Dealing with the Mean Girl

I have a friend who I really enjoy hanging out with, except she has a friend who is very negative, bossy, rude and mean. The problem is my other friend likes her a lot and has known her for a really long time. What should I do?

– Confused
Dear Confused,
You may feel like your friend’s friend is straight out of “Mean Girls”, but I’m really hoping that’s not the case. If she is a Regina George clone, forcing you to wear pink on Wednesdays and thriving off of gossip and lies, well quit reading this and head for the hills! In all seriousness, I think you have three options:
1. Really Try to Get to Know Her: If your friend has been friends with this girl for so long, she must have her reasons. Maybe she can be really fun, kind, etc. but you just haven’t seen that side of her yet. She might be going through some tough times at home, which doesn’t excuse her rudeness but might help explain why you haven’t seen that other side of her which your friend obviously appreciates.
Sometimes when we’re around a friend’s friend we may feel left out or a bit jealous, which affects how we see that person overall. Maybe she’s been sassy and moody a couple of times and that, plus feeling like the third wheel, has put you against her. Of course, there’s also the chance that she’s in serious need of an attitude adjustment, in which case, check out your other two options.
2. Call Her Out: If your friend’s friend is being mean to you or is trying to tell you what to do, face her and call her out on her behavior. Now, I’m definitely not saying get in her face and have a crazy cat fight. Just pull her aside and tell her that it bothers you when she tries to take over, or firmly tell her that you don’t like being told what to do. Be sure to do this away from your other friend so that she doesn’t feel caught in the middle of the situation. That just adds more drama and you definitely don’t need that. If what this girl is saying or doing really crosses the line for you, get help by reaching out to a trusted teacher or school counselor who can help mediate the situation between the two of you. If confrontation is not your style, try option 3.
3. Don’t Feel Obligated to Be Her Friend: Just because this girl is friends with your friend doesn’t mean the three of you have to hang out all the time and become the Three Musketeers. Give yourself some space from her by inviting your friend to do things with just the two of you, and then let her have time with this girl separately so that your paths don’t cross as often. Sometimes we can’t all mesh together and that’s okay. Accept that your friend clearly has a strong bond with this girl and sees the best in her, and leave it at that.
You never know what will happen in the future so try to keep an open-mind. For seventeen years I’ve been close friends with someone who used to be my enemy, so I say anything is possible. Here’s to hoping your situation gets better in whatever way fits you best!
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