We all have run into a bully at some point in our lives. Whether a child or an adult, a bully will harass and invade your space when you least expect them to. Just when you think you are safe where they won’t bother you, here they come. It seems the bully is everywhere! And if he isn’t in your presence, you carry him around in your thoughts.
The most common advice people like to give someone who is bullied is to “ignore them.” Well, you are ignoring them. You take a different route to school, you change your routines and perhaps change your classes to “ignore” this person that won’t leave you alone.
This advice of ignoring is given without forethought or consideration of the situation. Unless it is happening to them, people do not stop to consider what they would do if they were bullied. – Or stalked. Stalking is the adult form of bullying.
For the purposes of this blog, we will keep to the subject of bullying, but bear in mind that the bully graduates from high school, and goes on to be the bully at work and at home. Also, for the purposes of this blog, I will use “he” as the pronoun to describe a bully, but also bear in mind that girls and women are terribly mean and use words, rather than actions, to cut deep.
If there were a cut and dried formula to deal with difficult people, there would not be difficult people. Compassion helps to understand why they bully. They are scared, abused, and come from a difficult home. But should that be your problem? Is a rotten home a valid reason to pick on other people?
In today’s world, you must be very careful who you pick as friends. There is so much chaos, and so many people, that the world is a mad house. Did I just state the obvious? Yes, a mad house. People are angry at the world, themselves and the ones they love. Anger quickly turns into hate if it is not reined in. True, there are many justifiable things to be angry about these days. A saint might brush off everyone’s meanness and forgive them all, but we are humans, and must take precautions to survive in this world.
One is to very carefully chose who you hang out with.
At first, the tips below might seem to be a dangerous way to confront a bully, but what you are doing is taking away his power and putting it in your hands. Like any predator, a bully will pick on the weak, so do not be weak. Put on a strong demeanor, show a confident face, and anyone with ill intentions will leave you alone – and likely will grow to respect you.
Here is how you gain respect and beat your bully without a fight.
There is no need to exchange insults. Be polite. Remember, you are in control. Stay cool.
1. Walk away and refuse to fight.
A bully expects you to respond to his taunts. He wants to rile you up so he can embarrass you. If you are not in his vicinity, there is no one to embarrass. Using good posture in walking away is paramount. Head up, shoulders back, looking straight ahead. No fear in your eye. If you slouch away, with your shoulders hunched, holding your arms close to your chest, head and eyes downcast – what message are you sending then? Bullies don’t mess with confident people
2. Treat the bully as a friend instead of an enemy.
“Hey, buddy, how’s it going?” Invite him to an event and be friendly to him. Kill him with kindness. He will either come to like you, or he will go away and leave you alone.
3. Try to turn the altercation into a humorous situation, but be sure not to make fun of the bully.
Can you laugh at yourself without putting you down? A well-placed witticism will take him off guard, and might even get his friends to laugh. Try to lighten up the atmosphere. Be pleasant and positive.
4. Use trickery.
Tell the bully, for example, that you have a disease that prevents you from physical activity, or say that your father is on his way to pick you up. Using the mom-excuse is the best way to get out of any situation. “If I’m not home in 10 minutes, my mom will kill me.” “My mom said I had to come straight home.” If your bully pokes fun because you listen to your mommy, remember, he may not have a mom to go home to. He could be jealous. What better way to hide the pain than to act like the baddest guy in town?
5. Agree with the bully, even if it means you must listen to his insults.
“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Unless you let them. You chose to take their words seriously.
Stand up to the bully by using words and/or body language that says “No!” to fighting.
A powerful shout can quickly end a potential fight before it begins. So can a loud scream for help.
7. Reason with the bully.
Use the most powerful muscle you have – your brain.
I would be remiss in my duty and misleading you if I said you will have one-hundred-percent success in using these tactics. It takes practice to thwart the people that bother you, so do not become discouraged and think you will never get your point across.
Appeasing difficult people is a skill. When we first learn any skill, we are sloppy and make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes and you will do better next time. At first, practice assertiveness with nonthreatening people. Once you become comfortable with dealing with the easy irritants, your confidence will grow, and one day, you will find yourself standing up to people that do not see things your way.
Pickett, C.W. (2019) Beat a Bully Without a Fight. Advice for parents. Mu Shin Press. USA.