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Don't get dissed! Nasty insults, cruel teasing, mega-burns--whatever the diss, you CAN dismiss it.

Samantha is the most evil Queen Bee in class--and she brutally busts on you every day. You came into homeroom rockin' some groovy vintage specs, and she snarled, "Those weird glasses make your nose look even bigger!" as her ever-present gang of nasty little worshippers laughed like hyenas.

She chatted it up with your chem partner Steve and told him you're a total science moron, which is so not true! Now you're running for student council prez--and the second your posters went up, someone scrawled "Loser" next to your name on every last one of them. Whose handwriting do you recognize? Yep, Samantha's.

You don't have to suffer silently when somebody disses on you. We know--the standard line of advice is, "Ignore it, and it'll go away." So not effective. To truly stomp out disrespect, you've gotta take control of the situation. Here, we lay out some no-fail strategies to help you kick the dissing to the curb.

The Truth About TRASH-TALK

Whether you're dealing with a quick dig or a full-on attempt at destroying your rep, the root of almost any diss grows out of your disser's low self-esteem.

"Most insults at the pre-teen and teen ages are based on insecurity," explains Richard S. Maddox, director, Early Entrance Program, California State University, Los Angeles. Samantha rips on you in front of her buds, and they think she's cool--but she wouldn't have to impress them by being mean if she already felt worthy of admiration.

Don't waste your time feeling too sorry for Samantha, though--your priority is to protect yourself. "Dissing and insults are political power plays," says Rhonda Borman, a Tennessee-based social worker. Borman points out that tolerating such heavy put-downs can squash your self-image. If you hear a diss enough times, you'll actually start to believe it (even though it's false). "Research psychologists say [negative] self-talk begins around age 10," says Borman. "Girls deserve better than a lifetime of hearing comments that take away feelings of self-confidence and self-esteem."

Dealing With DISSES

Your first move in drop-kicking a diss, then, is hitting it head-on. Don't think, "I'm just gonna let it roll off my back." You'll run the risk of looking and feeling weak and wussy. Instead, immediately face your disser down, so the abuse does not spin out of control.

Here's why you should stick up for yourself: If you let an insult slide, your actions say, "It's OK for you to disrespect me because I don't respect myself enough to stop you." Demand respect by batting out the perfect response. Let's look at a few different, but all too common, degrees of burn. Like snowflakes, no two disses are exactly alike. Insults tend to fall into certain icky categories, though. We'll bet these sound familiar ...

* Constructive Criticism-Not Your cousin Emily points out your "flaws" in an incredibly blunt way. There was the time she said, "Your butt's too big to pull off those embroidered-pocket jeans." And the day you tell her you're up for a brand new 'do, she casually mentions, "If you get bangs, they'll cover those zits you always get on your forehead."

In a sitch like this, your best bet is to let Emily know her bomb-dropping hurts you. It's likely she thinks she's just laying it on the line and does not realize her insensitivity. But a truly cool cousin won't want you to feel hurt and will be able to handle your speaking up.

Why do the best people sometimes dole out the worst disses? "Much of this behavior starts at home," offers Borman. Could be this is how Emily's 'rents communicate, and she's displaying the same 'tude she's raised around. It's never too late to change things, so definitely point out when her "advice" offends you.

* The Joke That Isn't Funny You're at McDonald's with your crew and, man, you're starving. After polishing off your bag o'fries, you scoop a few of your bud Jen's. So Jen cracks, "What, are you in training to be one of those professional French-fry speed-eaters?" and everyone yucks it up at your expense.

This kind of diss is what's known as passive-aggressive--a comment that appears way innocent but makes a stinging point. Does Jen's comment mean you're morphing into a flab monster? No! It could be her sense of humor is kinda barbed and she means no harm. At the same time, it's cool to let Jen know you're not taking any baloney.

"The smart way to handle such a zinger is with a dash of wit," advises Maddox. "If you deflect it with humor, you allow the insulter to see how juvenile such commentary can be." You could say to Jen, "Speed-eating is nothing--I'm actually setting a world record for fly consumption! Hey, nothing wrong with setting goals." No doubt, everybody will crack up right along with you--and Jen might learn to zip her lip.

* The Green-Eyed Blues There's only one spot to represent your school in state chorus. The competition is beyond intense, but you're determined to ace your audition--and you totally do! As you leave the music room, Kate is waiting for her turn to try out. She says, "Yeesh, you were so off-pitch." You can't believe anyone would be so blatantly witchy!

Kate's shot screams one thing: She envies your talent, big-time. When someone is this mean to your face, get right up in hers--the cool-headed way. Look Kate in the eye and firmly tell her, "You have no right to be rude." If that doesn't put her in her place, don't waste time mixing it up with her. Just repeat, "Don't be rude to me, end of story."

* Leader-of-the-Pack Attack Then there's the diss of the Sam-the-Queen-Bee-and-Her-Gutless-Followers variety. "I knew a girl whose peers repeatedly pulled pranks on her," says Borman. "Crank calls, sending taxicabs to her house, calling her names, and making up rumors about her."

Rather than being knocked off her feet by a widespread campaign of cruelty, Borman says the girl took action as soon as she had the opportunity: "She courageously looked the perpetrators in the eye and, in a determined voice, told them to stop. No crying or whining. She practiced out loud in front of a mirror and other friends." She didn't back down, and the dissers were caught way off guard by her strength ... and they stopped hassling her. Done deal.

The Wild, Wild, Web: Dealing with Online Disses

A troubling new trend has P emerged on the Internet: girls posting vile, untrue slams about each other (you saw Odd Girl Out with Alexa Vega on Lifetime, right?). This kind of trashing technique can spread like wildfire, wrecking reps with the push of a "send" button. If you find yourself a victim, there are some things you can do ....

* You may be tempted to combat the bad buzz by sending a mass e-mail denying the diss. Don't do it. "Never feed into or react to these postings," says Maddox. "The adolescent attention span is short and ignoring, not feeding, the rumor mill will help."

* Try to trace the root of any internet diss, although it can be very tough to do. Contact service providers (like AOL or Yahoo!) attached to any nasty messages for assistance.

* Definitely tell an adult so he or she can take appropriate action to help stop the problem. A school official might be able to uncover who's putting out the anonymous bad word on you.

RELATED ARTICLE: Ditching the drama.

Dissing, by nature, isn't super-long lasting. Serial slammers get their jollies by exerting power over as many girls as possible so, odds are, they will quickly tire of hounding you and move on to a fresh victim (sad but true). When dealing with dissing, never rack your brain over what you might have done to invite the torment. You've done nothing wrong--no one deserves to be treated badly. Remember that you're tough enough to handle whatever challenges life sends your way. It's important not to get caught up in the drama and lose perspective. Sure, it stinks to be on the receiving end of an insult, but don't buy the hype and forget who you really are-one fine and fabulous chica!
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Author:Mulcahy, Lisa
Publication:Girls' Life
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2005
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