Mean girls aren't just confined to the silver screen. Like the toxic ladies in the "Mean Girls" movie, real-life mean girls manipulate, take advantage and put you down. Dr. Phil McGraw, author of the book "Life Code", has seen both extreme and not-so-extreme examples of this toxic behavior. Regardless of where someone falls on the "mean" spectrum, Dr. Phil says they are still BAITERs (Backstabbers, Abusers, Imposters, Takers, Exploiters and Reckless) you must protect yourself from. But... how?
This is the question posed by a woman named Mendissa during a taping of "Oprah's Lifeclass" with Dr. Phil. Mendissa tells Dr. Phil that she keeps attracting mean girls and wants to know how she can continue to be a nice person without her toxic friends mistaking that for weakness. Part of her struggle, she says, comes from the fact that her mean-girl friends don't always seem evil.
"Are people really that bad?" Mendissa asks Dr. Phil. "Are they out to lie and take my identity and steal from me? Should I be on the look-out for everyone?"
"That's a compound question and the answers are yes, no and maybe," Dr. Phil responds. "... Most of the BAITERs you'll meet in your life are not maniacal, homicidal maniacs. That's the extreme end of the continuum."
Elsewhere on the spectrum are mean girls like Mendissa's friends. "They're not on the extreme end, but they are users [and] backstabbers," she admits. "[But] I feel like if I don't continue to be their friend, then I won't have any... If someone is always being nice to you, how can you continue to do mean things to them?"
"Because that toxic nature has nothing to do with you," Dr. Phil says. "You can practice [the Golden Rule], but do not expect it. You've got to give yourself permission to be your own best friend. If your best friend was with you, they would step in front of you and say, 'You mean girls, hit the bricks. Because she deserves better.' Be your own best friend."