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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Day 29: Kindness and Respect Challenge (Why do they have to be so mean?)

October 29, 2013

How mean do you really want to be?

Just got this email from a teen who’s feeling really humiliated because of a mean trick played by her so-called friend partnering with another girl. I’ll let her describe it herself:

Hey Terra,
During math today I got up to throw something in the trash and my BFF (Friend A) whispered to me, “Are you on your periods because there’s a red spot on your jeans!” Shocked I ran to the bathroom and saw the “red spot” was the lipstick of my so-called Friend B. Earlier I saw her handing the lipstick to another girl who was standing near my chair. I didn’t expect she’d put red lipstick in my chair so I’d sit in it.

What if someone else besides my BFF saw the red spot?! I already feel humiliated. My first thought was “What did I ever did to her?!” I would NEVER do that to her because we’re all girls and I wouldn’t want to make anybody feel bad. I am really scared Terra. Especially scared that my crush saw it and won’t like me. Please send me your brilliant advice now, Terra!!!

Hi there,
I know it’s almost Halloween and some people use it as an excuse to do some really “out there” stuff, but what happened to you is a really mean trick. I’m glad to hear that you’d “never” do something as mean as that to anyone. You should be proud of yourself because you’re a kind, compassionate and trustworthy girl. And I’ll bet you’re a great friend.

You’ve asked a good question: “What did I ever do to her…. (to make her think she needs to get back at me??)” I don’t know the answer. Only the girl who did it knows. You could talk to her, but I’m guessing she’d deny it. (“I didn’t do anything and I don’t know what you are talking about!”) You know how some kids can be, especially when they are confronted with the truth of their bad behavior.

Look, even if the girl admits she did it, so what? That’s not going to change anything. What happened happened. It’s history… not ancient history, but still… it’s in the past. Either someone saw the red spot or they didn’t. Either someone will tease you about it or they won’t. If anyone asks you “Did you get your period through your jeans?” You can simply say, “No. That was someone’s weird idea of a mean joke. They put lipstick on my jeans so it would look like blood. It wasn’t blood. It was red lipstick.” End of conversation. Don’t name names. Just move on.

That’s my best and most brilliant advice.

As for your “so-called friend” who was part of this cruel joke, you might talk to her about it. Let her know what you saw (the lipstick) and what you think of her kind of friendship… OR you could keep a safe distance from her because she doesn’t seem to be trustworthy. WARNING: Do NOT talk ABOUT her to anyone. That will just add more social garbage to your school.

Good luck and I hope this helps you calm down and move on. Remember, you didn’t do anything to be ashamed of. Whoever did this to you is the person who ought to be “humiliated” not you!

In friendship,

Filed under: Girls' Friendship,Kindness and Respect Challenge,Parenting,Teens — Tags: — Annie @ 3:37 pm

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