I wasn’t bullied in high school. There were a few people I didn’t like, but I wasn’t really afraid of anyone. I didn’t have trouble with bullies, and I think it was because I could stand up to them. I didn’t stand up to them by assuming a dominant posture or lifting weights (although I did lift some for football).
But the bullies didn’t even know I was standing up to them. Heck, I realize now I stood up to the bullies without even me knowing it!
If you have a bullying problem, then these tips may help you. If you’re being specifically threatened or harassed, tell your parents, a teacher, or someone with the power to stop it. For the average bully, these tips will help out a lot.
Tip One: Don’t React
In junior high, a few of the bullies tried to make fun of me. I think my response was to look out the window or walk away. They tried hard to get me to react, but I genuinely didn’t care. On the other hand, another boy they tried their techniques on would cry. Those bullies never bugged me again, while they relentlessly teased the crying boy.
Not reacting is insanely hard at times. I am naturally more laid back, so it came a little easier. However, realize that for some bullies, their goal is truly to get a reaction. If you don’t react, they’ll move on to someone who will.
This skill is called emotion regulation, the ability to be in control of your emotions. It is a skill that can be learned and practiced. The less you react, the easier it becomes.
So, the best advice is to not actually care if they bug you. Ignore them, crack a joke, or check your text messages. If you still care, then pretend you don’t.
Tip Two: Use Humor
Humor is great at making almost any situation more bearable. A well-timed joke or wisecrack can relieve even the most tense circumstances. The same is true of a bullying situation. If you can be funny and get the bully to laugh in some way, then you’re likely on the way to stopping the bullying.
Being funny is good insurance against bullying too. For some reason, both as a teen and teacher, I’ve noticed that the class clowns were rarely bullied. Perhaps it’s their ability to laugh off the bugging. I loved dealing with the dumb jerks in high school because I’d often crack a joke and they wouldn’t even get it.
Tip Three: Cut the Drama
A lot of bullied teens, especially girls, are overly dramatic. This isn’t to say they deserved the bullying. No one does! Still, a lot of these ladies and gentlemen were happy to spread rumors, start trouble, and then, when they ticked off the wrong person, suddenly became victims of bullying.
In high school I had no stomach for drama. I didn’t care who dated whom, who quit talking to which person, and how so-and-so was a backstabber. I don’t care about that stuff now, either, to be honest. Because I stayed away from the drama, a lot of the drama stayed away from me.
If you’re constantly being bullied, you have to ask if maybe you’re involving yourself in areas that don’t really concern you. If the answer is yes, then try to mind your own business a little more. A lot of the mean girls and bullies will be less likely to pick on you.
These tips won’t make you completely bully proof, but they are anti-bullying tips that you can start using now to help you stand up to bullies…without them even knowing it!