Why Are Women Catty?

Published June 25, 2013 by Maryanne

catty Why are women catty?

I don’t know, I can’t relate to that mindset. I’m a lover not a fighter. I’m a person who compliments to your face, not one who stabs you in the back.

But nevertheless, it goes on and on and on.

Years ago, I read a letter to Dear Abby. A woman said that she was very attractive in her younger day and that women were always taking cheap shots and throwing digs to make her feel worse about herself. She wrote that now she was a middle-aged woman and happily married. And while she was still attractive to her husband, people viewed her as a middle-aged woman and she wasn’t subjected to cattiness anymore, so on the whole she felt better.

I wish I could say that this was me who wrote that letter. But sadly it wasn’t. Just a few weeks ago I was once again victim to catty behavior. What did I do? Nothing. I let it go, as always. I continue to be pleasant and nice to these women who I can’t figure out why they have to go out of their way to try and make me feel bad. Sometimes I think if I be very nice (not phony, but just giving my best shot) sooner or later I might get through to their thick skulls that I’m not the enemy.

Since I am not close to them, I can only guess why they see me as such a threat. Maybe their husbands don’t give them enough attention. Maybe they didn’t get enough attention as children. Maybe they don’t like the way they look. Maybe they are jealous of how I look. Maybe they hate my tattoos (which is ridiculous). I don’t know. And I don’t think I want to know either because catty people scare me and I don’t want to figure them out. I only want to be in their company as little as necessary. Maybe enough to see if they changed, but they usually don’t. Catty seems to be a way of life for some.

You can try anything to make it stop, but I choose to do nothing because catty women are often in denial. Nothing works anyway. I’ve tried everything. If you confront them, they may apologize to high heavens, but only to do it again in the near future. Or they’ll pull the “I was only kidding” card. But honestly, what is funny about hurting someone’s feelings and being mean?

Women who have mastered catty are very smart. They have a secret way of getting away with being cruel. They will fool their own husbands (some of the worst offenders have wonderful husbands) their family, their friends … They will make up lies about other women just so others can share in their hate. And they know exactly who to target: girls who are sweet, girls who don’t do catty, girls who are happy, girls who are unique, and yes, girls who are probably prettier than them and even if they aren’t they will still hate someone who has a little extra they believe they don’t.

You know the deal.

Years ago, when I just turned 31 and was working as a waitress at Cozy End in Montclair, as I tried to get my writing career going, one of my customers was a gorgeous young woman named Delilah (I think her real name was Deborah, but we all knew her as Delilah). She was one of the prettiest girls I’ve ever seen in my life. Delilah had perfect posture and always wore her jet black hair pulled back in a severe high ponytail. And she had eyes like a cat with a piercing stare. And boy, was she stylish! Like a retro Hollywood movie star. Delilah was the kind of girl that when she walked into a room, everyone turned around to look.

Delilah and I got along great and I always looked forward to when she came to eat at Cozy End because we’d have amazing conversations and she was an absolute doll. I also loved that she was a strong woman. I was in awe of her.

One day, out of the blue, Delilah said, in a voice loud enough for the entire eatery to hear, “Why are women catty?”

I knew I heard her correctly, but asked to make sure. “What?”

“Why are women catty?” she repeated in the same loud tone.

She had the undivided attention of the entire little restaurant.

“What do you mean?” I asked again. I knew what she meant, but she was obviously looking to me to be a part of whatever she was about to aim for, so I went along because, yeah, I was con-catty women too. Whatever she was about to say, I was all for it. I waited for her next words with baited breath.

“That group of women over there …” She pointed to the table. It was a table of middle-aged women. They all shut up to listen to Delilah, who continued. “Their friend just left and they all started talking about her! C’mon, that’s your friend!”

I was so proud of Delilah for speaking up, not just for the friend, but for all women who are victims of catty behavior. She shut an entire table of women up. No one dared argue with her because they were wrong and she shamed them. Little by little, the women got up and left, quietly.

Perhaps that is what needs to be done. If a person is a victim of cattiness, defending herself may fail because like I said catty women are sly as a fox, but if someone else defends the victim, it could be a well deserved slap in the face to the offenders.

Delilah, where ever you are, I still love you for what you did, fall/winter of 1994 to 1995!

If you know someone who is catty, try not to be in a situation where you are alone with them. Always make sure another women (one who isn’t catty, preferably someone like Delilah who will defend you) is in the room with you. But definitely do not be alone with a catty woman and a man — even if he’s the greatest guy in the world, guys can be clueless when it comes to women being catty with each other. Sadly, the dig will go right over a guy’s head in 90 percent of the cases and he won’t understand why you’re upset. Guys, even the great ones, need to be taught how catty women operate in order to be more compassionate towards a victim (who could be the woman they adore).

I don’t know how to make the hurt any easier. It’s just so difficult when someone has it out for you, or just dislikes you for no reason, when you are always nice to them. It’s something a good person just doesn’t get.

You can always vent to caring friends. Or even blog about it. Perhaps they will see this blog some day and think, “Hey, that’s me” and either get professional help or make a conscious effort to make a positive change in their life.

When women resort to drastic measures like making other women feel bad about themselves, it’s truly pitiful. Jealousy is ugly enough on it’s own, but when you throw catty into the mix, it’s absolutely hideous.

Someone once told me that if someone is catty toward you, take it as a compliment because it means they are threatened by you. I will not take such disturbing behavior as a compliment. The best I can do is just erase such people from my psyche. People who behave like that do not deserve a ranking of “co-star” in my life. I consider them mere “extras” — background people that don’t count. And they put themselves there so I don’t feel bad. I mean, really, how much hostile behavior can a person take? And that’s exactly what a catty woman is — a hostile, frustrated person who is holding something deep inside her. Think about it … will a catty woman tell her husband what she is doing to other women? No, she’s keeping a secret. She’s letting her ugly behavior manifest inside her. So ashamed of what she is doing, of course she won’t share with her husband.

That is why catty women are repeat offenders and you can’t trust them unless they get psychological help and try to change for the better. Catty women are like roller coasters: very moody, one minute they are nice and back stabbing or throwing digs the next. So  you never know what to expect from them. Stay away from them. They are poison.

Well, in the end I’m happy I’m not like they are. Thrilled, actually.

As Iggy Pop once said on his Metallic K.O. live record, “You can throw all the ice cubes you want, your girlfriend will still be in love with me.”

YEAH! Throw all the digs you want, I’m still fabulous Maryanne! HA!


Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

52 comments on “Why Are Women Catty?

  • I’ve been reading your posts for over a year now and lately, well….. my my Maryanne, you are on fire and I love it! Your words resonate such truth. I went to a women’s convention in Boston this past April and listened to Lisa Bevere, a Christian speaker and well known author. She spoke of the “lioness” in all of us (women) and how the female lions in the pride work together and not rip each other apart. It’s not the way God wants women to live.. She studied them for 2 years and her message was very profound. The name of her book is “Lioness Arising” and I can see that in your last few posts. God is moving in your life and your words are blessing simple people like me. I’m glad you write so boldly. I’ve only got about 2 or 3 blogs coming to my phone and yours is one of them because I always know there’s good stuff awaiting me! Bless you!


    • Thank you SO MUCH Kathy! Your words brought tears to my eyes. One of my editors always said my best writing was when I was pissed off, but it joys me that it can also be interpreted as helping others. I am so devastated because my poor kitty is very sick, so I’m just letting all this energy out as a release. That book sounds amazing! It’s so awesome to hear about such a positive book for women. I will definitely check it out! God bless you! xo

  • So true. I recently received an e-mail from one of my “close friends”. In it she apologized for losing touch with me. My response was: “No need to apologize. I am the responsible party. I grew tired of being the friend you laughed at and made jokes about. Rather than confront anyone I chose to bow out gracefully”. SHE thought we were close. I knew better. She was confused by my absence. I didn’t care. I knew it was her loss and apparently she felt it. That was enough for me. That’s how I roll…;)

    • I agree! I think cattiness stems from people being afraid of others having more attention than they do. It goes hand-in-hand with the one-up thing. A lot of people are like that. It’s very draining. And then for them to create a “back-up” to defend their cattiness and make it come off as a joke or presented in a way that the receiver is being “too sensitive” — it’s very clever and time consuming. I’m too dumb for all that — and glad about it. I prefer being nice and humble 🙂

  • Hey Maryanne. I so have no patience for it either. Distancing yourself from their cattiness is the only way. I think some people just aren’t happy and just want to pull others down with them. I’m from a family full of men and trust me life is so much easier around men, right? Hugs Paula xx

  • Men are catty, too, but we call it bullshit. However, I prefer to call it poppycock (less vulgar; more fun to say and sort of makes me sound smart or effeminate).

    I love the way you just put it out there for the world to read. The heart you wear upon your sleeve must be surrounded in fiery flames. A symbol of gentleness, love, etc. coupled with positive pugnaciousness. Another great article.

    • LOL, Jim, God bless you, you always crack me up. Your comments make me “laugh out loud” for real. Big smile on my face. Thank-you 🙂

      And you have great insights, I am gentle and loving. One time I met someone in real life, who followed my writing on Live Journal years ago. He said, “You’re so nice in person! Online you’re so intimidating!” I think I’m like a guy that way — I get things off my chest, then I’m everyone’s best friend. (That’s my secret to staying young! Get it out, and no grudges!)

  • I just want to say Thank You. I read your blog and I appreciate what you have to say on the issue. I am dealing with this as an older student in a University… and it is an adjunct teacher who is doing this and she is recruiting other like minded women/students. I agree with how you have handled this. I have not said a negative word and I think it is best to just be free to be who I am and not let the opinion of others turn my happiness into a reflection of their misery by participating in this kind of bullying. I do think you are right about how smart these women are most men do not see anything because they are so sly about how they go about their jabbing comments.

    • Hi, so sorry to hear you are dealing with catty women. It’s such an ugly thing in society and it pains me whenever I hear about it happening. I wish you all the best and happiness. Thanks so much for your support and wisdom. Good luck to you.

  • I needed this article. I’ve recently come under attack by someone I thought was my very best friend! The woman who stood up for me the day I got married less than a year ago! I’ve spent months trying to figure out what I did, how I can fix it only realize that the issue isn’t me. It’s her. Normal people don’t go around trying to destroy others. Reading your article gave me great comfort… I’m not alone in this battle! Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Allison. I am so sorry that happened to you. The green eyed monster is a terrible thing and please be comforted in that it’s definitely not you. After I got married I lost several “friends” and then even more once I published my book. But the good news is, get rid of the negative and it opens the door for more positive people to come in. You are not alone and I wish you all the happiness! Congratulations on being a newlywed! xo 🙂

  • Wow! This is my life! I hate cattiness but I am a victim to it all the time. We have a large group of so called “friends”, and the guys are great but some of the women are ruthless, some of them are very nice, and a few just okay, but I would never trust the just okay ones to have my back. They have even told me they were afraid to say anything because they do not want to be subjected to the same fate. 2 of these women have had it out for me since I met them. They constantly use sarcasm and send jabs and digs my way and say things they know I am very sensitive about just to be mean. I have had a few people tell me that these 2 women really gang up on me when they are together. The worst part is one of the women is the wife of my husbands best friend so it really sucks that she can’t be nice to me and refuses to accept me no matter how nice I am to her and the other one I work with. These 2 women are also very cunning and they are pretty sly about when they do this and who is around but it is being noticed by others more and more. I am about to tell my husband that he will have to start doing things with this circle of friends without me because I do not need to subject myself to their constant abuse. Anyway, it’s kind of nice to know I am not alone but I feel for every woman who subjected to this kind of abuse. I hate cattiness and jealousy. Women are suppose to support one another and not tear each other down. I have talked to both these women and finally called them out and it has only made matters worse. They did not like being called out their cattiness. My husband did tell one of them they are out of line recently and I thought that would help but it didn’t. Whoever thought that being nice to others could hurt so much. My mom taught me to kill with kindness but I am finding that the nicer I am to these 2 women the more they hate me for it.

    • Hi! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and I am so sorry that you too had to go through all that. I feel it’s best to avoid these types of women because you are right, the nicer you are the more they hate you for it. My remedy is just to continue being my nice self but AVOID, AVOID, AVOID. Go out, instead, with people who will embrace you. Life is too short! HUGS! xo

      • Hi Maryanne,

        Your article was great. I have very few female friends because of this problem, and I hate it. I tend to distance myself from anyone I experience the cattiness from and rarely meet women who want to have ” normal” friendships with other women. Its very sad! I always try to be as nice as I can to others, but I believe some women see niceness as weakness and tend to start the cattiness. Also, some of the ” digs” can be so sly that even if you confront the person, you can’t prove that what they said was meant to hurt you or they always have a come back. Also, I have been experiencing this issue with my both my mother in law and sister in law ever since I married my husband. They love to gang up on me and I rarely respond to their hurtful comments, digs etc. It has gotten so bad I refuse to be around them and it has caused so many problems in my marriage because my husband just does not see it. What I cannot ever understand is although I am certainly not a perfect person, I have always been nice to them and accommodating as they are my husbands family. I finally told my husband I was not allowing the sister in law to come over our house because of her behavior to me and it has caused major issues. Women with this problem like to inflict pain on others and make others miserable. I have another situation with a neighbor who barely knows me but I believe (cannot prove) that she has talked to others behind my back as I can tell the neighbors reactions when I am around. But again, it cannot be proved. I constantly wonder why I am such a target for this type of behavior, is being nice a symbol for weakness to others? Do other people not have enough going on in their lives so they seek people out to pick on? What can I do? I will take any suggestions!

      • Yes, yes, I know this feeling all too well and I totally sympathize with your situation. I do think catty women attack happy, nice women because we make them feel insecure and incompetent because we’re content in who we are. It’s a “revenge” thing. And, yes, they are so clever at it, because guess what? We’re not their only targets! They are good at it because they’ve been doing it for years and to other people. Instead of upping their game, they choose to attack others whose light shines too brightly! I say to avoid them as much as you can. Be polite. And DO NOT play their game. Call them on their bullshit when you can because EVENTUALLY others WILL see it. Trust me on that, the truth always comes out! For me, I just keep the few that are good ones very close to me and develop my own happy life that is far from catty people as possible. Catty women have pushed me out of jobs, where I created my own career, first becoming self-employed and then an author! And yes, worse of all is when they are in family situations too. But now I have so much going on – with my calendar, I don’t have time to think of these people and when they do hurt me, the hurt doesn’t linger like it once did because I’m so super duper busy. Just keep shining brightly and keep doing all the things you do that make YOU a star — DO NOT let these people dim your light! Continue to be nice and happy and, like I said, truth comes out and these catties and phonies (I say “phoney” because they are so good at pretending they didn’t “mean it.”) will back off because they’ll have no choice once they are EXPOSED! Others WILL see it! I’ve witnessed it first hand. Good luck and stay strong!! HUGS!! 🙂

  • This was so nice to read! It’s been a year since you wrote this article, but I wanted to say how much I enjoyed it. I live in the south and sad to say it but women here are weened on cattiness. They worship Scarlett O’Hara as the epitome of all things feminine. I experience this poor behaviour in my mid forties and my teenage daughter gets a heavy dose at her all girls school. It breaks my heart, as I’m teaching my daughter to love and admire women. It’s easy to say just walk away, but when it’s almost daily it wears you out.

    • Hi Vicki, Thanks so much for enjoying my article. It’s disappointing to hear women are catty in the south also, as I was just there for a wedding/vacation and people were so very nice. It is heart-breaking when women beat each other up, that certainly is draining. Just know there are many of us around that embrace each other — concentrate on those who love and embrace YOU! Cheers from New Jersey 🙂

  • Love, love, love this! So true. I don’t have many friends; specifically b/c of this behavior. I don’t give people more than one chance to act this way towards me before I put the wall up and avoid them.

    • Thanks so much TBird! And good for you. I’ve been putting the wall up too towards not only catty women, but selfish ones. It’s nice having a small, but sincere group of friends. And being alone is good too 🙂 Cheers!

  • I am writing today because I just discovered your page. Omg, what I have missed!! and of all the subjects in the world , CATTY WOMEN. Right, it starts in the playground and follows you to your grave!! At my age ,I can handle myself, I have FIRED several of my ” so called” friends. Just don’t bother with them at all. Did it not by arguing, just directly told them that after years of talking about me, being rude to me, and trying their best to make me look bad I was DONE. One CATTIE did everything from messing up boyfriends to having me dismissed from a job. I did get pleasure although from seeing her squirm like slime, every time I under covered what she had done to me. I always bounced back. My Mom, an old fashioned Italian, had a lot of old fashioned sayings, like do not spit up into the air because it will come back down onto your face and what goes around – comes around. Sometimes it takes a bit of time, so a real classy lady just remains quiet and waits. They get theirs, believe me!! What consoled me & helped me get thru the times when I was hurt the most by Catties (especially when I was 40- 50) was thinking about how unhappy they were with their lives to have to make such direct hits on me.
    When I was a kid nothing was done about bullying, fortunately, today it is widely addressed!! I am an advocate against bullying.Being Catty is like being a Bully. I have grandchildren. It scares me for how beautiful my 14 year old granddaughter is. I have started to notice, the boys love her – all want to be around her – and the more that happens the more many girls hate her. Do these TEEN CATTIES realize its what inside that counts. Maybe they are not getting the attention at home that they need. i realize a lot of parents have to be out there working hard. Oh, and some even get the parents involved! You just have to ignore them , hopefully they will tire of trying to wear you down. I think parents getting involved is a no- no. Mine never did & it made me a strong person, but then it was the sixties & the seventies – not 2015 ! I preach to my granddaughter constantly. Don’t these parents talk to their kids? When bullying becomes too much ,you do have to get the authorities involved!! Sometimes it is wise to get early intervention, to avoid a tragedy.
    I have a quick sad story to share. As a youngster,my Mom sent me every Saturday to dance class.. Loved it ,when I was 6,7,8,9,10 maybe even 11 and 12 ( there were no gymnastic classes back then) Well at 13 no longer wanted to hear it but continued because my dance abilities got me into cheer leading. So now here come out the CATTIES, boys love you – girls hate you – I was at a Catholic Youth meeting one Saturday nite, and a girl that I barely knew approached me & began to compliment me on how good I was at dance. She told me a friend of hers who was there that evening ( whom I barely knew.. She was from another town -that this person could use some advice for her younger sister who wanted to pursue dance.. Something about the whole scenario made me uncomfortable. Well she pushed & pushed . Ok, I fell for it , I was told to start the conversation & did so. Immediately upon me opening with ” I heard your sister wants to dance “. – the other girl blurted out to me for all to hear ( and some were strangers) ” how dare you say this to me , my sister is crippled” Omg, I was mortified. I ran out of the building crying. I spent a sleepless night thinking of how horrible, I was going to appear confessing this sin! Would I ever be forgiven? Well , Monday morning at school , one of the boys on the bus sat next to me & told me he heard what had happened. Can you imagine how I felt when he told me it was a terrible sick prank they had set me up for. Her sister was mot crippled! After graduation, you tend to lose contacts with old classmates. I also had moved out of state because of a relationship & my career. I moved back shortly before my 25th year reunion. At your reunions there is a lot of reminiscing. Well of course, the dance incident came up. One of the girls there who had kept up with all the old news, etc… Said to me ” do you remember that night at youth group when such a dirty trick was played at you” of course I did. Well she then told us that a friend of hers had recently seen the girl who had set me up to be embarrassed & that she was now confined to a wheelchair. In spite of all I was still deeply saddened. It’s terrible to say, but its almost liked she jinxed herself?
    I am not saying that I am perfect or even close to it. No one but Our LORD is, I think nasties sometimes but I guess I am not a CATTY maybe I am a little KITTY. And kitties have a conscience. Well we all know that CATTIES have no conscience. That is one of the problems. The ? is ,what is the CURE ?? Motto to follow for us KITTIES when the CATTIES star “Ignorance is the best insult of all.

    Signed : Kittie
    Will elaborate again soon!!!

  • Hi Fionna, yes, it’s true the less you care about them the angrier they become. And so sad they are in my age bracket. I am 52 and not a jealous type at all so certainly not deserving of someone’s cattiness if they are in their 40s and 50s and cracking digs at me. I’m the first to give anyone a sincere compliment.

    I guess they see happy people and they can’t handle it — or the fact that even though I’m in my 50s and put on a little weight, my husband still adores me. I actually had someone ask me, “Is he okay with it?” WOW — if that wasn’t a great big MEOW, I don’t know what was!

  • I have had a Catty Woman get my dismissed/fired from my first temp to hire job. I just stared this new job and was low on cash til my first paycheck arrived and one nice young girl we call J gave my $13.00 for gas to get me back home for Thanksgiving. I did not ask her for the money. She heard me talking to a guy friend about my issue and gave it to me out of her gracious Heart! But some Catty woman didn’t like what she did for me and went to the HR person. I was at this job for three weeks, one day and three an a half hours when I got a call on my phone line to come to the manager’s desk. The manager and HR were both there in the room. They are both women too. I was informed by them that we are letting you go. I ask why and the HR lady said you are not right for this job. The manager did not look happy about this situation. Just three days ago the manager said to me that she like my work. All my batches that I submitted were correct. I went straight to the temp agency to find out why. I was informed by the temp agency that they said I was asking for money from a person at work and patients, which is incorrect.

    • Hi Lisa, Thanks for sharing! That’s a terribly sad story about how awful people can be. I’m so sorry that happened to you. It always saddens me to hear how low people will stoop when they are jealous and petty. I hope you found a new, amazing job! xo ❤

  • Yes. Glad more women are calling out this behaviour. Men should too. This behaviour is toxic as hell. If I learned anything growing up around women, is that the sisterhood is false.

  • Unbelievable! All of these comments have been what I have lived most of my life! I’m now 64 and I’m still putting up with catties! I have always blamed myself for not fitting in! So glad I have found this site!!!

    • You don’t have to put up with them. Just give a beautiful smile and delete them from your life. There are GOOD WOMEN out there (like ME!!!!!!!) you just have to find them. I’m the chick that will always give another girl a thumbs up, support, and lots of compliments.

  • This is great information. Iam experiencing this through mom groups. There is a group of moms on my child’s team that don’t like me or include me in anything. At the practices and games they won’t speak to me . My son is a very good player and does well, but I can’t imagine thIs it s is the reason and these parents are that immature. They won’t lol ok at me or speak to me. When I try to talk with them they cut me off. I don’t want to cause problems for my son so so just avoid them at all costs. I just don’t understand.

    • Hi Amy. Thank you for your comments. I am so sorry to hear you are going through this. People, especially women, just don’t evolve do they? I wrote this article in 2013. It’s now 2021 and things haven’t changed a bit. When people do such things to others in a clique-like manner it’s because they are ignorant sheep. If there was one intelligent person in that group, they would speak out about including you. Normal people don’t bully and exclude others. It’s even more sad that they are moms, and it makes me wonder are they raising their children to be catty too? You are smart for avoiding them; they are not worthy of your friendship. HUGS! xo

  • They don’t fool anyone with their character defect and it truly is a huge defect. Let’s be real and call it what it is jealousy and a weak personality or perhaps zero personality. In my day and age this stuff didn’t happen now a days it’s common. Many women I hate to say it but it needs to be said are straight up losers with no life no personality so they focus on you with hate. And the victims have a right to deal with it however they can, it’s disgusting behavior

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I don’t know what your day was, but I grew up in the 1970s and dealt with jealous girls in high school. I wrote a book about it and it’s available on Amazon and in Barnes & Noble stores: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261
      Even in the workplace during the 1980s, women were cruel. Last time I worked in an office, as an editorial assistant, you wouldn’t believe the stuff that came out of women’s mouths. But, oh, I gave it right back to them. I hate myself for stooping to their level and nowadays I’d handle it differently. It is disgusting behavior, and a weak character — I agree 100 percent. When women work on their personalities, that’s when they truly shine. Lift each other up, not put each other down.

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