If Bullying Happens To You
Sometimes teens do not know what to do when they are being bullied. Here we will provide you with specific actions to take to stop the bullying.
- Do not blame yourself! No one deserves to be bullied.
- Feeling sad, hurt, scared and confused happens to everyone who is bullied. Learning to control these initial reactions can help.
- Click here to learn about controlling emotions (DOC).
Here are some ways to stand up for yourself when you are being bullied:
Leave the situation.
Try to get safely away from the situation.
- Run or walk, whatever is the easiest. Try to do this before things escalate.
- Imagine you are walking away from a friend. This is a way to make sure your body language does not give away a sense of fear.
Responding to the bully.
If you decide to respond to the bully, it might be best to try to do this when others are not around. This will keep the bully from feeling embarrassed and will keep everyone calm.
- Before you respond:
- Take the time to figure out what to say to the bully. Strategizing about what to say will help keep you from over reacting and will help prepare you for the next time it happens. It can also build your confidence. Use our Action Plan to help come up with ideas for what to say and do.
- Be assertive and confident. Being assertive and confident can stop the bullying from happening again by showing the bully you are not an easy target.
- Keep a calm steady voice.
- Keep good eye contact.
- Keep your hands to your side
- Say what you think and feel in a confident way.
- Ways to respond:
- Use fogging. Fogging is useful when you are being verbally bullied. Fogging is when you use neutral or agreeing statements to respond to the bully. This allows you to respond without escalating the situation, and the bully may become bored because you are not reacting the way they want you to.
- Neutral responses might sound like:
- "Who cares?"
- "That's your opinion."
- Agreeing statements might sound like:
- I like this shirt. I'm sorry you don't."
- "Yes you are right. I like to wear black clothing."
- "Yes you are right. I do wear glasses."
- Use a comeback line. The idea of a comeback line is to stump the bully and make them think twice about what they are doing. It is not meant to anger the bully! Before you decide to use a comeback line, read our tips so you know how to use them correctly without making the situation worse.
- "Whatever you say."
- "Nothing better to do?"
Here Rachel, the victim, shows several possible ways to deal with being verbally bullied.
Think you know?
The following questions are to help you better understand what to do if you are being verbally bullied. Work by yourself or with a friend to come up with answers on your own before looking at our answers.
Questions about the video:
Do you think being prepared helped Rachel? Why?
Being prepared can:
- Help you stay calm and assertive rather than aggressive and argumentative.
- Give you the confidence you need to stand up to the bully.
- Keep you from being caught off guard if the bully responds in an aggressive way. You will be ready to stand up for yourself.
Do you think Rachel's responses to Kelly were aggressive or assertive? What are the differences between these two types of responses?
- There is a big difference between aggressive and assertive responses:
- Aggressive responses are shouting, fighting, arguing, blaming. Aggressive responses are meant to make the person feel bad, are uncontrolled and are usually mean.
- Assertive responses are saying what you think, feel and want in a calm and confident way while respecting the other person. No put downs, keep a calm clear voice, be confident.
Can you come up with some aggressive responses Rachel could have used? How would you reword the aggressive responses into assertive ones?
- Rachel could have yelled at Kelly and told her to "Shut up!"
- Rewording it: Rachel should have told Kelly she didn't appreciate the comments and asked her to stop.
Do you think responding to verbal bullying the way Rachel did changed how others look at her? Why?
People who are assertive:
- Are confident and sure of what they are saying. This will attract other students to you in a positive way.
- Make friends more easily because they say what they think and feel in a way that is respectful to others.
- When Rachel responds to Kelly in an assertive, but still respectful, way she will gain respect in return.
Other things to think about:
What are some of the things Rachel said that you like and feel comfortable saying?
Why is it best to talk to a bully, like Kelly, away from others?
An audience is important to the bully because she wants others to see what she is doing so she can have power over the victim.
- Talking to the bully away from others can help keep the bully calm and keep them from feeling embarrassed.
- Give you the confidence you need to stand up to the bully.
- This will also help keep you calm and give you the confidence to tell the bully how you feel.
Here are some things you can do after you have been bullied.
Talk to a friend.
Being bullied can be embarrassing but telling a trusted friend about what is going on will help relieve some of the stress. They may have had the same problem and can understand what you are going through.
- You can tell your friend you just need someone to talk to.
- Ask them for advice or help to come up with ideas to stop the bullying.
- Ask them to help you tell an adult.
Tell an adult.
If you feel threatened or unsafe, always tell an adult.
- Tell anyone you feel comfortable talking to:
- School staff
- Community leader
- School nurse
- Before you tell an adult the details of what happened, tell them what you want from the conversation such as you want help problem solving, or you just want someone to listen. This will help the conversation go better.
- If you feel nervous or are not sure what to say, write it down or ask a friend to go with you.
Click here to learn how to talk to an adult about bullying.
Remember it's not tattling if…click here to learn the difference between tattling and telling (DOC).
Let's take a look at what happens next in Bring It Together →