Mean stares. Hurtful whispers. The cold shoulder. Being a girl is harder than it looks. In a world where gossip, drama, and rumors seem to be never ending, it's not easy to navigate the halls of middle school or high school without earning a few battle scars.
But what if you could change all that? With practical advice for how to fearlessly stand your ground, hold your own, and dictate your own happiness, Girl World will help you move beyond the bad attitudes and transform your insecurities into strengths. From friendship conflicts to the ugly side to social media, learn how to ditch the drama and kick your inner critic to the curb so you can truly start appreciating yourself.
Every day is a new day. Embrace it!
Read an Excerpt
YOU'RE IN-BUT ARE YOU?
We all have days that are so amazing that we want to freeze time to enjoy them-and then relive them over and over. There are also, inevitably, those horrible days that we just want to forget. A lot of what makes a day good or bad depends on the people around us, the girls in our innermost circle.
REWIND TO ONE OF THE BEST DAYS OF SCHOOL:
You are seated at a lunch table with your friends, sharing stories, catching up on the latest news, cracking jokes...this is, hands down, the best part of the school day. There is a special kind of comfort in these friendships. You laugh hysterically at inside jokes, whisper about crushes, swap secrets, and cheer each other on. You share interests, hobbies, clothes...pretty much everything. You may even bond over insecurities or mutual dislike of certain people, which makes you feel even closer because you guys get each other. The bond between you is seemingly unbreakable. Finding this solid group of girls was definitely a highlight of your school experience. Before you know it, you're attached at the hip. You've made your friends for life.
Until that one time...
FAST-FORWARD TO ONE OF THE WORST DAYS OF SCHOOL:
You get the feeling that there's something off about the dynamics in your group. You can't quite put your finger on it, but it seems as though your friends are acting different toward you. Your mind does a quick replay of the past week, but nothing stands out. So why is everyone being weird? No one is coming out and saying what's wrong, but you definitely get the vibe that something is up.
You love your friends, though you've seen them do some not-so-nice things to other classmates, and you may have even participated at times. You know they secretly don't like Sophie and are just pretending to be her friend. You witnessed the all-out bash-fest they had when Alexa was home sick the other week, and you've definitely heard their true feelings about Catherine's profile picture. You know that, at one time or another, various girls have been the target of gossip and rumors, but you have never been on the receiving end of it. So you ignore, deny, and justify your friends' point of view. You've already crowned these girls your besties for life, so you don't want to focus on their bad qualities. After all, given how close you are and all you share, their faults and shortcomings are your faults and shortcomings. Besides, they are your closest friends. They would never do anything to hurt you.
But those whispers and the occasional dirty looks are making you feel excluded. And it's happening more and more frequently. You can see the signs...
Why are people giving me one-word answers?
Why did Molly's text say "Hi" and not "Hey"?
Is Katie mad at me? She totally brushed past me this morning.
That comment was a total dig at me, wasn't it?
Why is everyone quiet when I sit down?
No, this cannot be happening!
Fear. Anxiety. Nerves. Distrust. Paranoia. Betrayal.
This girl: she is in you and she is in me. We've all experienced a version of this scenario, whether it be to a greater or lesser extent. Nothing can take away the pain of feeling burned by a friend; it's real, it's raw, and it hurts.
The bad news is it happened. The good news is you will not bottom out with nowhere to turn and not a clue what to do. I wish that I could magically erase those moments for you as if they never happened, but I can't. Instead, as someone who has been in your shoes, I can give you the next best thing: real, honest, and effective advice and action steps to get out of the situation, while guiding you to see the hazard signs and reroute yourself to prevent a similar situation in the future. My hope is that you'll take this advice to heart, because if you let it, it can truly transform your relationships.
In this chapter, we will discuss what to do if your friends are talking badly about you, you feel intimidated by certain girls, or you can't fully trust your friends. We'll also address some steps you can take if you're scared of being targeted, left out, or kicked out of a group, not to mention if you feel insecure and you're worried about missing out. You have to put these words into action, which also means getting honest with yourself about how you've been feeling in your friendships. The last thing you would want is to go through all those bad feelings again in a new situation.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is important to remember that when you are feeling down. And I promise you will get to that light a whole lot faster once you pull your beautiful self out of that slump and commit to making positive changes. So good-bye woe-is-me thinking and hello I-got-this attitude. Are you ready?
BEHIND YOUR BACK BIZ
It's gut-wrenching to discover you're being talked about behind your back-and by people you consider your friends. Whether you know it to be true or have heard rumors, the news is a blow to one's self-esteem. It's easy to lose your cool. Your heart races; you're overwhelmed by emotion. You don't know what to feel first: hurt, sadness, anger. After the initial sting comes the feeling of betrayal. How could she do this to me?
We want to be able to trust our friends, to tell them anything, and why shouldn't we? Friends are supposed to have your back, not go behind it. When you get the sense that they did, it feels like a big-time violation.
When you find yourself in a situation like this, your mind runs rampant with questions: What's my next move? Do I talk to her? How do I do that? Can I ever trust her again? Will I be able to bounce back from this?
Before we get to these questions, the first thing we need to do is dust off the dictionary and get clear on the definition of a friend. You may giggle and think it's silly, but I can't tell you how many girls have skewed ideas of what a real friend is and what true friendship entails.
Friend (noun): A person you regard with trust. A companion. An ally.
That is a good foundation, but let me Trish-a-fy this definition. A friend is someone who does not talk badly about you to anyone. A friend is someone who does not make you feel insecure, left out, embarrassed, ashamed, on edge, nervous, or afraid. A friend is someone who does not act one way to you when you're alone together and then completely different in front of other people. A friend is someone who does not make you feel as if you must compete for her attention, acceptance, or approval. If you are under the impression that any of those traits are normal in friendships, then hold tight because a little mind makeover is on its way! Now that we're clear on what friendship should look like, the second step is to get honest about the dynamic you have with your friends and how they make you feel.
Getting honest with myself was, at times, very tough because I didn't want to admit that some of my best friends made me feel uncomfortable and insecure, or that I couldn't entirely trust someone I was really close to. It was much easier to pretend that everything was okay, instead of owning how I truly felt. If I owned it, that meant I was acknowledging something wasn't right. Choosing to ignore it was pretty much the equivalent of slapping myself in the face.
I remember being absent from school one day when my inner FOMO revved up. That was a hazard sign, though I didn't pay much attention to it at first. I called one of my best friends at the time, a few minutes after I knew she would be home from school, to ask her how her day was. I was eager to see if anything interesting happened at school while I was home sick.
She responded, in a tone that sounded as if she was trying to make me jealous, "School was actually the best day ever today." I wanted to kick myself for being sick. Of course the day I'm absent, school is a big party. But then I remembered it was school, not the Fourth of July.
Although my friend's comment made me feel excluded, which wasn't nice, I now realize that I was the one to blame for my anxiety. I was the one feeding the belief that if I wasn't present every single time my friends were together, they would somehow forget me, talk about me, or push me to the outskirts of the group. If I was more secure and my friendships were healthy, we wouldn't play the games that so often cause fights or tension between friends. Bon voyage, manipulation! See you later, passive-aggressiveness!
One of my biggest breakthroughs was choosing to surround myself with people I could depend on and who I knew always had my best interests at heart. After all, friendships are supposed to be based on trust. They should be built on rock, not on sand that can shift at any time.
This way of thinking completely transformed my friendships and ultimately my happiness. I started to surround myself with people who lifted me up instead of tearing me down, with people who supported me, and with whom I could be 100 percent myself. No masks. No filter. No fakeness. When situations or conversations didn't feel right, I trusted that. Even if I couldn't exactly put my finger on why the vibe was off, I knew I should listen to my gut. Your intuition is there for a reason. It's the sane, rational part of your mind that always has your back and is looking out for you. Don't ignore it; it's your compass.
Now let's get back to the million-dollar question: What do you do if your friends are talking badly about you? Right now we are not so worried about how to approach them or figuring out what to say; there is a whole chapter dedicated to handling confrontation and dialogue in a low-key, drama-free way. Instead, we're talking about making the best decision for you. What are you going to do moving forward? Ask yourself: Is this person fitting the definition of a true friend and do I feel good about myself when I am around her? If you can't respond with a resounding yes, then perhaps this question is more fitting: Does this person act shady at times, making me feel insecure and doubt my trust in her?
The answer may not be what you want to hear, but be truthful. Otherwise you'll wind up hurting a whole lot more in the long run. The key here is differentiating whether this is a habit or an exception. If talking badly behind each other's back is a recurring theme, let's not kid ourselves; it will happen again. I know it's difficult to admit, because when things are good with your friends, they are really good. Not being able to trust someone is a sure sign that the bad in the relationship will ultimately outweigh the good.
Fortunately, you can stop yourself from getting to that point. Take a long look at your friendships and decide if they deserve your all or if taking a step back is the better option. Keep in mind that the right choice may not always be the easy thing to do.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER ONE: You're In-but Are You?
CHAPTER TWO: The Outside Looking In
CHAPTER THREE: A Chapter You Come Back To
CHAPTER FOUR: The Ugly Truth
CHAPTER FIVE: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Oh My!
CHAPTER SIX: Free Yourself
CHAPTER SEVEN: Damage Control
CHAPTER EIGHT: It's Cool to be Different
CHAPTER NINE: Be Your Own Best Friend
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