Good Friend, Sheep, or Mean Girl?

Remember back in high school when you hated someone just because your friend(s) did? You know, someone who had never done a god damn thing to you, but that didn’t matter because she totally fucked your friend’s boyfriend of two days, so you were required to hate her, too?

You know what the worst thing is about this sort of mob mentality?

It still exists.

I cannot tell you the number of times I have rolled my eyes while looking at the Facebook status or Tweet of someone my friends don’t like. People I’ve had limited interaction with, none of which was negative. Or, the times I feel guilty for laughing at someone’s joke or digging the things they say, because one of my friends doesn’t like them.

I’ve gone through much of my life forming my assumptions of people based solely on how others see them.

In High School, I was never outright mean to anyone. I mean, I don’t think I was, anyway. Those of you that knew me, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

But, I didn’t always go out of my way to be nice to the banished either and, if we’re being honest, that’s exactly the same thing as being outright mean.

The fear of the majority has often prevented me from getting to know the minority.

And, I get it.

I don’t necessarily want my close friends breaking bread or watching the Real Housewives with someone with whom I’ve had a negative experience.

A completely normal feeling, it’s human nature.

It, most definitely, comes from a fear that our friend will switch sides or begin to like them better than us. All of it, rooted in one thing – jealousy. We don’t want that bitch thinking our friends like her. We need her to know that she is the problem, not us, because see even my friends hate you, it’s not just me!

And, while it’s completely natural, it’s also completely immature.

Of course, there are varying degrees as to what atrocity someone’s committed.

There are things that should make it impossible to like or trust someone.

If she tried to fuck her husband, will she tried to fuck mine?

She said something racist or down right awful, and I know I could never be friends with someone who stands in a corner so far from mine.

She stabbed someone’s puppy.

There are absolutely times we must stick up for our friends when they’ve been wronged, because that’s what friends do.

But, when someone is shunned because they are different or not as popular? Those are the times we need to stay the hell out of it, and avoid basing our opinions on those of others.

In other words, we have to think for ourselves.

The hardest part of this is our fear we may hurt or even lose our friends; that we’ll be kicked out of the cool kids club and sent to eat lunch all alone at the loser table.

And, shit, the more I get into this, the more I realize there is no easy answer.

Because, I would be hurt if one of my friends loved someone I loathed, so how could I expect them not to be when the roles are reversed?

Is it ever possible to stay neutral, or does it always make us a bad friend?

If we refuse to give other people a chance, are we missing out on what could become a great friendship?

There is such a fine line between being a good friend, a sheep, and a mean girl.

And, for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to navigate it.

22 Comments Added

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  1. Amanda February 22, 2013 | Reply
    One of the answers is how do you feel about yourself. Generally I think we know when we are being assholes. It comes to us, maybe not in that moment, maybe it's a thought we keep brushing aside, but the truth is, just like knowing when you are full, if you are really honest with yourself you can hear it. Doesn't make it easy, doesn't mean we won't screw up, just means we all have the capacity to be neither the mean girl nor the sheep. Thank you for putting this out there. xo
    • admin February 22, 2013 | Reply
      Great, great points. So true. I KNOW when I am being a dick! Thanks for that perspective! :)
  2. Karen Sugarpants February 22, 2013 | Reply
    I've never ever been a sheep, but I've had sheep change their tune about me, based on mean girls big mouths. I write them off without a thought. Their loss. I've never judged people on my friends opinions, even though, time & time again, my friends are usually right. Too often, I give people the benefit of the doubt, & I get hurt, but sometimes it blossoms into great friendship. I'm a bit of a Pollyanna. You are right that there are still these games going in, and you really gotta look at it as people that don't deserve to be a part of your life. Positivity, sugar. xo
    • admin February 22, 2013 | Reply
      I love you. And,you're a bad ass motherfucking Pollyanna, to be sure. xoxoxo
  3. Leah February 22, 2013 | Reply
    Having two daughters, I am navigating this topic almost daily. I had a two hour conversation the other night with my fifth grader about girls choosing sides and ganging up on one another. It really is hard to stay neutral and still keep friends. And it sucks even worse that it NEVER GETS EASIER. Sigh.
    • admin February 22, 2013 | Reply
      Oh, that sounds so painful. I have two boys, and I know boys can be mean, but I think they are more "stupid mean" rather than "rip you apart until you hate yourself" mean. And, they get over things faster. Good luck with those girls...they are lucky to have you for a mama! :)
  4. Mr Lady February 22, 2013 | Reply
    I'm a neutral-stayer, and it causes me a lot of grief, but I sleep okay at night anyway. The problem with being a neutral-stayer is that no one 100% feels the conviction of your devotion, so you spend a lot of time trying to prove your love to people based on their very natural, human desire to have you dislike someone because they dislike that person. That was confusing. I'm just saying it's not an easy road to take.
    • admin February 22, 2013 | Reply
      You are brave and soft, and that's why I love you. Now, prove your love to me NOW dammit. xo
  5. Mr Lady February 22, 2013 | Reply
    Also, the fucking puppy had it coming.
    • admin February 22, 2013 | Reply
  6. Sam millus February 22, 2013 | Reply
    I have been "that girl" people don't like and the mean girls shun. It sucks. I have tried so hard to teach my girls to not just follow the pack because you never know what someone else's world looks like.
    • admin February 22, 2013 | Reply
      I'm sorry to hear this...and also surprised. I adore you. xoxo
  7. Mandy_Fish February 22, 2013 | Reply
    I've definitely been the girl the mean girls made fun of. I've never really been a part of a group. Still am kind of a loner as an adult. Perhaps that's why? It never occurred to me before I read this. Not that I don't have friends. Don't get me wrong. It's just I have individual friends and don't really have a group of friends. Is that weird? Or is that normal once you're past high school? I tend to shut down in groups and get real quiet.
    • admin February 22, 2013 | Reply
      Mandy, when I see you I see such grace and humility. I can't imagine YOU being shunned. Let's form our own anyone who is not a dick can join clique? Love you. Thanks for sharing! xo
  8. Allison February 22, 2013 | Reply
    Man. I was just being really lurky on facebook the other day and found the profile of a girl who everyone was really mean to in high school. She was pretty and popular, and like every girl I knew hated her. And I never knew why. She wasn't an awful person or anything. But now I get it. She was pretty and popular, and that was enough. And it made me sick to my stomach that I went along with it. I never participated in the mean stuff said about her, but by not coming out and going, "What the fuck you guys? What did she ever do to you?" - I was part of it. I hate that this behavior still goes on. I just want to be friends with people and only unfriend them if they are puppy stabbers or attempted husband fuckers. You know?
    • admin February 22, 2013 | Reply
      Girls can be so mean. At least boys kick each others asses and move on. We just keep taking the knife out and stabbing it back in. I'm exactly where you are. I HATE myself when I think of all the times I could of AND SHOULD have stuck up for people and called my friends out on mean shit. I'll spend a lifetime trying to make up for that. Thanks for sharing, lady. Love you.
  9. Melissa February 22, 2013 | Reply
    I have to admit that I have been on both sides... I DID have a girl ostracized in the SIXTH grade because she kissed my boyfriend, and I must admit judging but not being mean to the sluttier girls (until I became one of them in HS)lol. I do remember one year (I am dating myself here) that EVERYONE got a Rubics Cube, it was when it was NEW. My mom couldnt find one because they were all sold out when she was Christmas shopping. When I FINALLY got one I brought it to school, on the unfortunate day that another girl, who I was actually friends with btw,lost HER Rubics cube! Of course I was accused, even though my sister (same group of friends) brought her new one in that day too. (no, she didnt stick up for me or tell them the truth, that bitch lol) Anyhoo, nobody talked to me for WEEKS, if SHE was mad at me they were ALL mad at me. When she eventually FOUND her fucking Rubics cube nobody apologized for making me sit alone, but they just started being nice again. Weird thing is, I DID get a few apologies.. When I was in my TWENTIES lol
    • admin February 22, 2013 | Reply
      I have DEFINITELY been on both sides, too! Worst feeling ever. I didn't become slutty till high school either :) xo
  10. Tricia February 22, 2013 | Reply
    I've been on both sides: first, I was a hater and then, I was the hated. It changed me forever, and never again did I treat people like shit just because they were different or because it was rumored they had crabs or masturbated with a candle (all real rumors I heard in high school). It's so true, this crap still happens today. But like you said, I'd be hurt if my friends hung out with someone that wronged me. I guess it comes down to the offense, and as kids, the offense was always pretty stupid. I love this post, and you.
  11. Chrissi February 22, 2013 | Reply
    I too am a bit of a Pollyanna with a side of snarky..but in all honesty I stay neutral, I don't follow the crowd, I have never been that way and I sure don't plan on starting now. I loved this post. xo
  12. Ewokmama March 7, 2013 | Reply
    My rule is that I don't take sides in other people's battles. I try not to get involved at all unless I've witnessed the behavior firsthand and do my own due diligence to figure out what the dynamic is that created the situation. I'm pretty good at the neutral thing. Sometimes good people just have personality conflicts, you know? I learned how to deal with difficult people and staying neutral between two people that hate eachother while married to my first husband. ;)

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