In fact I know a lot of you have because I receive heartbreaking emails and messages from many of you, asking for my advice on how to handle other women dead-set on making you feel excluded or less-than within your families, at work and in friendship circles.
This is not just a ‘female’ thing of course, there’s a lot of bad behaviour that comes from men too- but as most of the people I hang out with are women (holla to my male bestie Will though) I want to focus on what I’ve witnessed online and IRL.
Let me kick off by stating I have the strongest, most incredible (ever expanding) network of great friends, colleagues and even women I consider ‘sisters’, thanks to the online world and those I’ve known forever. Women who hold, support, lift and love one another unconditionally- so b********** is not (thankfully) the norm in my world.
I grew up with STRONG, empowering women from my grandmothers to my mother, aunts and cousins who collectively became my blueprint for the sisterhood. I’m lucky.
But it hasn’t protected me from b*********: it was there when I was at school (a nightmare all-girls private school), cropping up again at uni and then in my work as a TV director and filmmaker.
This ranged from women trying to trample over me/one another for success and a whole lot of backstabbing behaviour that baffled me.
It makes me so sad when others can’t see the power in numbers, in building one another up rather than tearing each other down.
Yes people project their insecurities on to others, we are all human with flaws…
I want you all to do something, to stop people in their tracks when they’re unfair, b*****, unkind etc. To not sit there and listen to others badmouth each other, to take action and CALL IT OUT.
I’m taking a stand against this kind of nastiness.
And I want you to put micro politics into action.
This doesn’t mean being equally unkind to the offenders nor does it mean not listening to those with issues and grievances. What it means is NOT ENGAGING with futile gossip, harmful words without reason and uncalled tittle tattle.
It makes you feel S**** listening to it and even worse advocating and sharing it.
‘It reminds me of a little incident that happened at a wedding I went to last year: Talking to someone close to me (female, we’ll call her “Ann”), and as you do, you always ooh and aah over the bride’s dress and we were saying how beautiful she looked, etc. etc. Ann turned to me and said about one of the guests, “ooh what about that girl over there in that dress”, and I asked “What about her?”
Ann said “Don’t you think that she looks awful in that dress? It’s far too tight, blah blah blah” – and right there and then I knew I didn’t want to be a part of bashing other women for what they were wearing any more, ever. Not that I ever did, I just didn’t want the conversation to continue and have to listen to it from someone else. The girl had obviously gone to a lot of trouble to get dressed up for the wedding, and I pointed out to Ann that I thought it was nice that she’d dressed up and looks happy and confident.
Once Ann realised I wasn’t going to participate in the girl-bashing she turned to me and said – no word of a lie – “Oh you’re boring, I’m off to talk to someone who WILL have a bitch about what everyone’s wearing”.
WTF?!!!!! And this is someone close to me as I said, and my disappointment in her was beyond measure. I’d rather be “boring” than criticise women in that way. But when it comes from someone you know and trust and love… It’s hard to take it. But I hope she soon gets the message that I don’t appreciate her being that way… It make me so sad’.
We all need to be like Catherine.
I refuse to believe b******* is the default for women.
I know it isn’t because I see its not thanks to my nearest and dearest who lead by example.
So next time someone tries to drag you into arguments, pettiness, unkind small talk, immature school yard behaviour, take a stand.
Act like an adult.
Base your decisions, not on others but YOURSELF.
In the words of Bob Dylan, ‘You’re a big girl now’. So be a grown up.
Don’t act like a 16 year old ‘mean girl’. You’re more than that. Much more.
Start calling it out. Do the right thing.
You might feel uncomfortable at first but don’t EVER feel you need to agree with others if you don’t feel the same. Don’t feel the pressure to follow the crowd, to try to fit in. Be true to you.
Once you do, the law of attraction gets to work, and good energy will multiply.
Send out those positive, understanding vibes and they’ll be sure to bounce right back at you!
It’s easy once you start.
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