Mean Girls and Mentors
About a month ago my teenage daughter had a sleepover. It started with one girl, then she asked if so and so A could come, then so and so B, and by the time she was finished asking, we practically had A to Z. Ok, we had A through E, but that’s a lot to fit in a small-ish house that is getting smaller by the minute as my family gets larger (we just had our third child).
No worries. These kids squirreled themselves away upstairs and wanted nothing to do with me—until the morning. After all, they were up all night talking, and it made them hungry. And I was the pancake maker/flipper/server. Little did I know I would also become the mediator.
The kitchen table was lively that morning. Someone said something about the way someone looked that set off a firestorm of insults. Actually, it was more like an inferno. It kind of went like this: “Well, your skin is so pasty white you look like a ghost.” “Well, your skin is so red, it looks like you are on fire. Stuff like that. One insult after the other, I felt like I was in a scene from Mean Girls. Actually, that would be an analogy from my daughter’s generation. My generation, brought to you by the incredible Judy Blume, would say this was closer to a verbal version of Slam Books. That’s when you write down everything you don’t like about someone and then let them have it… in print. A living, breathing document you can put in a keepsake box to linger forever. Ah, memories.
The whole thing was getting ugly. And I just couldn’t take the negativity. My daughter said, "This is what real friends do, Mom, they tell each other the truth." I said, noooo… real friends build each other up and make each other feel good. Here’s a tip. If someone constantly makes you feel bad about yourself, she is not your friend. One of my friends aptly put it this way (the lovely Marina). There’s a bus. You’re driving. And you stop and you let people on, but it’s crowded and not everyone can stay. Some mean people have to get off to make way for the nice people. In essence, if you’re a jerk, get off the bus. As a matter of fact, stay away from the stop, too.Continued on the next page