10 Tips to Deal with Grownup “Mean Girl” Friends

I’m sorry that people are so jealous of me. But I can’t help it that I’m popular.” ~Regina George

This weekend I was in one of my favorite book haunts, Goodwill’s 50% off Saturday, and stumbled across a copy of Queen Bees and WannaBes, the inspiration for the great Tina Fey film “Mean Girls.” I have seen this movie at least a dozen times just to watch Regina George get her well-deserved comeuppance in the end.

When Rosalind Wiseman published Queen Bees & Wannabes in 2002, her goal was to help parents see how their daughters interacted with other girls, how they chose friends, expressed anger, and resolved conflicts. She introduced the terms Queen Bee, Wannabe, Target, Bystander, and explained the power plays these girl cliques used. Wiseman’s theory is that these adolescent behaviors profoundly influenced their interactions with each other, and ultimately who they become in life. I can promise you that she was spot on with her ideas.

The film “Mean Girls” sent these same messages wrapped in humor, drama, and the ultimate good wins over bad Hollywood ending we all crave. Especially for the Reginas (the head Mean Girl) of this world. I mean, c’mon, don’t we all have a Mean Girl memory or two from the revered In Crowd who seemed to glide around like the South Park kids through the halls, dressed alike, in their own world with girl speak that did not include us? And why did they always have to be blonde? If you rode with the Mean Girls, you can stop reading now.

What I want to talk about here is the grownup Regina. You know her. I know her. She’s in our circle of friends. She wants things done HER way. She has the power to buy a new version of the little black dress and admit it, you’d love one, too. Because it looks so damn good on her. Regina does not like Anna. She doesn’t come out and ask you not to like Anna, but with what she says about her, you find yourself looking at Anna a little differently. For no good reason.

Wait. What. What the hell?

Yes, Reginas have infiltrated life everywhere because they did not grow up and become nice girls. They could be a friend and might even be your sister, or sister-in-law. I am telling you, they sneak up on us. Often unrecognized at first. And then all of a sudden you realize that somehow this superficial, self-absorbed person has become a part of your crew. Getting them out of your life can be problematic. Especially if they are related to you. If you are stuck with a Regina and find yourself having a hard time getting rid of this toxic Barbie, dear Wannabe, Target, or Bystander, I have developed a survival guide for you.

Grownup Regina (aka Mean Girl) Survival Guide:

  1. Never let on that you know she is a Regina. She must believe she holds the power.
  2. If she asks you to join her group of friends for ANY social event, you must always decline. I know you wanted that mani-pedi, but all you would have heard is her snark about others.
  3. Whatever she tells you about anyone, know that the opposite is likely true.
  4. If you find yourself at a party with a Regina and she disses one of your friends, you MUST speak up and defend this person. The punishment for not doing this is repeating sophomore year. With bad hair.
  5. Never envy Regina’s clothes, shoes, car, home, or husband. She likely paid a price for these meaningless things that you would never have paid. And I’m not talking money.
  6. Do not ever, under any circumstances, compliment a Regina. On anything.
  7. Never tell a Regina she’s right. Even if she is.
  8. Think very, very carefully if a Regina asks you to do a favor for her. Hidden motives are her modus operandi.
  9. Remember that everything YOU tell her will be repeated. And not necessarily with the same intent. Or in the same order.
  10. Kindness is always the right choice and is a Regina’s worst enemy.

There are two kinds of evil people in this world. Those who do evil stuff and those who see evil stuff being done and don’t try to stop it.”- MEAN GIRLS

  1. Stephanie,

    Oh, good call on the quote being from Gretchen! How did I miss that, LOL? I, too, have seriously over watched that movie. I still am shocked when I’m confronted by a grown up Mean Girl. Or–bully, really. Standing up to them is brilliant. Although the only successful encounter I’ve had is with my mother! Thanks so much for reading this essay and taking the time to comment.


  2. After leaving high school I always thought that the mean girls would just go away. I for some reason thought that people would mature and grow up. Sadly, this is not the case. On some occasions, I think its a good idea to let the person know they’re being a “mean girl”. Standing up to a mean girl can sometimes be enough to knock them back down to being a somewhat decent human being.

    Adventures in Aussieland

    PS. The first quote is by Gretchen Weiners not Regina. My obsession with Mean Girls is a bit out of control lol. I can probably quote the entire movie in my sleep.

  3. It’s all so true, Mary! One thing I like about the movie is the message delivery. Girls get it. Have you read “Raising Ophelia?” Was controversial, but I took away some great tips on raising a girl child. THANK YOU for always reading my blogs ❤️

  4. One of my favorite memories is of watching Mean Girls with my daughter when she was in middle school. It does such a good job showing kids the social structure of high school in a way they can understand, and I really do think it’s a great warning too. Reginas can be so seductive as they entice other girls to be part of their crowd. As for grown up Reginas–oh yes, they sure do exist, and they’re seductive too. I’m embarrassed to say that when my kids were very young and our family was new in this town, I got close to a Regina for a little while. Fortunately, I started to see her Regina-ness pretty quickly, and stopped spending time with her. It’s sad, though, because most Reginas have a painful backstory. This one sure did and I felt bad for her–still do–but couldn’t hang with her any more.

  5. Nicole,
    You are such a good mother in teaching your daughters what mean girls and bullies are and how to stand up to them in the right way. I think by teaching this to girls it reinforces what behaviors are WRONG and they start to understand the power of kindness.

    Mean Girls totally suck because, unfortunately, they grow up that way.


  6. Dori,

    I have no time for mean girls and am teaching my girls this same thing. Raising compassionate bright souls is a pleasure. Thank you for being a big part of that.

    Mean girls Suck.


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