Let's just start off with the obvious: Girls are mean. It doesn't seem to matter the age, we find ways to tear down those around us. Sometimes they are our 'loathed enemies.' And sometimes, sadly, they are our friends.
According to Scientific American, women are more socially aggressive than men. Although, I have to say, I didn't really need a study to tell me that. I'll go ahead and start with the basics and blame society. That's always a good place to start. We're programed to be competitive from an early age. And my generation was no different. Actually, maybe it was. Girls were encouraged to not only compete in the realm of sports, but also through beauty pageants. We needed to be able to both kick your ass on the softball field as well as be able to prance around in a bathing suit. (For the record, I didn't do pageants. I was gawky. Among other things.)
But as adults, you would think that kind of mean-spirited competition would be cast to the wayside. And yet, it isn't. We compete constantly. Daily. For everything. From jobs and accolades to friends and attention.
I like to think that I surround myself with 'nice' people. Ladies, if you will. Ladies who can fully acknowledge greatness in others. Women who can, without a trace of sarcasm, say, "She's better than I am at that. And I lover her for it."
I like to think that we find the uniqueness in those around us and raise them up. On no less than four occasions, I have had people jump to suggest me [on twitter] to bake a cake-whether it was for someone who knew me or not.
Those are friends. People who see the greatness in others and seek to praise it, without looking to gain anything.
This, is the opposite of mean.And yet sometimes, we immediately jump to a conclusion, "They're just jealous." This is a perfect reason because it leaves the person who has been hurt feeling vindicated. 'Obviously the only way someone could hate me is if they are jealous.' Now the attacker has become the attacked.
And yet, I've seen with my own eyes these very same ladies say some particularly harsh things about, well, some of these very same ladies.
How does this happen? This backslide? Where's the grace? Does it simply take a day off? Do we meet our daily quota of nice and slide into a comfy bath of snark? And if so, why?
I've had my share of nemeses. From the girl who threw gum into my hair on the bus when I was in third grade to the friend who just wasn't anymore. Some provoke a boiling hatred while others are met with a low-grade anger and quick dismissal.
I want the happy, nice friends in my life. And yet, I'm not always the happy, nice friend myself. I try to be. But it doesn't always work that way. I like to think of the Golden Rule and do such. But sometimes? Sometimes we need a kick in the ass.
And when it's my turn? I give you full permission.