Pondering meanness

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.


  1. I'm screaming in my head right now "But, how did she KNOW?" And then I'm rationalizing: oh wait, she doesn't know about THAT. :) And now I feel like a nut case...

  2. I must own more than my fair share of meaness. But like you, I try. I try to be kind. I try to acknowledge the spirit and talent in others. If we all just try, I think we'll do ok.

  3. I love this one Kelli. These are the reasons I cannot wait to meet you one day. When we are able to see beyond our own ego, ideals, motives, we can be that for others. Hard lesson, and we BOTH know it!

  4. whoa, you too? i had gum thrown in my hair until i was in the eighth grade, mostly from girls, who liked to make fun of the funny way i dressed or because i had tape keeping my glasses together. it led me to mistrust girls for a very long time. only now, i am opening myself to having lady friends, and while i am still cautious at times, i have to remind myself that those mean girls are not ALL girls.

    you've been nothing but classy, kind and certainly, creative in this blog space, so there's no reason i've found for you ever to be kicked into niceness. wish i knew you in real life...i think we'd be smashing friends!!