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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Friends and Foes... Beat the Bullies.


We know that bullying is a complex issue and there are many different kinds, as I’ve mentioned. Below I’ll try and give some advice on how to deal with various bully stereotypes out there. I know each case is different, and if you are being bullied and don’t find these useful, you can always email me at catherineann.mk@gmail.com. I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I will try and help, or see if I can find someone who knows what you’re going through and report back!

CYBERBULLYIING
With this kind, at least there’s evidence to show what’s going on. If you’re getting nasty messages on your computer or phone, show your parents or another adult right away. Even if you think it’s nothing, they’ll see it and understand what you’re talking about. Always block nasty texters, facebookers or tweeters right away, and don’t reply because a) it’s not classy, and b) there will be evidence of that, too.

PHYSICAL BULLYING
I will never, ever condone hitting back, but you do have to let the bully know you won’t stand for it. The very first time you are hurt in any way, tell them that it’s not on. We all know how quickly a little shove can turn into someone being badly beaten up. Try talking to the bully, as it’s likely they’re using violence  because they don't know how else to communicate. As with all kinds of bullying, demand that teachers or other adults take it seriously. Obviously with physical bullying it’s best avoiding the bully... I know that’s easier said than done but try ensuring you’re with a group of people. If you have to be with them alone, try faking a bit of confidence. Walk tall, look like you know exactly where you’re going even if you don’t. Violent bullies prey on the weak.

INVISIBLE BULLYING
This is a form of bullying where people manage to make you feel bad in a subtle way that those around you might not notice. They can make seemingly harmless comments, maybe a joke or two, that leave the subject feeling absolutely distraught. Often victims don’t know how to deal with this: “Maybe I’m taking it the wrong way...” “Maybe he/she doesn't mean it...” You’re right. Maybe they don’t. But if you’re being made to feel bad, you shouldn’t let it carry on. Start by telling the bully how you feel. Tell them their comment hurt, but that you appreciate they might not have meant it to. If they didn’t mean it, it’s likely they’ll feel bad, apologise and stop. If they did mean it, you need to let them know they can’t get away with it. Each time they make a hurtful remark, tell them straight away how it made you feel. Hopefully, this will be nipped in the bud quickly. If you don’t stop it as soon as it starts, the bully will gain the upper hand and be in a position of power. If you’re in it pretty deep at the moment, let your friends and family know how you feel and try to spend as little time with the bully as possible.

EXCLUSION
Are you feeling excluded from your group? Hopefully it’s unintentional. If so, talk to them about it and tell them you’d like to be included more. If you want to be more subtle about it, organise a day with just one or two people to remind them how fun and interesting you are. If you feel like people are leaving you out on purpose, then it looks like you could find some better friends. I've done a few posts on making new friends if you fancy trawling through my archives. You can’t make yourself fit into a group, but if some members are really nice to you, organise time with them to talk about how you’re feeling. If you look around your class/group right now, I’m sure you’ll find one nice person who’ll want to be friends with you. You just have to look properly. 

GOSSIP
It’s all very well to say that you don’t care what people say about you, but there comes a point when we all do care. Very much. Don’t add fuel to the fire. Just make sure those you care about know that whatever it is isn’t true or better still, don’t give anyone a reason to gossip about you. Make sure you share things with people you trust. Try to let it go if there is something being said about you... it’s likely half the community won’t believe it, half won’t care, and some like me won’t even have noticed what day of the week it is.

GANGING UP
Even when it’s nothing important, nobody likes to be “ganged up” on. It might be a minor disagreement between two friends, but when six people all disagree with you at once... Some people might find it quite hurtful. Try and see things from both sides and always check to see how people cope with something. That annoying person in class: they’re probably like that for a reason. Maybe they want to impress people to make friends. Whatever their motivation, imagine if twenty-five people all told you that you were an idiot. Nobody deserves that. When someone makes a mistake in class and it’s funny, I personally always check to see if they’re laughing before joining in. Remember everyone is unique and deals with things in different ways. If you feel you’re being ganged up on, try to calmly explain your point of view. Spend time with smaller groups of people so they can get to know you and hopefully you’ll make some solid friends. Recognise, however, that the group probably don’t mean any harm. Again, easier said than done, but don’t take it too personally.

Finally, and this can go for everything, try and remain calm. There’s nothing that spurs a bully on more than the victim getting hysterical or upset. Let them know how you feel, but be reasonable. Don’t shout and scream and swear. You may not feel like it right now, but you’re better than that.

I hope some of you have found this useful. Or perhaps you read it and thought “she hasn’t got a clue what she’s talking about!” or “how on earth does she expect that to work?”. I bet some of you did. If so, please comment below, as other people might he having a problem. Alternatively, as I said, send me an email. Hopefully things will work out soon. I know they will eventually.

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