Nobody enjoys running into a mean girl. But what about the mean girl within us?
We don’t like to think we’d ever act the way some women do toward others, but left to our natural selves, we all have “mean girl” moments. To the degree these moments dictate us, meanness defines us.
As believers, we’re expected to show compassion and love just like our Father God. Attitudes of pride, envy, jealousy and slander shouldn’t be found in our character. Unfortunately, these are hard to recognize in action, at least within our own hearts. Today, let’s do a heart check. You might not be a mean girl to the core, but if the following five habits are present in your life, you’re exhibiting some characteristics of her.
1. You Enjoy Being “Better Than”
I once overheard a young Christian woman say: “Sometimes I feel like I’m overweight…but then I look at my friend and feel better about myself.” Mean girl in action! This young woman was using her friends to make herself feel more secure. She was trapped in a cycle of comparison and “better than” instead of finding her value in Christ.
If you enjoy feeling better than others, or find yourself constantly comparing your body, style and relationships to those of other girls, that’s mean girl material. Don’t head down that road! It ends in a cycle of never-ending insecurity, jealousy and pride. Your value comes from Christ, just like every other woman’s. We’re all on this journey with Jesus together.
2. You Like to Hear Bad News About Others
Mean girls don’t come out of nowhere; they develop over time. When a girl begins to take satisfaction in being better than others, the natural next step is to enjoy bad news about others—because that means she’s better than them!
If you like to hear that a “frenemy” broke up with her boyfriend or that the most popular girl at school is out sick for a few weeks, it’s time for a heart check. All women are made in the image of God. Jesus died to open the door to anyone who would draw near. If Christ loves all those He created, who are we to rejoice in their pain?
3. You Make a Habit of Discussing Others With Your Friends
The mean girl perpetuates bad news (or simply the latest news) by discussing people with her friends. Now, there is certainly a place for sharing updates or working through relationship issues with those closest to you. But if your discussions center on the negative, or you find yourself disliking certain people after a girl’s talk about them, those aren’t Christ-centered conversations.
It feels good to have an “in crowd” of your own. We all want to be known and connected. But if your girlfriends can only “connect” by putting others down, that friendship has too high a cost. They’re mean girls, and if you don’t separate from their company, you’ll become just like them.
4. You See Other Girls as Competition, Not Possible Friends
Women of all ages do this, and it’s never pretty. When we’re insecure, we view other women as competition—not as future friends. We immediately critique the things about them that matter most to us. If you place priority on fashion, you’ll critique their clothes. If you love music, you might critique their talents. Competition blinds us to the beauty of possible friendship and makes us aloof, withdrawn and cold to others.
Instead of viewing other women as a threat, change your perspective. I’ve heard it called the “There You Are!” attitude. Instead of walking into a room saying, “Here I am—notice me!”, walk in saying, “There you are! How can I make your day?”
5. You’re More Worried About How You’re Perceived by Others Than How You’re Perceived by God
Ultimately, mean girls are more concerned with the approval of people than the approval of God. They want the attention of guys and people in power, but don’t care about those who can’t further their interests. Mean girls are self-focused—which we all can be if we stop walking by the Spirit!
You don’t have to be a mean girl. You can break the pattern by placing priority on God’s opinion. When you seek Him first, He adds to you everything you need for life and godliness.