A “bully” is no more a monster than your mom is a racehorse. Funny to think about it in those terms, but it’s true! A bully could be someone you know and can be as close to you as your best friend. So, yeah, it can be hard to walk around and pick out the bullies.
We think of the typical stereotype as being a large person, usually male, who uses bad grammar and has an ugly grin. This is just not so! Anyone who purposefully uses aggressive behavior to belittle you or make you uncomfortable is a bully. This behavior, which could be repeated over time, can be in the form of physical contact, using words to taunt and hurt or even using more subtle actions.
A bully is that cheerleader that announces you are worthless because you can’t pronounce that French word with the correct accent. A bully is that quiet guy in science class that laughs at your backpack and points it out to his friends. A bully is that little toddler down the street that comes to play with your little brother, but punches him every time your brother won’t share the green crayon.
You can figure those out, certainly. But what about the subtle jabs? Gossip that comes to your attention about your supposed crush on a boy in the other class. Someone wrote a slang word on your notebook while you went to the restroom. Or how about when an unflattering picture was posted to a popular social media site without your permission. Who is bullying you? Who is belittling you and making you uncomfortable?
This can be hard to figure out. Did you know, being someone who watches bullying happening, and not doing something about it, is just as bad as doing the bullying yourself? Yes. This is true. We all have an obligation to stop bullying. Please be one that helps instead of the one that turns your head in the opposite direction.
You might be asking yourself, ‘what can I do’? Learn the signs and know whom to tell. It isn’t “tattling” if someone is being hurt physically or mentally.
Remember that aggressive behavior that makes someone feel uncomfortable on purpose is bullying. Oh, and don’t fight the bully back. That can be seen as aggressive behavior on your part. It is best to get an adult involved.
Tell a parent, guardian, or school administrator. Even your school counselors can help. If your being bullied on social media, tell a parent and have them make an online report, or contact the social media company to report the bullying.