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Mean Girl Sleeping Over
Q&A for Teens

Mean Girl Sleeping Over

You don’t have to have a relationship with someone who doesn’t treat you well.


Dear Lauren,

A girl in my class wants to have a sleep-over with me. But she’s really snobby and not nice and I don’t want to spend time with her. What should I do?

Lauren Roth

Lauren Roth's Answer

You don’t have to spend time with anyone who doesn’t treat you nicely. If there’s one important thing I would love young people to learn early on, it’s that. You deserve to be treated with kindness. If someone doesn’t do that, you don’t need them in your life.

You deserve to be treated with kindness. If someone doesn’t do that, you don’t need them in your life.

Our purpose for being here on Earth is to give kindness. If someone is mean, stay away. Even if someone is not mean, just “not so caring” or “not so thoughtful,” you don’t have an obligation to spend time with them.

A few years ago, we used to have a certain family member fairly regularly in our home. Because it was a family member, I didn’t really have a choice about having this person stay over. You, on the other hand – lucky you! – can choose to stay away from this girl in your class.

This particular family member used to wear heavy doses of perfume, which would leave our guest room suffused with the scent for weeks. That would have been great for other guests who liked that particular scent, except that it was really bothersome to guests who didn’t. And there were a few other regular guests who were very bothered by the smell left behind.

Also, our kids had allergies, and the perfume bothered them and made their sneezy, watery-eyed, itchy throat, runny nose symptoms worse.

So, of course, I asked this woman to please not bring her perfume anymore. She agreed – and proceeded to bring it anyway. And to apply it. In heavy doses!

Not nice, right?

A friend was helping me figure out how to deal with this issue. I remember saying to her: “It’s just not nice! It’s just mean! How could she do that?” And she replied: “It’s not mean; she just doesn’t know.” To which I said: “I respectfully disagree. It is mean, because certain things you’re supposed to know. For example, you can’t just walk into someone’s house, step all over their toes, and then say, ‘Oh! I’m sorry! I didn’t realize that people have toes!’ It’s your job to realize that people have toes!

Everyone is supposed to be nice. And if someone never learned how to be nice, that’s not an excuse. They have to start learning now. And until they do learn how to be nice, you are allowed to stay away from them.

There was a couple who married a few months ago. Before they married, I told them: “Neither of you are ready to get married. Neither of you yet know how to be truly kind and giving.” Even though they had asked for my advice, they didn’t like hearing that! (Who would?!)

Needless to say, after a few months of not being treated right, the woman left the marriage and asked for a divorce. Too bad she didn’t learn when she was your age (or at least before she married him): 1. You have to be nice. 2. Don’t enter into relationships with people who aren’t nice to you.

This weekend we had the honor and the privilege of hosting Rabbi Akiva Tatz in our home. (I asked him if I could write about this, by the way. I am respectful of the rights of others!)

He was a paragon of how to treat other people. He was brought to our home on Friday afternoon, just before Shabbat, and immediately asked, as he wheeled his suitcase to the guest room, “What can I do to help you? I do floors.”

That’s how you treat other people.

And after the Friday night Shabbat meal, it was 1 AM and there was a lot of cleanup to do (we had hosted 50 people to hear him). Did he go off to sleep? No! He said, “Where is a garbage bag? I’ll help clean up.”

That’s how you treat other people.

And when he left after Havdallah on Saturday night, his room was spotless and the bed was made. That’s how a good person treats other people.

If someone is mean to you, snobby to you, not nice to you: stay away. You don’t deserve that. Everyone’s job is to be nice. If someone isn’t doing their job, they don’t deserve your friendship.

May 24, 2014

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 13

(12) Jodi, March 11, 2016 1:47 PM

The rabbis offer

I was wowed by the rabbis offer to do floors. I'm curious to know if you were able to take him up on his offer? That would have been a nice thing for you to do for him. I'm sure he stays in many homes and would love to feel like he can give back something to his hosts. He sounds like a true mensch.

(11) Mrs Golding, July 6, 2014 11:29 PM

OTOH I accept my husband despite the lack of cleaning

I agree with the substance of the article. I just want to mention that I totally love and accept my wonderful husband despite the fact that he never offers to help with housework and is very messy. In fact, until I read things like this article making an issue of the importance of helping with housework, I did not even think about this. No one is perfect, and my husband has so many many wonderful qualities. I just want to urge those newly married or contemplating marriage that whilst it is marvellous if your spouse is a paragon of all known virtues, one can also be incredibly happily married, and feel very lucky to have found one's beshert, even if one's beshert has what others might consider significant flaws.

I was unhappily married the first time around, and my first husband was good at doing housework. It is often not that easy to put into words exactly what makes one person so right and another so not. But if you go into a marriage with a standing-on-your-rights sort of attitude, it is almost guaranteed that you will find your spouse falls short.

Just a thought, from a very very happily married woman.

(10) Anonymous, June 16, 2014 7:59 PM


One Friday morning, as I was driving to work, I received a call from someone in town who knows my husband. There was a Shabbaton and , at the last moment, two women RSVPed that they were coming, and he needed a place for them to stay that had no pets. ( Allergies.) I was told they were rum and would not have a problem following our rules ( Shomer Shabbat.)
I agreed that we would host them, but explained that I worked until 2, and my husband until 3 , so could he not send them over to my house until 3:30, when I would have arrived back home from work, and also, let them know I would be busy preparing for shabbat, so might not have much time. This was in the winter, so Sabbat was early.
Before they arrived, I quickly cleaned up the guest room, put on clean sheets and put out clean towels for them.
They arrived a little before 4. And all they did was complain. "We are not used to sharing room!" "We need separate rooms!" Well, I have a 4 bedroom home, but I also have 5 children, so it is not a simple thing to rearrange and that room had its down bathroom, whereas, all of my children share a bathroom.
Then, they didn't' like the bathroom. We are not wealthy, the sink has rust , as does the tub. They were very clean, but there is rust by the drains. One of the women insisted that i stop cooking and come in and re-clean the bathroom.
This continued until, Thankfully, they left to go to the shul for the dinner.
I have never recovered from this and still cringe when we are asked to host someone for Shabbat.These women were about ten years older than I, they were in their late 40's or early 50's at the time.
I have wondered, over the years, how they became that way.
As I said, I have never recovered. I cringe and hesitate when we are asked to host people. It has destroyed the joy I used to feel on welcoming strangers.

(9) mama, June 10, 2014 12:59 AM

Also remember...

Some children have special needs that are not immediately apparent. My daughter does and when she uses the wrong tone ot becomes hypersenstitive herself inappropriately, the mean girls enjoy provoking her and then acting as though she is in the wrong once they have really been cruel and set her up. I have taught my daughter coping skills and to avoid mean kids and I also teach my daughter about improving her own radar and emotional intelligence and tone. So I agree that no one is ever obligated to be friends with someone who is mean or certainly not to play with someone they really don't like for a sleepover, but I personally encourage my kids to bring in the girl who is the odd one out and to volunteer and help those less fortunate than them so they can increase their own perspective and emotional intelligence. this hand in hand with not ever forcing a child into a friendship or sleepover leads to nicer more tolerant kids who can set boundaries but also have empathy for others.

(8) Nancy, May 29, 2014 7:51 PM

Sometimes people are not nice, regardless of their age. While we certainly need to treat people with courtesy and civility, we don't need to become best friends with everyone. Unfortunately, too many females have been told that they have to "be nice," regardless of how they are being treated. I will no longer tolerate nasty and toxic treatment from ANYONE, no matter who they are!!

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