"On Wednesdays We Wear Pink." My friends and I have been quoting Mean Girls for a decade. Since our actual high school years did not produce an epic teen film, we gleaned many of our life lessons and affirmed countless adolescent truths from TBS “Brat Pack” marathons and Clueless. So. Much. Clueless.
"I cannot believe she wore that last night"
"Yeah, that’s why I had to ‘snap it’ and send it to you. So ugly."
This isn’t dialogue from a movie. I was in the dressing room at Anthropologie when I overheard that exchange. (I somehow manage to find myself in there often, coveting styles, that if I were savvy enough, could probably find at Goodwill. Funny how I do this when I so very adamantly said I was only going to “scan the sale room.”) I digress. Since I could not see the individuals having this conversation, I cannot tell you their approximate age. Also, I do know know these individuals, so I cannot tell you the entire context of the dialogue. I don’t need either of those variables to concur that what I overheard were mean girls. There was a part of me that wanted to march out right there and give them a piece of my thirty year old mind. But, as I looked at my reflection in the dressing room mirror, the side zipper struggling to zip over my hips, I realized there was a bigger part of me that just wanted to avoid their line of fire. I returned my items to the associate, and declared victory by walking out with no purchase.
But I could not shake thinking about what I had heard, and more so, who was the girl they had been talking about? What was her story? And why was she their target? How can girls…and women…so easily tear someone down and insult them? I am so thankful to be connected with women who encourage and uplift, but we are not immune from mean girl behavior. Gossip and slander seem to be the universal language of women. Sure, we could excuse our behavior and say, “they deserve it” ….but really, do they? If the girls I overheard really knew their target, like actually learned her story, would they have acted so callously? I think if we begin to encourage each other to strive to understand people, their hearts, and brokenness, there would be a much more room for acceptance, grace, and love.
How NOT to be a MEAN GIRL: (advice for girls of all ages)
Be inclusive. ”You can’t sit with us.” Contrary to what Gretchen Weiners says, there really is room for everyone at the table. And you know what, some of the best tables are the ones where not everyone is wearing pink. My high school population was so small we really didn’t have much room for division and cliques. The likelihood you would find multiple people just like you was slim. Sure, friend groups naturally happen, and I am not professing we did not have our own Mean Girl moments, but in reality were all a bunch of oddballs who agreed life was more fun if we just got along. I look back on those years very fondly. I think this foundation set me up for realizing some of your best moments in friendships come from people who are so much different than yourself. Try connecting with someone who really believes orange is the new pink. Maybe they aren’t “seriously disturbed.” Maybe. ;)
Be encouraging. "I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy.” This one is big for me. Life can be hard, really difficult sometimes. And it can feel like everything is against us. Encourage your girlfriends. Praise their positives. We already beat ourselves up enough, ladies. Let’s not do it to each other. I want to be an ally of my friends. Try it. You will find life works much better when you are on the same team.
Be transparent. “Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by Regina George.” Sometimes all it takes is being honest with one another, admitting that we have all been on the receiving end of meanness. Instead of pretending like we are bullet proof, admit that it hurts. Do not live in isolation. In a previous post, I discussed accountability. The only way to achieve that in a friendship is to seek honesty and transparency. That does take courage, but challenge yourself to do this first and it may surprise you how contagious vulnerability is.
Be merciful. You know what, the Regina George’s are hurting too. Show kindness to her.
Forgive. (And whether you want to admit it or not, we have all have been Regina ourselves before.) “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.” (Luke 6:35-36 MSG)
We are called to live a worthy life. Be patient. Practice forgiveness. And show love. We are all in this together, girls!
Ephesians 4:1-4(NLT)”Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life WORTHY of your calling, for you have been CALLED by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be PATIENT with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is ONE BODY and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.”