— shutting it down

Why bullying still happens between women (and how we can put a stop to it)

IT’S TOUGH TO LET GO OF TOXIC FRIENDS OR WORKPLACES: In my experience, there is nothing better than female friendships and collaborative, on-fire teams of women. Love. Them. But, sometimes, women-on-women pile ons are polished to a dysfunctional art form in offices and women’s groups, especially where mean girls grew up to be mean women. In such cases, walking away from the toxic tribe may be super tough, but super smart and empowering. Kimberly Gauthier, a blogger I interviewed, chose to walk away from some extremely stressful female friendships—women who would gang up on and gossip about other women—to reward herself with positive, supportive ones. Kimberly now has fabulous friends, colleagues, and her business and relationships are soaring on a much higher level.

WE LET JEALOUSY HAVE TOO MUCH POWER: We all get jealous, envious, and resentful, occasionally. That’s human nature. But bullies and Queen Bees are consumed by so much envy, insecurity, and self loathing, they act out, badly, when they perceive another woman doing better than them. How to dethrone your own Queen Bee-ness? Get the professional help you need to curb your envy and insecurities and settle into your own wonderfulness. Come to see that life is not a zero-sum game. Trust there are infinite possibilities, whether jobs or partners, for all of us. If someone soars, it doesn’t mean you can’t, too. Nurture your own self-fulfillment and confidence and you will be less inclined to chip away at others. 

WE REWARD GOSSIP AND FIGHTS: In private or in pop culture, women’s disagreements are often glorified and stoked. Take reality shows, where women’s fights and inner-circle gossip garner big ratings. We’re better than this! Use of the power of your finger and turn that crap off. And if someone invites you to join in on the gossip IRL, bow out gracefully, but clearly. You can be too busy, disinterested, or simply say, “How about talking with ___ (gossip target) directly?” You have a choice to trash talk about another woman–or not. If you HAVE to talk about another woman, talk about her in a positive way. Sing about her intelligence, business acumen, and her big heart. If you get known as someone who finds gossiping boring, you won’t get invited to join in the gossip. And think about all the time you’ve freed up for hanging with more positive friends. It’s those friends who will help you feel most inspired and fulfilled. And who doesn’t want more of that?

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