressive. If it gets to the point that they’re getting physical, the best thing to do is to keep a record of it and bring it to the attention to the people who’re actually in charge. In school, this could be a teacher OR a lawyer that specializes in bullying cases. In the workplace, this would be HR, a lawyer, or your boss. In social settings, publicly shaming their bad behavior is usually more than enough to deal a major blow.
    5. Most mean girls don’t actually have real friends. It’s true, even though it may not seem like it. The only reason that most people hang out with mean girls or invite them anywhere is because they’re afraid of their wrath. One thing I’ve noticed is that mean girls usually can’t hold onto friendships for more than a couple of years. This is a direct result of them being losers.
    6. As messed up as it is, you should sometimes feel sorry for them. The queen bee in my old group had serious issues. She had a parent who was deathly ill, an eating disorder, and also couldn’t go to college because she couldn’t get student aid. It was clear that she felt like her life was totally out of control. She took control by being a classic mean girl. Once I realized that, I pitied her… then cut her out of my life, because being in a bad spot doesn’t mean you’re allowed to act like a douche.
    7. If you’re a mean girl, you need to stop being one NOW. I’ve been there. I know how addictive the power is, and I know how good it can feel to cut someone down. That doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do, and trust me, it will bite you back in one way or another.
    8. Don’t be afraid to fight back if you need to. If things get bad, fighting back is a quick way to show that you will not tolerate their crap. It’s not exacerbating the situation. It’s self-defense. My personal suggestion is to avoid methods that involve violence or could potentially harm you in the process.

Mean girls respect and fear power… and it’s really all about power. The key thing here is not to give into the methods mean girls use to take away the power that you have over yourself, your happiness, and your choices in life. By doing that, you’re sticking it to them in your own unique way.

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a New Jersey based writer and editor with bylines in Mashed, Newsbreak, Good Men Project, YourTango, and many more. She’s also the author of a safe travel guide for LGBTQIA+ people available on Amazon.

She regularly writes on her popular Medium page and posts on TikTok and Instagram @ossianamakescontent.