If you thought you left catty girls back in high school, you’re wrong. Jealous girls can be found lurking anywhere -- at your job, at the gym -- or even among your circle of friends. Some 45 percent of workers in the United States have experienced mental abuse in the workplace -- and of that, a good portion are from women directed toward other women, according to data culled from a national poll from the Employment Law Alliance, as reported in the Women’s Health article, "Mean Girls in the Office." Women are more often the victims of mean girl attacks than men because women tend to be less confrontational when they are attacked, according to Gary Namie, Ph.D., cited in the Women's Health article. Namie adds that women often do not fight back when men would fight back.
Confront or Deflect
Decide whether you’re going to confront the mean girls or deflect and get out of their way. There’s no shame in knowing you’re not up to the stress and challenge of confrontation, says Meredith Fuller, in the Huffington Post article, "9 Tips For Dealing With Mean Girls At Work." Sometimes, the best strategy is to figure out how to limit your contact with them and how to not get sucked into their drama.
Don’t add to the fire and counterattack a mean girl, says Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster in from the article, "The Best Way to Deal With a Mean Girl at Work" on the Forbes website. Instead, take some time to cool off and channel that negative energy into something positive, suggest Crowley and Elster. Go to the gym and work out or take a long walk or jog. After you’ve calmed down, try to resolve the conflict in a professional manner without making it personal.
Pretend that you didn't hear the nasty insult lobbed your way, Fuller suggests. Ask her to repeat it so you can hear what she is saying. Putting her on the spot might make a mean girl think twice before giving you a hard time.
Nobody is jealous of people who are failures. If you’re inspiring girls to be jealous, that must mean you’re doing something right and that they wish they were doing it, too. The next time someone makes a catty remark to you, try feeling sorry for that person and be compassionate, says Jennifer Hamady in "Finding Your Voice, Learning From Jealousy" on the Psychology Today website. If you recognize that girls often try to hurt you to mask their own insecurities, you might not be so bothered by their remarks.
Remove Yourself From the Drama
If the bullying is making you sick and you’ve tried avoiding it -- but to no avail, consider leaving the job, the social group or the environment. You shouldn’t have to put up with abuse from anyone. Chalk this up to a learning experience and try to avoid getting yourself in these kinds of situations, says Fuller.
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Bonnie Crowe is a mother of two teenagers; a teacher and author of children's books, curriculum and articles on English grammar, literature, technology, art, parenting and career guides for high schoolers. She's a former director of AOL Parenting, a member of SCBWI, and a graduate from the University of California,Berkeley.
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