All about bullies

Anyone can be bullied and it can happen in many different environments. People are often bullied because of a perceived difference and there are many ways that someone can be bullied:

Verbal - such as name calling, threats or teasing.
Physical - being punched, tripped, kicked or having your stuff stolen or damaged.
Social - being left out, ignored or having rumours spread about you.
Psychological – getting dirty looks, feeling intimidated or manipulated.

Being bullied can lower your self-esteem and make you feel sad, alone, depressed, scared, angry or confused.

Who are bullies and why do they do it?

A bully can be an individual or a group of people. It can either be someone your own age or older and can include your friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, sister or an extended family member. A bully can also be an older person, or someone in a position of power such as a teacher, parent or boss.

Often a bully will have a low self-esteem and use bullying as a way of making themselves feel more powerful. Bullies can also be motivated by jealousy, misunderstanding or fear. Remember - bullies are often not as tough as they make out.

5 things you need to know about bullies

  • Bullies need to make you feel small so they feel better about themselves.
  • Bullies are afraid of anyone that's different to them.
  • Bullies are anxious about criticism so they tend to criticise first.
  • Bullies are insecure...even if they don't seem it.
  • Bullies set their own rules to suit themselves and just expect everyone to fit in.

5 tips to use when dealing with bullies

  • Being nice to them may throw them off their bullying game. Using humour may also throw a bully off track.
  • Telling a bully to leave you alone might get them off your back.
  • Bullies can be pretty scary, so picturing them in your head looking silly may make you feel more confident to deal with them.
  • Saying positive thoughts in your head, such as “I know I’m better than that”, can help you respond to whatever the bully is doing.
  • See if you can say hi every morning to 5 people in your class. That way you’ll know that there are friendly people out there.
  • If you build an invisible wall around you in your mind, then any verbal abuse will just bounces of that wall.

5 things you need to remember when faced with a bully

  • You don't need their approval to feel good about yourself.
  • You can listen to their opinion but that doesn't mean you'll agree with them.
  • It’s better to be by yourself than with people who are unkind.
  • You don't have to believe or do what they say, just because they say so.
  • You'll find people to be with who like you for who you really are.
  • Sticking up for yourself is a good idea – but warning – don’t resort to violence or badmouthing or you are as bad as the bully, and bullies are not fun to be around.Be assertive not aggressive.

What do I do if I’m being bullied?

If you are being bullied and feeling sad, alone or scared its important to remember that this is the result of someone else’s behaviour, attitude or beliefs – and not your own.

Dealing with these feelings can be hard. You might try and work it out by yourself however, if the bullying doesn't stop, don’t be afraid to ask someone else for advice.Talking to someone is particularly important if you feel unsafe or frightened or if you don't have many friends.

There are many people who might be able to help, including friends, older brothers and sisters, teachers, family, counsellors or parents.

Need to talk to someone anonymously? Check out our help and advice page.