After our awesome talk with bullying expert Rosalind Wiseman a couple of weeks ago, we came up with an action guide on how to handle bullying, whether you’re the victim or a bystander.
Follow the Golden Rule. Sometimes the best way to avoid becoming the target of bullying is to treat people the way you want to be treated. If you’re genuinely nice and respectful to others, most people won’t target you as someone to demean by bullying.
Trust your instincts. Not all bullying takes the explicit form of name-calling on Facebook or locker-stuffing in school. Rosalind reminded us that abuse of power is inevitable, so if you sense someone speaking down to you, manipulating you or embarrassing you, you’re probably being bullied.
Set clear personal boundaries. When you sense the bullying happening (to you or to someone else) make it clear immediately that it’s not cool. We know this step feels especially hard because it can sometimes sound whiney, overly-sensitive or like you’re tattling. But your instincts have told you that someone’s acting like a jerk so it’s now up to you to shut down the bad behavior by calling it out.
Tell the right person. Rosalind made the point that not every adult is going to respond to a bully in the best way. Be smart about which adult or person of authority you tell about the bullying. Who will understand the complexities of the situation? Who can you trust? (Think: parent, guidance counselor, teacher, etc.)
Be confident. You were right to stand up for yourself or someone else. You handled yourself with control and made it clear to the bully that he or she only holds as much power as everyone around allows. You just took the wind out of some bad sails and for that, you made a difference.