The Mean Girls

Lisa Kaplin giving a speech with a light blue background

A few weeks ago, I gave a talk to a group of executive women. There were about twenty women in the room and they were all considered “high potentials” for their company. They were very smart and very successful and one of the toughest crowds I’ve had in awhile.

Two of the women were apparently texting each other while I was talking. I watched one point to her phone across the room and then the other one would read it and laugh out loud. Immediately, I went into my teen-aged girl mode in which I inwardly say, “They are obviously saying bad things about me. How dare they!” I started to feel insecure about what I was saying and second guessing myself as a presenter and subject expert.

At the break, I found some quiet space to get my head together. I was feeling defensive and insecure around the now labeled in my head “mean girls.” I was ready to be defensive and defiant and maybe even call them out on their snarky behavior. Luckily, I stopped myself in time because in hindsight, I’m pretty sure that would have been a really bad idea.

I started to think about the concept of mean girls and how I didn’t really think that was the issue at play. These women didn’t know me and thus any gossiping they were doing, even if it was about me, certainly wasn’t personal to me. Even if it was, I got to decide if I wanted to react to it or not. I chose not to. I took some deep breaths, stood for a minute like Wonder Woman, and walked back into that room with the confidence that I knew what I was doing and had every right to be there.

WWWWD: What Would Wonder Woman Do?

The break was over and in I walked as if I actually was Wonder Woman. I put a smile on, shifted the focus of my talk, and grabbed the attention of one of the previously labeled “mean girls.” I asked her a question about how she would handle a certain situation. She ended up giving me a very open, thoughtful response. A few minutes later, her friend joined in. I knew that I had won them over.

What if we all just need someone to step around our wall of #insecurity & connect with us? #leadership Click To Tweet

I’m not sure that the same would work for adolescent mean girls, but I do believe that most women who behave that way are just struggling with some of their own issues of insecurity. I don’t need to react to that, but I do have the opportunity to make myself vulnerable and open to the possibility of connecting with some of these women. I’ve been insecure and snotty myself, so who am I to judge?

What if we all just need someone to step around that wall of insecurity and connect with us? What if we didn’t actually have to interpret the behavior of others as having much to do with us and therefore we don’t have to react to it? How much nicer would life be if we just chose to be open to people and see what happens? I’m glad I did. I ended up meeting two really great women and their peers and learning as much from them as they did from me.


Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC

Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. PCC

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Smart Women, Inspired Lives: How to Be Happy & Confident

by Dr. Lisa Kaplin
Do you long for more energy? Do you wish you could walk into any room and feel happy and confident? Do you simply want to enjoy your life more – personally and professionally? You can. Too many women today are doing more, but feeling less satisfied. Life doesn’t have to be that way. With small tweaks and simple strategies, you can enjoy a great life with soaring self-confidence, a good sense of well-being, and plenty of laughter. This easy-to-read yet profoundly impactful book will be all you need to join the tribe of smart women living inspired lives. Your life gets better right now.

About Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D, PCC

headshot of Lisa KaplinCertified Life Coach and Psychologist at Smart Women Inspired Lives.

I’m the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives, where I help overwhelmed and exhausted women move from the feeling of being “stuck” into a life filled with calm, confidence, and joy. In addition to the posts and articles I write, I offer individual and group life coaching sessions, classes and speaking engagement opportunities.



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