Office Mean Girls: How to Deal With ‘The Plastics’ in the Workplace

office mean girls

Regina George, Gretchen Wieners, and Karen Smith — and even Cady Heron for a bit — are classic portrayals of catty girls who think they are the HBIC (head b*tch in charge).

While these characters make for good TV, this type of insensitive, competitive behavior often materializes in the workplace.

Whether it’s happening to you or to the project coordinator in the cube down the way, it’s happening.

These spiteful women thrive on intimidation by sabotaging, verbally abusing, and humiliating those who bother them or get in their way.

Aren’t women supposed to empower each other by marching together and advocating for one another; not sabotaging other women in the workplace?

If you encounter office mean girls, stay strong with your sisters by standing up for yourself or the integrity of another.

Be the includer.

If you witness an older woman employee being mocked by a group of young Millennial salesgirls, empower that woman by removing her from the uncomfortable situation to go for a walk or take her to lunch.

Practice compassion by including others and you might help take a little tension out of the workplace and help build others’ confidence.

Smile.

When you smile at the office, you spread a positive vibe throughout. If you’re the target of bullying, kill those b*tches with kindness and it might just catch on.

And while you’re smiling at them, smile at your other co-workers too. It doesn’t take much effort to be kind.

Take the high road.

It’s natural to want revenge for a dirty look or comment. Don’t counterattack. Don’t stoop to the level of the office mean girls.

If Angela is spreading gossip about you, don’t spread it about her just to get even.

Complaining about others (when it’s not legit) makes a pretty girl ugly and it reflects poorly on her character — which will keep her out of leadership roles.

Keep your chin up, remain calm, empower yourself to be confident, and walk away smiling.

Remove yourself from the situation.

When a mean girl at the office undermines you in a meeting and your blood begins to boil, step outside for some fresh air, go for a brisk walk, or give a call to your mom to get out your feelings.

However, if you’re feeling verbally abused or you just can’t take it anymore, talk to HR.

That’s what they are there for — to help create a good work environment.

Have confidence, girl.

There is a reason this woman has become an aggressor, and it’s most likely because she is self-conscious herself.

Don’t worry about her and channel your inner confidence from the moment you wake up in the morning.

Dress for the job you want by putting on power clothes. Repeat your confidence mantra to yourself, and have a healthy breakfast.

It’s amazing how feeling good about yourself can ward off any aggressive behavior from office mean girls.

Confront her.

Sometimes, enough is enough. Whether you’re stuck working alongside a nemesis or see a mean girl at the office insulting a colleague, it might be time to put her in her place with a direct approach.

But don’t resort to pointing fingers and stooping to her level.

You have the power to make your work life and the entire office culture a better place.

How do you deal with office mean girls? 

Anne-Marie Pritchett is a freelance writer for The Local Lifestyle who enjoys exploring the outdoors, visiting different cultures, digging into new music, and cuddling her new baby. When she gets some free time, she likes to check out local gastropubs and attempt to speak in her British accent.

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