How do you overcome bullying by talking to the person bullying you?

Trust us, we know it may seem counter-intuitive to speak to somebody who is making your life a misery, but we have found that it can be a hugely successful strategy for resolving any issues with bullying and breakdowns in communication.

More often than not, somebody may not fully understand that what they are doing is genuinely having an impact on those around them and as such, talking can be the ultimate antidote.

Why do people bully? Top 4 reasons

Some of the most common reasons why people bully others include:

  • It’s used as a coping mechanism and response to something stressful going on in their lives
  • Because they are insecure and are trying to detract away from themselves by focusing on somebody else
  • They may be feeling jealous – instead of understanding this, they have become abusive
  • Because they are worried they won’t be accepted by their peers if they don’t do it

The reason you are being bullied is never because of something to do with you. Although they will often choose something about you and target that. It could be how you look, your skin colour, sexuality or a disability – the list is endless. Please try to remember that you have done nothing wrong and there is nothing you need to change.

We hope that this advice will help you to resolve your own issues; you’re almost guaranteed to resolve most conflicts and relationship breakdowns with the following steps, so even if you’re not being bullied – they are good life tips anyway.

What to say to somebody who is bullying you – 10 golden rules

1. Understand

The thing to remember about bullying is the fact that the people who are doing it are often incredibly vulnerable and it’s usually a cry for help to highlight that there is a bigger issue. It is therefore important to try and compassionately understand their reasoning and headspace.

Most of the time, it will be impossible to know without asking, what exactly is going on. There could be issues at home, or perhaps they are struggling with their own identity and confidence. They may not even tell you what the issue is, and that’s okay. Just know that people who are perfectly happy and confident will never go out of their way to bully somebody.

2. Evaluate

Sometimes it may be unsafe to speak to somebody who is bullying you, particularly if you feel it will put you or somebody else in immediate risk of harm. In this case, rule 3 is where it’s at. If you feel safe speaking to them, skip through to rule 4.

3. Mediate

Especially when the situation is more serious, it may be better to use a mediator. This is essentially when a third person (usually an adult, but not always) will facilitate a conversation between the person being bullied and the person doing the bullying to ensure that everything is managed properly and safely. Mediators are trained to ensure that both sides get to speak and will work to ensure that the issue is resolved. Mediators are available through some schools and colleges and in more serious cases, where a crime is involved, the police.

4. One-to-one

It’s always better to speak to somebody alone. Particularly if there is a ringleader in a group of people who seems to be leading the bullying. Often they will be doing it for positive reinforcement from their mates because they feel like their relationships are based on the condition that they behave in a certain way, so if you eliminate the rest of the group, you will have a very different dynamic.

5. Do it somewhere neutral

We know it may seem scary, but trust us, they will feel scared too. This is why it’s important that the conversation happens in a neutral space. I.e. somewhere where neither of you is attached, such as a public park or Starbucks. Plus, if there are other people around, it will likely make you feel safer and it will help you with rules 6 and 7…

6. Don’t shout. Ever

You’re angry and emotional, we get it, but it’s likely that they are also hurting, too. No issue is ever resolved through arguing. We each have our own individual ego and we like to think that we are always right, therefore it is only natural to defend yourself when somebody threatens your ego. If somebody is up in your face and aggressive, your natural instinct will usually be to defend yourself by shouting louder to get your point across. It doesn’t ever work. If you feel your anger levels increasing, take some time out and deep breaths. It might sound cliché but it does work.

Understand that it is normal to get angry and to want to shout, but right now it isn’t going to benefit you.

7. Don’t retaliate to shouting

This goes hand-in-hand with rule 6. It is possible that the other person will start shouting. If they do, stop talking and let them shout whatever they want to. Once they have finished, talk normally and calmly (we know how challenging this will be, but trust us). It will come as a shock because they will be expecting you to shout back at them. They will gradually start to lower their voice and you will maintain complete control over the situation.

8. Make it equal

For this to really work, both parties need to be equally involved in it. It will never work out in your favour if you lecture them on how you feel and how their behaviour is upsetting you. There’s a much better chance of resolving things if you encourage two-way conversation. Ask them how they are and ask if you have ever done anything to upset them. Listen to them as much as you talk to them, because, ultimately we all like to feel heard. This also branches out to the power balance which should always be equal. It isn’t about you telling them off and it isn’t about them intimidating you into submission.

Stand your ground when necessary, but also be prepared to step down when you have good reason to. The fact of the matter is, nobody, not even your parents/guardians (as much as they like to believe) are right 100% of the time. We all make mistakes and that’s okay.

9. Build an agenda

This will help you with rules 6-8 and it’s really easy to do. Whenever we have a meeting at Ditch the Label, we will usually write up an agenda of the things we want to talk about before we go into that meeting. This helps guide the meeting in the right direction and also means that we very rarely forget things that we were meant to talk about.

10. What is the end goal?

Are you doing it because you want an argument and want to alleviate stress, or are you doing it because you want to resolve the situation? Because they are very different things. You will, unfortunately, have to agree to disagree on things. It may even turn out that they have been annoyed at something you have done in the past but you think they are overreacting. That’s okay. If you want to add fuel to the fire and make things worse, argue it out and battle egos – but honestly, it won’t do you any justice.

Sometimes it is easier to sit back, listen and apologise for anything that you have done which may have upset them. It’s a good idea to start the conversation with something like “Thanks for meeting me today. I wanted to talk to you alone because I feel like there is a lot of tension between us and I would really love it if we could hopefully overcome any tensions together. Is that okay?”.

Never lose track of the end goal, even when things get heated. It may also be an idea to not accuse them of bullying you, instead tell them how their behaviour is having an impact on you. We all have a different definition of bullying and what it means to bully somebody and it’s likely they will become defensive if you start to call them a bully. Plus, nobody is ever a bully, it’s just a behaviour which can and does change.

In Summary

We know that it can be really scary when talking to somebody who is making your life a living hell, but the only thing worse is ignoring it and allowing yourself to feel so bad over a long period of time.

We use these rules in our own lives and can honestly say that at the end of the conversations, we usually come out feeling really positive and great. It’s a huge weight off your shoulders and you will always be surprised at what you will learn about the other person – you may have more in common than you may think.

If you’re being bullied and need to talk – join our community and speak with a digital mentor or other members of the community – together we can and will help you!

Exam season is right around the corner, which probably means that the notorious exam stress should be setting in right about… now? You just sat your mocks and didn’t do quite as well as you’d hoped? Or you got better than expected but still want to top it?

Well, here are some Do’s and Don’ts to help you stay cool, calm and educated…

Things to Do:

Plan.

Planning is key to good revision. When left to our own devices we sometimes struggle to find the motivation to get off Netflix and actually do some work –  (speaking from experience here!) So, just like you have at school or college, draw out a timetable of allocated time slots to spend on each subject and stick to it!

Take regular breaks… and naps! 😴

You deserve it…. Our brains don’t work well when we’re tired, and revising can be exhausting. Don’t trudge through it, make sure you take a break every hour for 10 minutes, have a snack or something but don’t get distracted, be disciplined! Power napping is proven to increase productivity, give it a try! Yeah that’s right, we just told you to nap more. Go on, do it.

Eat breakfast.

We don’t perform well when we’re hungry, so no matter how nervous you are, eat a balanced breakfast. Eggs are a good choice and anything with Omega 3 to get your brain juices flowing. Avoid sugary foods like chocolate, this will give you a sudden burst of energy but cause you to crash during the exam!

Eat Lunch. 😍

If your exam is in the afternoon, make sure you eat a decent balanced lunch before that too! Hunger does not mix well with exams, there’s nothing worse than a grumbling stomach in the middle of a silent exam hall!!

Get creative.

Make your own revision materials. Instead of just trying to memorise boring notes, try making flash cards or mind maps… you could even write a song. How come we can sing the entire T-Swift album word-for-word but can’t remember the presidents of the United States for a history exam? Get singing… trust us it works, your song will be so ridiculous you’ll never forget it 😉.

Organise your workspace.

Where you work is important, if you’re in a stressful environment, it is inevitable that the stress will rub off on you. Find somewhere light and calm where you can spread out and get organised.

Remember that everyone learns differently.

We all have a friend who has finished the assignment as soon as it’s assigned and wants everyone to know about it, but not everyone works like that. Some people wait until the last minute and cram like craycray and that’s okay too. We all learn and work in different ways, so find your way and own it.

Don’t:

Put yourself under too much pressure 😱😱😱

…Freak out, stay up all night before the exam last minute revising, turn up late and full of sugar and energy drinks and spend the entire three-hour maths paper needing a pee, wishing you’d taken the advice of “Mr Smith” a long time ago… sound familiar? If you have left it to the last minute, don’t start panicking now. Have a look over the key points, eat a good meal and go to bed early. We perform better when we’re well rested.

Over revise.

Make sure you have a good balance between work and play. You should still be enjoying time with your mates at the weekend, as well as getting in some study time. You don’t have to put your entire life on hold if you plan properly!

Be too hard on yourself.

Be the best you can be, that’s all you can do. If it doesn’t work out, remember that it’s not the end of the world. There are opportunities to resit exams and alternative options, ask your teachers!

Drink coffee or tea before an exam.

Trust us on this – we’ve been there, done that. Sitting for an hour in an exam hall bursting to pee isn’t our idea of a fun day out. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it comes out almost as quickly as it goes in. Have a bit of water and stay hydrated but don’t overdo it.

So there you have it. 9 ways to get through your exams without losing your mind. If you feel like you’re under pressure and struggling to deal with stress, read our related articles and join the community to talk to our amazing Digital Mentors who can help you through difficult times. Good luck, you got this! 😉

More:

Supporting Educators with a New Grant Scheme

At Ditch the Label, we are committed to supporting all initiatives that work hard to tackle the issue of bullying and to support young people navigate through the complexities of modern life. The Annual Bullying Survey is the largest annual benchmark of bullying behaviours and youth attitudes in the United Kingdom. Produced in partnership with schools and colleges from across the U.K., the survey informs the work that we do at Ditch the Label to combat bullying, but also empowers educators, non-profits and policy makers to create new initiatives both nationally and locally.

This year, with the support of The Rumi Foundation, we have awarded 20 grants to cover the cost of a tailored report for schools and colleges participating in The Annual Bullying Survey 2018. We were overwhelmed with applications and would like to thank everybody for their interest. We wanted to award a series of grants that we felt would make the largest and most meaningful impact to the most amount of young people and we feel that by working closely with the following grantees, we will make very real and demonstrable positive change across the United Kingdom.

Congratulations to all grantees. If your school or college was not chosen this year, please do not be disheartened and we encourage you to participate in The Annual Bullying Survey 2018 national report. This is the best possible way to bring us collectively closer to a world that is truly fair, equal and free from all types of bullying. Click here to find out more.

Grantees (in alphabetical order)

  • Bedford High School, North West
  • Bolton Muslim Girls School, North West
  • Bournemouth School, South West
  • Forest Gate Community School, London
  • Grays Convent, South East
  • Hayle Academy, South West
  • Hewett Academy, South East
  • Kirkby High School, North West
  • MPW Cambridge, East of England
  • Maricourt Catholic High School, North West
  • Marine Academy Plymouth, South West
  • Notre Dame Catholic College, North West
  • Oakgrove School, East of England
  • Riddlesdown Collegiate, London
  • Tavistock College, South West
  • The Beacon School, South East
  • The Hermitage Academy, North East
  • The Malling School, South East
  • The Misbourne, South East
  • Thomas Gainsborough School, East of England

All schools and colleges in the United Kingdom are encouraged to participate in The Annual Bullying Survey. By doing so, it enables a fair and accurate representation of the attitudes and behaviours of young people across the country. We would like to thank all participants for being proactive and young-person centred and look forward to working closely with you.

“Just IGNORE it”

…Ever offered this advice to someone who’s going through bullying? Most of us probably have in an attempt to be supportive. It makes sense, right? Why give those who bully a platform? Best to ignore and pretend you don’t hear the hurtful comments or the cruel notifications. Best to just get on with your own life and ‘take it on the chin’… 

Whether you’ve given or received this advice in the past, ignoring it doesn’t really make it go away. It doesn’t make a major difference and leads to us internalising what’s been thrown at us – Be it verbally, physically or digitally.

If it was a simple as ignoring it, bullying would already be a thing of the past. Here’s why this classic go-to piece of advice is better left unsaid and should be ignored (see what we did there?!):-

Feelings happen

Bullying is painful and hurtful, we all know that. We also all know that we cannot control other people’s behaviour and most of the time, that’s not a big deal. But in the face of bullying, that powerlessness sucks. Unless you are a robot, it’s pretty impossible to stop all the horrible feelings that come with being bullied. Feelings happen automatically, they aren’t logical or rational but no matter how sucky they are, we need to feel and express them.

 

Disengaging vs Ignoring

There is a very big difference between not engaging or responding to bullying and ignoring it. Here at Ditch, we are all for disengagement in instances of bullying, cyberbullying or trolling behaviour. Disengagement is recognizing that there is a problem and deciding not to participate is key in keeping yourself as protected as possible. Ignoring it, on the other hand, excludes you from getting the help you need to deal with it. By disengaging, you disarm the perpetrator. In turn, this means you can then go on to report the behaviour and deal with the emotions that come with it, in healthy ways. By ignoring it, you don’t have the opportunity to do any of those very important things.

 

Disempowering

The old classic “ignore it”, implies that bullying is easy to deal with – we all know that’s not true. What’s more, when our attempts at ignoring it inevitably fail to work, it leaves us feeling like we’ve failed to stand up for ourselves or to cope with the tough situation. Powerlessness is a real kicker when we’re already feeling at our lowest – the most empowering thing you can do is help yourself in a proactive and positive way.

 

Asking for help is trickier than you might think…

For some of us, asking for help is very easy and no big deal. For others, this is one of the biggest hurdles going. If your go-to coping mechanism is to ignore it, you need to work on your asking-for-help skills. Sometimes, it’s pride that stops us from accessing the help that we need; sometimes it’s fear of rejection or stigma. Whatever it is, remember that asking for help is actually a sign of strength, not weakness. The best thing you can do for yourself is to protect your welfare and self-esteem!

On the whole, life is going to bring its fair share of ups and downs to your doorstep and ignoring problems will only ever make it harder and more painful. Turns out, the happiest, healthiest people are amazing at asking for help, which really is no coincidence!

 

Share

What have you been ignoring lately? Got some good advice or in search of some useful tips yourself? Join the community – You can share your experiences and learn from like-minded people in a judgement-free zone!

It is no secret that the landscape of bullying continues to change, which is why we stress the importance of researching trends, attitudes and behaviours so that we can continue to innovate and develop world-class interventions and ways of tackling cyberbullying.

But, what do the stats say?

Latest statistics are taken from Ditch the Label’s Annual Bullying Survey 2017

Frequency

As were are increasingly living more and more of our lives online, cyberbullying is something which can affect anyone at any time:

  • 17% of those surveyed have experienced cyberbullying.
  • 29% of those surveyed reported experiencing cyberbullying at least once a month.
  • 16% surveyed said they were cyberbullied at least once a week.

Impacts of cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can have serious impacts on the self-esteem and mental health of people who experience it:

  • 41% of people who were cyberbullied developed social anxiety
  • 37% developed depression
  • 26% had suicidal thoughts
  • 26% deleted their social media profile
  • 25% self-harmed
  • 25% stopped using social media
  • 20% skipped class
  • 14% developed an eating disorder
  • 9% abused drugs or alcohol.

What counts as Cyberbullying?

When asked about the nature of cyberbullying, here is how our respondents answered:

  • 35% had sent a screenshot of someone’s status or photo to laugh at them in a group chat
  • 25% had trolled somebody in an online game
  • 17% liked or shared something online that openly mocks another person
  • 16% had done something to subtly annoy somebody they didn’t like online
  • 12% had sent a nasty message, either privately or publicly to somebody they know offline
  • 5% had created a fake profile and used it to annoy or upset another person.

What have you experienced?

When asked about what happened to those who were cyberbullied, here’s how they responded:

  • 39% had a nasty comment posted on their profile
  • 34% had a nasty comment posted on their photo
  • 68% has been sent a nasty private message
  • 18% had their profile wrongfully reported
  • 23% had been bullied in an online game
  • 24% had their private information shared
  • 18% had somebody impersonate them online
  • 41% had rumours about them posted online
  • 27% had photos/videos of them that they didn’t like

Find out More

Want to know more? Have a read through our past research papers to get an idea of the stats around bullying and other related issues from the last 5 years…