Dear Lauren,

I have a friend who’s always mean to me. She makes fun of me in front of our other friends, makes “jokes” at my expense, and sometimes she ignores me when she’s mad at me. I’m not really sure how to make her stop.

Love,

Ashley

Lauren Roth

Lauren Roth's Answer

Dear, Dear Ashley,

“Mean friend” is an oxymoron.

If someone is consistently mean to you, they are not your friend. Nobody deserves to have people make fun of them. Nobody deserves to be the butt of someone’s jokes. You should not tolerate people being mean to you.

If someone is mean to you, stay away from them. They are not your friend.

If someone is mean to you, stay away from them. They are not your friend.

Every person deserves respect; every person is made in the image of God, and is deserving of respect simply because of that fact. A fundamental tenet of Judaism is: “Treat others as you would want to be treated.” A corollary of that is: “Stay away from people who don’t treat you properly.” Your question was how to make her stop. Answer: you can’t. Just stay away.

That’s the first line of defense. I’m stating those facts as the basis of my answer.

However, let’s say you tell me, “No, no. She’s not always mean to me. Sometimes she’s nice! And I like her. I want to be friends with her.” My first answer stands; someone who’s sometimes mean to you is not a good friend.

However, let’s say most of the time this person is a good friend, and just every so often does these mean things. Then, you have options. You can talk to her:

“Amy, I like being your friend. It really hurts my feelings when you make fun of me.”

“I didn’t make fun of you!”

“Um, when you said, ‘Ashley’s such a dufus-brain,’ that was making fun of me. And I can’t have you treating me that way.”

Let’s say it’s when your friend is in a bad mood (tired, hungry, stressed, upset), that she’s mean to you. I’m all for being there for your friends when they need you. BUT if someone’s going to let their personal frustrations out on you, that’s not a good friend. Again, “mean friend” is an oxymoron. If, once in a blue moon, your friend is in a bad mood, and she lets it out on you, you can let it go. But not if it’s frequently, and, when it happens, you really should tell her, “Dudette, it’s not cool to be mean to me when you’re upset.”

Again, I can’t say it enough times: you do not deserve to have anyone treat you badly. Ever.

There is one other important option to consider with regard to this question. Sometimes people are mean to us because we’re nasty to them. Sometimes people make fun of us because we made fun of them. Sometimes people are obnoxious to us because we hurt them. Make sure you are treating your friends well. Make sure you’re being a good friend. Sometimes we hurt people without realizing it, and then we’re surprised when they’re mean to us. Ask your friend, “Did I hurt your feelings?” You might be surprised at the answer. Being in relationships helps us to grow, because often we do things to other people that hurt them without our even being aware that we did. If your friend is mean to you, ask her: “Did I hurt you?” And learn to be a better person yourself.

Of course, if your friend is always or constantly or often upset with you over things you did, then either you legitimately need a lot of self-improvement, or you have a difficult friend that it might be easier not to have….

If you have amazing friends, thank God for them every day. And be nice to them.

If you aren’t as fortunate as that, make sure to take care of yourself. Be nice to yourself. If you’re nice to yourself, you’ll attract good, kind friends to you. Make sure to figure out what you love to do, and then do it. I love love love riding my bike, and I make sure to ride every day that’s nice. I also love reading, so I make sure to take time to gift myself that pleasure. You, too, find things you love to do and make sure to do them. Happy people attract nice, happy friends.

And don’t forget that you always, always have two really good friends who will never leave you:

  1. Yourself, and
  2. God.

I seriously talk to myself in the mirror. “Hi, Lauren! How are you today?” “You did such a good job writing your article this week!” “You were a really good mom today. I’m proud of you.” “Wow! That was a smart solution you thought of. You go, girl.” Seriously. I’m a great friend. To myself, too! What better person for me to be kind to than to myself? If you’re kind to yourself, you’ll attract kind friends. And, if you’re kind to yourself, then you’re constantly practicing being a good friend to your friends and family.

And, lastly, about your other friend who will never leave you: God. Know that He is always there, loving you, no matter who is mean to you. Know that He respects and values you. Know that praying to Him can be a very effective tool for not feeling alone, and for remedying any difficult situation you’re experiencing. Your “friend” is being mean to you? Ask God to make her stop. Ask God for the strength to find better friends. Ask God to send better, kinder friends your way.

God is definitely the best friend you’ll ever have.