Why being nice is the way to go- from a former mean girl.

“So FETCH!”- Gretchen Wieners

It’s hard to believe that when I was in high school I was in my own version of “Mean Girls” minus the whole we wear pink on Wednesdays spiel. But yes, I was a mean girl.

It’s okay if you are cursing under breath that I’m one of those assholes from those highs school days (pardon my French). I curse under my own breath that I allowed that behavior to be exhibited by me. But alas…it happened (well one year…but still!).

Truth be told, I was a teenager trying to fit in. It was my freshman year after all and it was hard enough dealing with hormones, add a building full of teenagers with hormones and angst you can probably imagine what the end result was.

I was lonely. So, a group of girls- not popular but people knew who they were, invited me to hang out with them. I felt so out of place that at this point I was very happy that someone was inviting me to sit with them. We had the same humor and I related with them on many things- I felt like I found my place.

It wasn’t until I started branching out and getting to know other people where things got ugly. The main girl- let’s call her “Head Honcho” would take swipes at individuals who seemed to disagree with her. She’d whisper things under her breath and she would constantly talk down to all of us in our little group.

She and another girl in our group had a huge fallout- it put us all in a tough spot. And once I showed the other girl kindness, I was looked upon as a villain in “Head Honchos” eyes. I saw the “Head Honcho” as a true friend, when in actuality the friendship was toxic. She influenced me to do behavior that I regret.

This behavior included lying to my parents, not doing my schoolwork what so ever, and labeling people. Yes, I labeled people, we even had a makeshift “Burn Book” (in the movie and in my situation, it’s basically a book which you talk about people in the nastiest way).

I felt bad about myself everytime “Head Honcho” and the group (including myself) would get involved in this. Plus, my relationships on all fronts and grades were down the drain- no one trusted me, and I didn’t trust me either. Near the end of the year, despite the mess I made and the feelings I hurt- I tried making things right and went down the path of kindness.

The result? My grades improved, my relationship with my parents became stronger, and even though it was high school I met some pretty cool people who liked me for well- me. Within that whole mean girl group I only remained friends with one of the girls who admitted she felt the same as me.

As for “Head Honcho”, she and I didn’t talk anymore. It wasn’t a hard feelings sort of ending to a friendship. I think she realized that the ways of gossip and rude remarks weren’t doing her any good either.

So what’s the moral of the story? Well a few things can be gleaned (I love that word), from this:

1.) Like the title of the article said, it’s so much easier to be nicer! You feel good about yourself, it takes a lot out of you to constantly shove negativity in others directions. When you show positivity to others a radiating warmth percolates through your body.

2.) I’m not advocating for mean girls. I was one- but I didn’t feel great about myself, even when I was in my little gossip group- I still felt alienated. Truth of the matter is the mean group in your school probably has the same feelings about themselves.

3.) Never change yourself or your values to fit in. I get it, high school is a hot mess. But don’t compromise what you know is right just so you can risk looking like a loser. It’s not worth it and believe me- once you graduate it definitely won’t matter.

4.) Try not to judge others. It’s human nature we all do it. But the more I judged someone, the more I closed myself off from everyone. You never know, that stranger and you could become good friends.

And Finally…

I take ownership and responsibility for my actions and words. I was a mean girl, I also was a stupid girl and I’m also human. I can’t go back and change those decisions I made but I can look at them and move on towards a positive future.