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Becoming A Better Person: Turns Out I Was The “Mean Girl”

“Sophie, you’re being kind of a bitch right now.”

Those words struck me like a brick to the face. I stared at my friends, tears welling in my eyes. In the heavy silence and darkness of Jackie’s basement, I gathered my coat and keys and stormed out to my car.

I burst into tears the second I slammed the car door. I cried for a lot of reasons. My best friend had called me a bitch. My friends wanted to play that stupid mafia game that I hated and then ganged up on me. My head was spinning as a side effect of the birth control I was using. My boyfriend was on a camping retreat for the fraternity he was pledging, and I couldn’t call him. My parents weren’t supportive at all. Upon arriving home, they told me that Jackie was right, I was being a bitch.

But my parents and Jackie were right. I was dealing with a lot of horrible stuff during my senior year—the year everyone says should be the best year of your high school career–and instead of controlling my anger, I was taking it out on my family, my boyfriend, and that night, my friends. I started yelling at them over something so incredibly petty, and my best friend called me out on it. I’m glad she did.

I licked my wounds for a few days. Then, per my parents’ suggestion, I reached back out to her and apologized for my actions. She understood and accepted the apology, but said that if I didn’t stop being so unpleasant toward her and my other friends, they would probably start spending less time with me. The possibility of bearing the brunt of my less-than-awesome senior year without any friends terrified me and shocked me into reality. I had to change my behavior or go through it alone.

Becoming a Better Person

I also started to see my mom’s therapist to work through my issues and their impact on my relationships. This experience showed me how to process my emotions more appropriately, controlling anger rather than project my anger onto others. I also learned how to confront my friends when I had a conflict with them rather than let it fester and turn into passive aggressive interactions.

My friends saw a vast improvement in my behavior, and luckily, I still keep in contact with them three years later. Now, when I talk to my college friends about high school, they can’t believe I was ever a mean girl. Learning to effectively handle my reactions to the unfortunate situations I can’t control allowed me to keep my friends and prepare myself for building college relationships.

Sophie Bartolotta is a junior at Northwestern University.

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