We’ve all been there. There is always that one woman who immediately turns into an ice queen upon the very sight of you, despite you having done absolutely nothing to wrong her in any way. Well, I’ll let you in on a secret:
She hates you because you’re awesome.
Wait, let’s back up. I need to ask you a question. Are you arrogant, manipulative, self-entitled, passive-aggressive, judgmental, rude, or unpleasant?
If your answer is yes, please work on your personality and then report back to us. If your answer is “why, certainly not!” then read on. This article is for you and all the other nice and sweet ladies out there who, for the life of them, cannot figure out why other women suddenly turn frosty in their presence.
It’s not you; it’s them.
While there are some beautiful, supportive, and secure women roaming the earth (a shout out to my wonderful female friends!) most women are just catty creatures by nature.
Sorry, but it’s true. Women are inherently jealous, competitive, and sometimes insecure. I realize that I’m treading dangerous territory by admitting this, but stay with me for a minute before you assemble a mob and come looking for me with pitchforks and shovels. Anyone who has been to a high school cafeteria has witnessed brutal female competition firsthand, but in other places, such as an office setting, it’s far more subtle and indirect.
Why is that?
It’s human nature to be competitive. It’s impossible not to feel inclined to compete with someone else at some point in your life. Unfortunately, we live in a society where it’s still socially acceptable for men to directly express their competitive nature while this quality is deemed undesirable in women. So what do we ladies do? We manipulate, lash out at others, or turn on ourselves. We ultimately fail to face our competitive feelings directly or to learn to deal with them in a positive way. This results in a slew of catty, gossipy, passive-aggressive behavior in young girls, teenaged girls, adult women, and even wise old ladies.
So it all boils down to this: we ladies hate, hurt, and forge less-than-genuine friendships with each other simply because we don’t know how to directly express our competitive nature. Most of us know how to tone it down and behave amicably towards each other, but there’s always that woman lurking around in the shadows close by — that sneering, eye-rolling Negative Nelly who has seemed to make it her life’s mission to put other women down. You know the type of woman Marie Barone, Jackie Burkhart, Regina George, and Karen Walker would love… or hate with all their black hearts and souls.
So that sneering, eye-rolling Negative Nelly has preyed on you. She gives you the stink eye. She bad mouths you to other people. She scoffs at everything you say. She hates the very sight of you. She wants to see you crash and burn. So bad.
But why? What have you ever done to her, except maybe inadvertently look at her the wrong way that one time?
Well, that could be it. Maybe you glanced in her direction in the supermarket with an annoyed expression on your face (because the deli just closed and you didn’t have a chance to pick up some salami) without noticing her, and she mistook your expression as a dirty look specifically directed towards her.
That, or maybe she’s just jealous of your long flowing hair. If she’s not jealous of your hair, then maybe she feels threatened by you because her husband once had a crush on you in 8th grade. Her reason for seeing you as the world’s biggest abomination could be anything, and your guess is as good as anybody’s.
Whether her reason is petty or valid, there’s one thing that’s always, always, always true, and it’s that…
She hates the way you make her feel.
It’s that simple. She hates the way you make her feel. Being around you makes her feel insecure, jealous, offended, angry, nervous, threatened, or uncomfortable. Maybe you accidentally offended her with something you said that one time. Maybe your long legs make her feel insecure about her short and stubby legs. Maybe she feels that your achievements at work constantly overshadow hers. Maybe you bullied her in middle school and she never got over it.
Right now, some of you might have your aha! moment. Aha! It all makes sense now. You were a total snot to her in middle school, and you thought she had forgotten all about it. That, or you remember that one time when you called her fat. Or maybe you did look at her the wrong way at the supermarket. It all comes back to you, and you’re probably trying to figure out how to make it right again between the two of you.
As for the rest of you who are still sitting there, all bewildered and saying, “But… but why? I have been nothing but nice to her!”, then it’s likely that she has some deep-seated issues you didn’t cause, but instead inadvertently helped bring to light. In other words… it’s not you; it’s her.
She may secretly admire you but feel too inadequate to admit it.
In high school, I had a friend who was the loveliest girl ever. She was sweet, gentle, and kind to everyone she met. Her intelligence put her well beyond her years and made her astoundingly articulate. Last, but not least, she was stunning. She possessed the kind of striking beauty that turned heads in the street.
She sounds like someone who would have a lot of friends, right?
Not quite. A lot of girls at our school were mean to her for no apparent reason. One day, their cruel words sent my friend home in tears. She asked her mother what she had ever done to make other girls hate her.
Without saying a word, her mother pulled her in front of a mirror. “Do you see anything wrong with yourself?” she asked. My friend shook her head.
Her mother smiled. “Exactly. You’re beautiful, smart, and kind, and they’re mean to you because they want to be more like you.”
A while back, British writer Samantha Brick got a lot, and I mean a lot, of flak for writing an article titled Why Women Hate Me for Being Beautiful. I have to admit that some of the criticism directed towards her was justified, because Brick wrote in such an arrogant and condescending tone (“While I’m no Elle Macpherson, I’m tall, slim, blonde and, so I’m often told, a good-looking woman. I know how lucky I am. But there are downsides to being pretty — the main one being that other women hate me for no other reason than my lovely looks.”) However, there is an element of truth in her article: some beautiful women do experience bitter hatred from other women. The same goes for smart women, confident women, funny women, successful women, and women with other wonderful traits.
There’s a strange misconception among women that smarter, funnier, more confident, more beautiful, and more successful women lead perfect lives. It’s certainly not true. Every woman is fighting her own battle, no matter how many desirable traits she has.
Don’t think that other women may hate you because of your flaws; it’s because they want to have what you have, may it be your beauty, intelligence, strength, work ethic, confidence, body, radiant personality, or wealth. In this case, my best advice to you is to keep on being your awesome self and just try your best to ignore any negativity directed at you. They’re just jealous and there’s nothing you can do about it.
She may think you’re treading her turf.
I’m a woman and I’ll be the first to admit that women are very possessive creatures. I’d be lying if I said I never felt like doing this to someone else:
Have you ever started dating a guy only to find yourself automatically hating all of his female friends? How many standoffish mother-in-laws do you know? How many times have you seen a couple of girls (or grown women) fighting over a best friend? How many coworkers have you caught sneering at the cute new receptionist? The “I was here first” mentality is prominent among certain women, and if you come across one of them and then enter her turf one way or another, you’re not going to have a good time.
Turf wars have been going on since the beginning of mankind, only today it’s far more subtle and passive-aggressive. When you enter another woman’s turf as a new friend, girlfriend, employee, or even stranger, she immediately sees you as someone who’s disrupting her circle. Being the new lady on the block can be nerve-racking. You’ve entered a family, workplace, or circle of friends that already has its arrangements in place. Everyone has great rapport going on, and she might be afraid that you’ll disrupt it somehow with your newfound presence.
If you find yourself engaged in a turf war with another woman, then there’s not much you can do except stick around and hope for it to get better. Don’t enable her possessive behavior because you’ll stoop to her level and a full-fledged turf war could begin. It’ll be likely to fizzle out over time, especially if another woman enters the picture. The turf queen will shift her focus to the newcomer and unleash her wrath on the poor unsuspecting woman. In such an event, it’s your duty as a nice person to help the new victim feel welcome and hold her hand through the ordeal.
She may view you as a threat.
As soon as my parents’ divorce got finalized, all of my mom’s female friends in the neighborhood suddenly stopped talking to her. My mom eventually found out that it was simply because she became a single woman who these women believed could entice their husbands out of their homes. (I’ll quote my mom here: “You couldn’t pay me a million bucks to touch any of these men with a 10 foot pole!”)
The Regina Georges in your life could feel threatened by you. They could be afraid that you’ll upstage them somehow. I’ve even heard of mothers firing the nanny just because their children accidentally called the nanny “mommy”.
When another woman feels threatened by you, her first reaction is to put you down as much as she can. She wants to cast a negative light on you to prevent you from rising above her. She does this by using her power to sabotage you. Such instances include a mother using her position as the boss to fire the nanny, a coworker using her solid reputation at work to throw the new employee under the bus, and a sister using her brother’s love and trust to convince him to break up with his girlfriend.
Don’t take it personally.
Let me repeat this for the upteenth time: IT’S NOT YOU; IT’S THEM.
If you’ve never done anything to another woman to warrant such cruel treatment from her, then it’s likely that she has some serious issues and she’s just taking them out on you. In other words… IT’S HER PROBLEM, NOT YOURS.
Have you ever heard of the social learning theory? It’s a theory that children learn certain social behaviors purely through observation or direct instruction. It’s been discovered that school-age girls who bully other girls are often raised by mothers who are mean-spirited towards other women and sometimes their own daughters. These little girls learned to tear apart and compete with other girls simply by observing their own mothers do the same thing. Bullies breed bullies; it’s a never ending cycle.
It’s not your fault. You just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just ignore them and keep being your awesome self. There are 7 billion people walking the earth right now; why let one person ruin your day? Life is short, after all.