I updated this post on 31/08/2017 as part of my #throwback series – it was originally posted on 29/09/2016.
Bullying (unfortunately) can sometimes be such a huge part of school life. It can effect your mental health, confidence, school work and friendships. I was bullied at school (and even university), both verbally and via social media so I thought I’d share my experience and give some advice to anyone going through the same thing.
1. Never lower to the bully’s level. By bullying them back or bullying other people to make yourself feel better, you’re becoming part of the problem. You can be better than that. You know how much it hurts to be bullied, I’m sure you don’t want to inflict that on anyone else.
2. Don’t give them a reaction. If you show that you’re upset or angry at what they are saying, it’ll spur them on. The only thing bullies want is some sort of reaction, especially if they’re bullying you for the fun of it, or to show off in front of people.
3. Tell them. They might not even realise they’re bullying you and may just think it’s a bit of ‘banter’, especially if it’s someone in your friendship group. If that’s the case, you could ask a friend to quietly let them know they’re being a bit rude to you or you could sit them down yourself if you’re confident enough and let them know how it’s making you feel.
4. Try not to take it personally, even though the bully is probably being quite personal. They might not believe the things they’re saying and it’s almost certainly not true. It’s all for effect and what they’re saying may just be a defense mechanism for things happening in their lives. You’re amazing and don’t believe the lies about yourself. Stay confident!
5. If the bullies are harassing you on social media, block them immediately. Don’t stick around for an argument (I know it’s tempting to defend yourself) because it’ll just make you feel worse – the bully will always find something to tease you about no matter what you say and if you get angry, it may make things worse. Stay off the social media for a while if it’s getting you anxious and definitely avoid sites where you can receive anonymous questions or comments.
6. If you’re good at comebacks, use them, but only if you’re REALLY good. If you’re not 100% perfect at mastering the art of the comeback, don’t try it because you’ll end up embarrassing yourself and possibly making things worse, but a witty comeback may make a bully stop what they’re doing.
7. Lastly and most importantly, find someone to talk to. Whether it’s a family member, teacher or friend, you should always tell someone if you’re being bullied, ESPECIALLY if it’s physical. You can also tell the police if you are assaulted in any way. Keep a log of everything that happens so you have a written timeline to show someone.
My experience with bullies was never physical, thankfully. But words hurt as much as punches sometimes and I did suffer considerably because of it. I was never a well-liked person at school; I wasn’t thin and beautiful like the popular girls and didn’t have the latest styles or long straight hair or even the cool school trousers. I was clever and worked hard at school and was generally seen as a bit weird, so I often got called names. When I was in year ten (age fifteen) I got a boyfriend (somehow) and was the subject of gossip and rumours, with my nude photos – I hadn’t taken any – being spread around the school and my presumed sexual activities being talked about in whispers in every corridor. When we broke up a year later, the rumours increased and the ex-boyfriend turned everyone against me so I was alone.
I have a separate post about why I dropped out of university (partly due to bullying), which I will be updating and reposting later in the month, but I hope I helped even just one person with this post.