OFFSTAGE: Taylor Swift’s Back-to-School Advice on Bullying

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

I don’t think Taylor Swift meant to give advice on dealing with bullies. But since her Saturday (Aug. 10) concert in Chicago was so close to back-to-school week and Soldier Field was full of around 50,000 school-aged kids, I hope her fans were listening very closely when she introduced her song, “Mean.” And if not, you can read it here and share it with anyone you know who might be dealing with a bully in their life.

“I thought that when you grew up, when you weren’t in school anymore, you wouldn’t have to deal with bullies anymore,” she said. “I guess I thought that meanness was something that we outgrow. Well, when I grew up, I realized that meanness is part of the human condition. And it’s part of something you’re gonna have to deal with the rest of your lives. No matter where you live or what you do, there’s always gonna be someone being mean to you — someone who says something about you that’s not true or talks behind your back or doesn’t invite you to something you really wanted to be invited to. And I think one thing that I’ve learned when I realized that is that it’s not so much about wishing away mean people — because they tend to be the kind of people you can’t change — so I think it’s better to focus on what you can change. Which is how you react to it. And if you can, possibly make a mental note that you’ll never ever make someone else feel the way they make you feel.”