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Mean Girls

Dear Robin:

I have been a member of a group of about 20 female friends for over ten years. We bonded working for a really crappy employer, and while most of us have moved on, we still meet for drinks once per quarter to catch up and just act goofy for a night.  

About a year ago, one of the gals in the group who still works at the old company (“Debbie”) brought two new women she works with, and they have been at every get-together since.

I don’t like these women.  They’re about ten years younger than the rest of us, and they are loud and obnoxious.  They just don’t fit it.  

Many of the other women in the group feel the same way I do, so how do we tell our friend Debbie that she can’t bring these women to our functions anymore without hurting her feelings?*

Gail

Dear Gail:

I feel for ya.

It must be really difficult for to you to enjoy yourself with these two women present.  After all, they make up roughly 10% of the attendees at your parties, so I imagine their impact is substantial.  

Also, being around new and different people is hard.  It involves stepping outside your own comfort zone and being interested in someone who may not share your values, tastes, characteristics, and demographics.

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(“Hell is other people”)

Sartre observed, “Hell is other people,” but in your case I think Hell is, “other people who don’t closely resemble you.”

I’ll answer your question first, then throw a couple questions your way for you to ponder.

How to Most Efficiently be a Shunning Bitch

How do you tell Debbie she can’t bring these women without hurting her feelings?  I don’t know that you can avoid hurting her feelings, but you certainly can ask her not to bring them.  

You said “many” of the women in the group feel the same way you do – if I were you I’d take a poll before you talk to Debbie or you might end up looking like a controlling, manipulative bitch.

One way to lessen the impact on Debbie’s feelings is to give her the “it’s not you, it’s them” speech, in which you laud her with praise while simultaneously hinting that her choice in friends, except you, is shit.  By all means, get a group consensus and toss out these two new younger (and I suspect attractive) women.  Your group certainly has the right to determine its membership.  

Does that answer your question?  I do hope so.

Now I Ask the Questions

Here are some things I’d like you to to consider as you embark on your blackball mission. By the way, if you want to read a hilarious blog on the art of the blackball, click here: Art of the Blackball.

1. Mentoring Opportunity

My impression is that you all formed this group to support each other while you were working for a difficult employer.  Debbie is still dealing with that, as are the two women she has added to the mix.  Wouldn’t it be nice for you to embrace the new girls and do your best to mentor and advise them on how to deal with a shitty work environment?

2. Jealousy is a Bitch

Is it possible that you are jealous of and/or threatened by these women?  You mentioned that they are younger by a decade and I know from personal experience that women of a certain age, meaning mine, can experience feelings of envy and competition with younger women.  

Let’s face it: their bodies are tighter, their skin doesn’t need plumping via hypodermic needles and their lives are comparatively bountiful with options and opportunities that us older gals may think are beyond our reach.

3. Same Old, Same Old

Take a look at your life and your group of friends and ask yourself, “is this as diverse as I want to go?”  

Be honest and reflect upon how welcoming you have been to these two women. Did you ask them about their lives and goals?  

Did you consider that maybe they are “loud and obnoxious” because they are intimidated by your group and just trying to fit in?  Or were you so busy uncorking the wine and throwing epic shade at these women that you never even gave them a chance?

Advice for Gail

Gail, I answered your question but here comes the advice: try again.  

Go to your group function with an open mind and a willingness to get to know these women.  Share your experiences with them and see if you can find common ground.  

I’m (thankfully) not a member of your group so I’m not privy to exactly what type of behavior you are dealing with.  Maybe they are irremediable and toxic and in that case, I’d either tell Debbie they aren’t welcome or quit the group.  

However, I estimate you’ve spent very little time with them and that your own preconceived notions may be clouding your judgment.  

Let me give you an example from my own life, because as we all know by now,

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A couple of years ago I went to a small concert that followed a charity golf tournament headed by Tommy Thayer of KISS.  

Yeah, I’m cool.  

There was a young female former professional golf player named Perry Swenson Livonius at the event whom I prejudged and rejected based solely upon her looks and age.  

Much to my dismay, it became clear that she was going to be seated not only at my table, but right next to me.  

OK, I know you are all dying to know what she looked like.  Here you go:

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I mean, come on!  Don’t you just want to hate her guts?  

Guess what?  She was smart, funny, irreverent, accessible, kind, and interesting. In other words: your basic nightmare.

Unlike many very attractive women, she was not inwardly-focused.  She expressed interest in others at the table, most importantly me.  She is actually one of the people who encouraged me to write this blog, and gave me some advice about how to increase readership.  

Unfortunately, I had me some wine that night and I forgot all her tips.  Damn.

It is very easy to make a snap judgment about someone new, but if that’s a regular habit of yours you are likely missing out on getting to know many great people.  

Sorry for Digression; Back to Advice

Adjust your paradigm, give it another go and see if you can’t make a new friend or two.  

Even if you don’t like these women after really trying to get to know them, you might consider the karmic downside to getting them kicked out of the group when your interaction with them is minimal and sporadic.  Does it really impact your life so much that you can’t just let it go and focus on the friends you do like at these events?

If you can’t, I’d say you’ve got some issues that are far beyond my ability to help you with a simple blog post.  Perhaps you would like to enroll in my new self-help program?  

It’s called WWDD™ (What Would DesCamp Do?) and the basic premise of the 6-week intensive program is to teach people to think and act exactly as I do.**  

Because, irony.

 

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*February 23, 2016: I have a second meeting with a radio conglomerate this morning, so hence the re-run.  Come back tomorrow for freshly-pressed DesCamp!

**Please consult with your physician, spiritual counselor and financial advisor before joining the WWDD seminar.

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Coming up later this week (amongst other subjects): 

Anatomy of a Disaster, Part One, Scene Three: The Box, The Lies, and the Unraveling.

If you have not read the series yet, please click the links below:

1. Cast of Characters

2. Sarah’s Story

3. Let’s Get Something Straight

 

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Lawyers in Love.

    I love this and it’s so true! Women in groups can be very vicious!

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