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Relational Bullying Guide

Use the above links to explore the relational bullying guide.

Lesson Plan:
Relational Bullying Lesson Plan (DOC)

Teacher Manual (PDF)
Parent Manual (PDF)


Recongnize Bullying

To stop bullying, you have to know what it looks like.

Relational bullying is a different way of bullying than the other types of bullying because the actions are usually quiet and hidden from others and happens between friends.

Relational bullying can be:

Exclusion: When someone is left out of activities by their own friends and other social circles as well.

Here is an example of relational bullying involving exclusion. Watch as Becca and Jen purposefully exclude Molly.


Gossip and Rumors: Information, stories, or details about a person that are spread around behind their back.

Here is an example of relational bullying showing how a rumor is started and quickly spreads about Mary.

Relational bullying can also be:

Think you know?

The following questions are to help you better understand relational bullying. Work by yourself or with a friend and try to come up with your own answers before looking at our answers.

Questions about the video:

Molly, Becca and Jen:

Why do Becca and Jen exclude Molly instead of directly asking her if she was talking about them?

  • Girls usually prefer to avoid conflict. So it can be hard to confront someone if you are mad at them.
  • To Becca and Jen, it is easier and meaner to exclude Molly than to ask her if she was talking about them.
  • Because they are mad, they want Molly to feel bad so they are “punishing” her for the perceived friendship violation.

What could Becca and Jen have done instead of excluding Molly?

  • They could directly ask her if she was talking about them
  • If they didn’t feel comfortable talking to her, one of them could have written Molly a note or sent her a text message asking her.
  • They could have considered other reasons why Molly was laughing and looking over at them instead of jumping to the assumption that she was talking about them.
  • They could have decided not to get upset in the first place and dropped it. They know Molly better than that and she wouldn’t talk about them in a mean way.

Why is excluding someone considered bullying?

  • This is bullying because the intention was to make Molly feel bad, confused and upset.
  • Excluding her sends the message that they don’t want to be around her anymore and that they are mad at her.

Mary and Taylor:

Can you see how easily a rumor can start, even though Mary’s friends were not trying to start a rumor?

Do you think Taylor meant to start the rumor? Why or why not?

  • Yes, Taylor meant to start the rumor.
  • People like to hear rumors and gossip because it can be entertaining. They are not usually thinking about the consequences.
  • Knowing the most recent gossip can be used to a girl’s advantage because other girls can be attracted to hearing what she “knows”.
  • To ensure they know the most recent gossip, girls will sometimes start rumors on their own, just as Taylor did.

Why is passing a rumor considered bullying?

  • If the rumor is negative, false, or derogatory towards someone then passing the rumor on is considered bullying.
  • Every time a rumor is passed, it hurts the victim over and over again.

Other things to think about

Can you think of some other ways girls use relational bullying?

  • Making sarcastic comments
  • Ignoring
  • Spreading rumors
  • Excluding
  • Making “mean” facial expressions
  • Talking to someone in a cold or hostile tone of voice
  • Teasing, Eye rolling, Taunting
  • Withdrawing friendship or threatening to withdraw a friendship out of anger
  • Accusing the victim of trying to be better than everyone else
  • Questioning the victim’s actions or decisions
  • Revealing secrets
  • Writing mean notes or slam books

Have you see these types of things happening? Did you recognize it as bullying? Why or why not?

Let's take a look at what happens next in After The Bullying →