In a perfect world there would be no bullies, or at least they would not follow us into adulthood. Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world and the reality is we do have to meet bullies even as adults.
It’s the ‘mean girls’ in school that grow up to become ‘mean women’, especially at work.
This is where I met her, at first I was glad the office had a woman almost my age who I could work with and become friends with (my first mistake). She joined a few months after I did and so I was tasked with helping her adjust and assimilate with everyone else.
Prior to this, I had never had problems with anyone else in the office (which is full of women btw) I mean there were the regular disagreements but nothing that could not be resolved after five minutes.
Now I consider myself a patient person and I treat people according to their personalities, I don’t like conflict or drama.
However, I didn’t know how to handle the new bully, let’s call her Regina (yes that is a reference). Regina was nice in the beginning and I would go even as far as calling her a friend then.
Fast forward to three months later and she started acting different, excluding me from important emails which meant I ended up missing or being late to a few meetings and as you can guess, there was no way to prove she did it on purpose.
Work soon became a constant heartache for me; I was alienated and could not understand why she chose to pick on me. It took me a while to figure out how to deal with her without quitting my job because hello it was my first ever job and I actually loved it.
So here are a few tips on how to deal with a mean girl in the office
1. You have to grow a thick skin
You need to ensure that not everything this person does or says affects you or your work. Remember that not everyone has to be your friend and not everyone is willing to get ahead fairly.
Also remind yourself that as long as you don’t give this person power over you, then there is nothing they can really do to you. If it’s your boss then just ensure that your work does not suffer.
2. Speak Up
Yes you might be young and afraid, but don’t let this person walk all over you, you need to be able to stand up for yourself and fast. Don’t make the mistake I did of taking everything she threw at me for two months. The earlier you speak up the better.
You just need to ensure that no matter what you do not stoop to her level and that you speak up in a civilized manner that will gunner you respect
3. Have proof
This can be a tricky one because some organizations don’t take workplace bullying very seriously, but if things get to a point where you actually need to report it because it is affecting your work and how you do it then ensure you have some proof.
Keep every insulting email or note this person has sent you and you can even go as far as getting a witness to any verbal abuse.
That way, when you do report the incident, you are not seen as overly sensitive and a crybaby.
4. Talk to someone
Another very important thing I learned a bit late in, is to talk to someone you trust about what is going on don’t keep this to yourself.
It doesn’t have to be someone you work with in fact it shouldn’t be, a problem shared is a problem half solved so talk to your best friend and you never know, she might give you some great advice that helps.
This will also help you relieve some of the stress brought on by this situation.
5. Don’t become like them
The one thing you need to remember is no matter what, do not become a bitter person who is then mean to others.
It can be draining dealing with someone like that but you will have lost if you allow yourself to become a mean girl.
Keep these tips in mind if you ever come across an office bully and if you see someone else being bullied, speak up and help the victim.
There is enough space in the world for us all to shine, you don’t need to put someone else down in order to succeed.