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Friends with the mean girl??

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hi all,

if people are mean to me, i try really hard to steer clear of them. i've been that way my whole life. BUT i remember other girls from elementary school thru high school who stayed friends with girls who were so, so mean to them. in some cases, the meanness seemed to go both ways (fair enough). but i never understood why sometimes a girl would stay friends with another girl who was repeatedly horribly mean to her. any insight would be appreciated  :thankyou
#1 - March 24, 2012, 08:31 PM

Because that girl is high on the social ladder, and though she's mean to her friend, it's far preferable to being a social outcast, or to dropping in the pecking order. That's what I've mostly observed, anyway. I'm sure there are other scenarios as well.
#2 - March 24, 2012, 08:45 PM
Robin

Sometimes the mean girl forces the relationship, especially if she feels threatened by the other girl in some way. If the other girl dislikes confrontation, she may have trouble getting away.
#3 - March 25, 2012, 05:43 AM
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Sometimes you can be so socially clueless and naive that you don't realize how mean the other person is being, especially if you cannot tell the difference between humor, kidding around, and genuine meanness.
#4 - March 25, 2012, 07:09 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

kidlit59

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In some cases, it's like the abusive spouse relationship, where the mean girl makes the other girl feel so unworthy that she believes she deserves the abuse. Because the non-mean girl doesn't have self-confidence, she is so grateful just to be included in the mean girl's world. She's been told over and over again by the mean girl that if the mean girl stops being her friend, she'll have no friends because no one else will want her. Some mean girls are very skilled at this manipulation, knowing exactly how to keep pulling the strings. They give just enough benefits (invitations to parties, introduction to guys, hair and makeup advice, etc.) to keep the non-mean girl coming back for more. And of course, like in any abusive relationship, the mean girl convinces the non-mean girl that it's her fault, that she brought the meanness on herself by her actions or ineptitude.

Plus, what do kids see all around them? The MC in a movie might be a nice person fighting against the mean girls, but over and over again, kids see that the mean girls are the popular ones in TV shows, movies, and books. I have a little experiment I like to do. I take out a yearbook--mine or one of my daughters'--and ask someone who doesn't know anyone in the book to point to who they think in the class pictures is popular. They almost always get it wrong. The most popular girls usually aren't the prettiest and the prettiest girls aren't usually popular because it's more about attitude, self-confidence, and yes, meanness. You can be a pretty girl who is smart, funny, and involved in lots of clubs, but if you don't have the attitude, you will always be mid-tier. There are, of course, exceptions, but in general, the most popular girls in a high school elevated themselves by trampling on a lot of other people. And if you don't have that self-confidence and killer instinct, but you want to be popular, being a hanger-on who puts up with the mean girl's abuse is one way to do it.
#5 - March 25, 2012, 07:16 AM

Quote
In some cases, it's like the abusive spouse relationship, where the mean girl makes the other girl feel so unworthy that she believes she deserves the abuse. Because the non-mean girl doesn't have self-confidence, she is so grateful just to be included in the mean girl's world. She's been told over and over again by the mean girl that if the mean girl stops being her friend, she'll have no friends because no one else will want her. Some mean girls are very skilled at this manipulation, knowing exactly how to keep pulling the strings.

Yes! Manipulation is a key element.
#6 - March 25, 2012, 08:10 AM
NED THE KNITTING PIRATE, GRIMELDA series,
CITY SHAPES, DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS, ONE SNOWY DAY, PIZZA PIG, and more...
http://www.dianamurray.com

jeffman

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Sometimes the mean person (it happens with guys, too) is as awkward and vulnerable as the other friend. For such a person, being mean and controlling is just another way of coping with that. The other friend often perceives this and mistakenly believes (for reasons mentioned above) that the relationship is more balanced than it really is.
#7 - March 25, 2012, 08:30 AM

There's an old discussion somewhere on this board about how many mean girls don't think they're mean.  If that's the case, I'm going to guess that some mean girl cronies (toadies?) also don't think their mean leader is all that mean.  In their eyes, they might just be being "cool" or "honest."
#8 - March 25, 2012, 11:17 AM

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Not believing there are better relationships out there. Or getting a confusing mix of positive and negative reinforcement. Or being attracted to a charismatic personality that blinds one to the red flags.

There are a couple of books that I think perfectly captured the allure of a mean friend: A Secret Friend by Marilyn Sachs, and the chapters relating to the character Diana in L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Ingleside. They're fiction, but they present totally believable relationships in which well-behaved girls who are perhaps a bit socially naive (because they've always been treated well at home) are drawn to glamorous mean girls who are fascinating in their own ways.
#9 - March 25, 2012, 06:58 PM
Jennifer R. Hubbard
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I (having once been bullied by the mean girl) think the girls stick by the mean girl because they are just the bystander and think that by just being beside the one that is being mean does not mean that they are being mean.  They may not be aware of all the things the mean girl does, or if they are they just stand back and hope that it goes away because they have been friends with the "mean girl" for a long time. They do not want to lose what friendship they have, it is comfortable pain for them.  They would rather stay by and cringe at what the mean girl does, than step away from her into an uncomfortable new world and new friends.  Especially when their mothers' know how long they have been friends.  

Why after being friends for at least 6 or 7 years of school, if not longer if they live near each other and the one girl, who may have always been somewhat of a mean girl, but by the time she hits jr. high becomes a real mean girl would the other girl(s) suddenly start to move away?  The friendship has a dominant friend and the other girl is quiet, so she continues to hang around even if she feels uncomfortable.  

This was just my take on the people that picked on me.  One person did most of it as her toadies stood behind looking very uncomfortable.  But they never stood up to her.  Once the ball is rolling it doesn't stop until every tires of it, which may be a short time or a long time depending on if they found a new victim.  For me it was almost a full year.  The pain was much longer.
#10 - March 25, 2012, 07:04 PM
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 07:08 PM by lizstraw »
You must do the things you think you cannot do.  Eleanor Roosevelt

http://www.lizstrawwrites.com/

thanks, everyone!! appreciate your insights :)
#11 - March 26, 2012, 11:12 AM

In fourth grade I was "friends" with a mean girl because she was friends with one of my good friends. I tolerated MG in order to be around Nice Girl. MG said lots of nasty things to me, especially when NG wasn't around. It always seemed a bit ridiculous to me how mean MG was, and her comments stung but never really hurt me to the quick. What really stung was the fact that NG continued to be friends with her and would only half-heartedly stand up for me when MG put me down.
#12 - March 26, 2012, 12:49 PM
Youth Services librarian and YA writer. Wisconsin SW (Madison area) Rep.
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When I was in high school, the meanest girl  targeted me as her victim.  It was hell. I even had a 'Carrie' moment involving dish soap being poured on my head instead of blood.  She was in cahoots with some other girls who were mutual friends with me,  but they didn't stand up and say, "This is wrong."
 
So...why?  I think it is easier to follow a bully than to break away.  The teen years are a confusing time filled with insecurities, and no one wants to be on the bad end of the stick.

I never let how she treated me influence how I felt about myself. I was unbreakable which was probably a challenge to her.  Years later she contacted my younger sister to see if she could become my internet buddy....uh....no.
#13 - March 26, 2012, 03:25 PM

thanks, amanda & scribblegirl! and good for you, scribblegirl, for not wanting to be internet buds with the girl who treated you badly. i know grown women who actually accept the grown up mean girl's facebook friend request. totally don't get it, but that's a topic for another thread ;)
#14 - March 27, 2012, 08:31 AM

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