A new study from the University of Georgia (UGA) reveals that when it comes to being mean to your peers, it’s not girls who rule the school, but boys.

It has long been speculated by social researchers that boys are more physically aggressive while girls are more relationally aggressive. To put that in middle school terms: boys are more likely to shove you into a locker, while girls are more apt to spread a rumor that you didn’t wear deodorant to gym class. Relationally-aggressive behavior is the stuff that Mean Girls is made of —malicious rumors, social exclusion and rejection— and it turns out that boys are pretty good at it too.

In fact, as researchers followed a group of boys and girls from middle school to high school, they found that, at every grade level, boys engaged in so-called relationally aggressive behavior more often than girls. The boys were also more physically aggressive than the girls, which leads to an interesting side note: the study seems to have scientifically proven what many have known to be true— middle school ain’t fun. The UGA study shows that the highest levels of physical and relational aggression are present in students from 6th through 8th grade, with all levels of aggression declining throughout high school before reaching a low during senior year. In short, aggressive behavior is at its worst in middle school, but it gets better.