I’ve never been a Mean Girl and I will never be a Mean Girl. It’s just not in my DNA. I’m sure that in the depths of my soul I can bring it out but I just see no need. So why is it that other girls have that on as their default?
I’ve been wanting to write about this for a couple of weeks now but every time I try I avoid it like the plague and then later on I try and recall where my head was at but it’s all disappeared. Avoidance, selective memory – call it what you will, but today it’s back and it’s here to stay.
Ten years ago I finished high school and embarked on the real world. The years of playground politics and bitchy high school students ruled by their hormones were over. To be quite honest I wasn’t really exposed to that growing up despite the fact I went to an all girls’ private school in Sydney. You know those inspirational quotes about females who work to empower other women, support and nurture them etc… well that’s what my girlfriends were like. Don’t get me wrong we were all somewhat competitive but it was healthy competition not driven out of envy or jealousy. We worked together so as a collective we all looked good. This extended not only academically but in our personal lives as well. Each one of my girlfriends were stunningly beautiful in their own right. We were all unique and had different things to offer and together we were united and always there to help each other. This was my high school experience and no we were not the mean girls either, we just all did our thing and accepted one another.
Turns out that my high school experience is not what tales are made of nor was it a realistic depiction of what was yet to come. At the young age of 17 I took my first corporate job at a hotel chain. Life was fun – we worked hard and we played hard. It was just the culture of the organisation, everyone was young and just starting out. I made two amazing friends whilst I was there, both of whom were a good 3 – 4 years older than me but they have been everlasting. They transitioned into my group of highschool friends so easily and it was like we’d all grown up together. I stayed at that company for a few years and then moved on but we’ve stayed friends, best friends actually. We’ve known each other through a lot.
Now cut to the last 5 years – for the first time in my life I am exposed to this ‘Mean Girls’ culture and for the life of me I cannot understand it. Everything that goes on there is always an undercurrent of bitchiness and the need to exercise superiority by excluding others and I just cannot make heads nor tails of it. I thought with age and as people are further from highschool the playground politics dissipate.
No… they just get worse.
In recent years there has been a growing existence of the term ‘frenemy’ – apparently this is the making of corporate culture… women in the corporate world. My last three jobs have brought my face to face with these kind of people. A frenemy is a perfectly composed amalgamation of the words ‘fr(iend) and enemy which refers to someone who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy otherwise known as a wolf in sheep’s clothing or my favourite Satan in disguise. These people are toxic – their poisonous venom once circulating through your mind is like a nuclear bomb in your brain and heart. At my latest job, females are few and far between so naturally I thought they’d work together and want others to hang out with.
Wrong yet again.
It seems like the less females there are the more frenemy like they all behave. You couple jealousy, insecurity, immaturity and an overall sense of fear and inadequacy and that is what the culture is breeding. Never have I ever felt like an outside until I started working at this organisation. There is this abnormal competition for the affections of the few semi decent males here and for the admiration from the senior executive team. I am all about letting my performance speak for itself but in this organisation in order to get through a day and appease the rollercoaster which is my bosses moods I have to throw in a comment about how lovely her hair looks or how she’s losing weight. It feels forced and unnatural. I have worked on a better approach of trying to be genuinely interested in the calamity that is her life (first world problems) or try and be a good girlfriend to her because I have been so blessed to have the angels I have grown up with but this is still not enough. Some of these people despite your best efforts still continue to exclude and just be overall bitches for the sake of it. I have now come to accept the fact that they just DO NOT like me and I can finally stop trying to make an effort.
Sorry but my gripe is not over…as the thing that gets to me the most is that throughout life I have been taught to treat others with kindness and I have never been one of those girls who exclude others. I try and smile as much as possible and when there is someone new I make sure I talk to them because it’s not fun being the newbie but apparently these courtesies are not practiced by the general population. As children when you have something like people excluding you or stealing your toys happen to you, you can sit and cry… but as a grown up, how are you supposed to deal with it? Lately I have been crying and I am so fortunate that in amongst all this bullshit I have met an absolutely amazing girl who is not like the trolls I have mentioned above but what am I supposed to do?
Do I continue to be nice and get a dagger in my heart every time I am excluded from a group event? Do I start inviting them out? Or do I just choose to give up and let bitches be bitches and play that at their own game? I just don’t know.