Home  >  Reads for Women  >  How To...

The Mean Girl: 25 Traits to Recognize Her and Stay Clear

Mean girls are all around us, draining the happiness out of our lives. Use these signs to recognize a mean girl and stay away from her energy-sapping ways.

Mean Girl

Being a girl is not easy. I have four daughters. When I tell people, it always gets me the response “bless your heart” or “you have your hands full.” Since having my first daughter, I practiced a mantra with her – be friends with the boys. Now, that may not be the healthiest advice, but from my experience, girls can be like a pack of wolves. When they get together, they ravage anything from limb to limb. Beware the mean girl.

It only takes one

Girls, by nature, are certainly not vicious or mean. I know that. The truth is, it only takes one in the group for it to go bad. Just like one bad cell causing cancer throughout the body, a mean girl does just as much damage to the mind of a woman. Understanding the very distinct signs of the mean girl helps you spot her. When you do, run the other way! [Read: 10 sure signs you’re a bitch and don’t even know it]

The 20 signs of a mean girl

#1 She always involves herself in drama. Wherever the mean girl goes, drama is likely to follow. Since she has to be the center of attention, she will create a scene or start conflict just to insert herself front and center.

#2 She always has to be “angry” with someone. If she isn’t angry with someone, then she doesn’t have anything to talk about. Her entire self-esteem relies on being better than you. She only feels good when she makes someone else feel miserable.

#3 If you don’t do what she wants she taunts you. If you don’t follow what the mean girl wants to do and wants you to do, she keeps at it until she gets what she wants. Taunting, nagging, or just plain coercion are her best friends.

#4 She uses mind games to keep everyone at odds to swoop in and be the hero. She loves to pit people against one another. The best way to get in close with someone is to create a rift between two people. There’s a saying, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, or something along those lines. And just to get her way in, the mean girl may even create a rift between you and a good friend. [Read: 25 signs of covert narcissism: a special kind of mind game]

#5 She is not above lying, manipulating, or purely making things up. Nothing is out of bounds for the mean girl. She begs, steals, and lies to gain what she wants.

Seemingly having no conscience, if the mean girl ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

#6 She is caustic to everyone around her. She injects poison into her group. Everything she touches, she makes more miserable. Negative and overpowering, she turns a fun group into a seething room of unhappy, resentful, and angry women. The only company a mean girl finds comfortable? Misery. [Read: Is your negative thinking ruining your life?]

#7 Normally, she keeps a cast of groupies. The mean girl acquires girls to follow her around. Needing people to adore and look up to her, she targets the girls with low self-esteem. She also knows that by hanging out with people who she feels are inferior to her; it makes her appear stronger.

#8 If she feels threatened, she will take you down. Everyone is so damn afraid of the mean girl, giving her the popularity she craves. People pretend to like her. They go along with her, give whatever they have to her, and agree with whatever she says, all in the hope of protecting themselves from being caught in her mean path.

#9 She makes claim to parking spots, boys, or people. She deserves the best. If she can’t have it, no one can. If you cross her stake of claim, you better watch out. She’ll never let you forget it.

#10 Although not the most attractive, she normally has the best looking guy. Mediocre at best, she doesn’t get the guy by being sweet or pretty, she gets him by making him feel powerful. If a guy can date the girl everyone seemingly wants to follow, it makes him the leader of the pack. [Read: Are good looking girls mean or nice?]

#11 She makes you uncomfortable in her presence. The mean girl makes you nervous just being around her. Since you know she always prowls about looking for the next girl to take down, you don’t want to inadvertently say something wrong to put you in that position.

#12 Normally, she uses scare tactics to control people. Knowing you fear her meanness, she uses whatever she has over you as a tool to control you. If she knows a secret about you, knows something you did, or can use anything against you, she will. [Read: 15 questions to reveal a controlling personality]

#13 Her tone is authoritative and often mean. You do what she tells you to, because you know she doesn’t mince words. Her mean tone is not just a tone. Her bark is as bad as her bite.

#14 There is nothing out of bounds. You know that little red guy who sits on one shoulder and the white one who tames the red one on the other? A mean girl is void of the white. Rarely having a conscience, she does whatever it takes to get her way.

#15 Cruelty is totally acceptable. Everyone around a mean girl knows what she is saying and doing is not cool and is stunned by her cruelty. And yet, she won’t bat an eye at her own destructive way.

#16 She uses others to get what she wants. A mean girl sees everyone as a means to get what she wants. She isn’t surrounded by people. Everyone is a disposable tool to her wants and desires. [Read: Be careful who you trust: how to beware of backstabbers]

#17 Whatever you have is what she wants. If you have something and love it, she wants it too. No one is allowed to have something greater than her greatest thing.

#18 If she is mean to you consider that a compliment. The mean girl picks on anyone who is well-liked, pretty, or nice. If you gain your friendships through merit, that is a means to take you down. If she picks on you, and you haven’t done anything, it means you possess something good and of value. Being driven by jealousy, if she targets you, it means you are someone to admire.

#19 The harder you try to please her the more she abuses you. The more you try to appease her, the more she will pick on you. Like a wild animal smelling weakness, your niceness or need to please is sniffed out by her immediately. [Read: 20 signs you’re a people pleaser and just don’t realize it]

Wanting to always feel superior, the nicer you become, the more she exerts her authority over you. You can’t play nice with a mean girl unless you are beneath her, in her mind.

#20 She is normally the center of her parent’s attention. Mean girls typically become the way they are because they get what they want when they want it.

She assumes she deserves all the attention, praise, and things her parents supply her. She doesn’t understand the rest of the world who don’t think she is all that fantastic or that she has to earn things. Alternatively, she is maltreated or ignored by her family, making her crave respect and attention from others around her. [Read: 19 signs of emotional damage and ways to get past them]

How to steer clear of the mean girl

There really is no good way to deal with a mean girl. If you don’t feed into her need to be the center of the attention, then you become the target of her anger. If you do feed into it, then you aren’t being true to yourself. The best way to handle her remains steering clear of her, but how do you do that?

These are the ways to stay away.

#1 Stay neutral. If you don’t feed into it and don’t challenge her, you usually stay in the safe zone.

#2 Hit a bully where it hurts. A mean girl senses weakness and picks on someone. The minute you call them out or make a mockery of whatever they are trying to bully you into, is the last time they mess with you.

Bullies like to go against people whom they know they can beat. If you show them you can’t be beaten, they move along to the next insecure person they find.

#3 Be true to yourself. Don’t change who you are in the face of a mean girl. She is going to try to put you into a box so that you never get above her. Don’t let her tell you who you are or get you to do something you either aren’t comfortable with or that you know you are better than. [Read: 10 self-reflective questions to help stay true to yourself]

Seeking her approval never works. If you are secure with who you are, then you have just to learn to ignore her. You may be her target today, but, the good news, if she can’t get a rise out of you or get you to do her bidding, she moves onto someone else soon enough.

#4 Introduce her to someone who puts up with her shit. Just like a bad boyfriend, set her up with another girl to distract her from wanting to be near you. Steering clear without conflict requires finding someone to take your place. You likely know someone dying to be her number one. Make it happen, and you will all be happier.

#5 Find a group to take her down. Find safety in numbers. There are likely many women who’ve had enough of her shit. If you can find girls to hang out with who have either taken her down themselves, or have the confidence she won’t mess with, then you are good by default. Not that you should run to someone to fight your battles, but why fight a battle when someone else has already done it for you?

[Read: 14 calm ways to recognize mean people and deal with them]

You can’t change a mean girl, no matter how hard you try or want to. Just let it be, and instead, remember that the best way to deal with a mean girl is to spot her and avoid her as much as you possibly can.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

Julie_Keating
Julie Keating

A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined...

Follow Julie on