catty women

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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:

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:

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: