We delve into the reasons why people bully and are bullied, as well as asking important questions about things like relationships, gender, mental health and body image.
This groundbreaking research also takes a look at the nature of different types of bullying, the long terms effects that bullying has on people’s emotional well-being and how it’s changed over time. It’s pretty eye-opening stuff.
Bullying: The Facts…
So, here are our main findings from the last couple of years’ work in a nifty list of 21 things we bet you didn’t already know about bullying (pssst…if you did already know them, you probably heard it from us 😜).
Remember, if you are being bullied or you just have something you want to talk about, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.
1. More than half of people under 25 have experienced bullying at some point.
2. 20% of people surveyed, said that they often experienced verbal bullying.
3. 24% of young people are worried about getting abuse online
4. People with a physical disability, are unfortunately more likely to experience bullying than a person without a physical disability. #NotCool
5. 5% of people surveyed, said that they constantly experienced physical bullying.
6. Social exclusion is a form of bullying. That means, when your mates leave you out on purpose to hurt your feelings, they are indirectly bullying you.
7. More than a third of people go on to develop Social Anxiety and Depression as a direct result of bullying.
8. Almost a quarter of those who have been bullied have had suicidal thoughts.
9. Guys are more likely to bully someone than anyone else.
10. Those who bully are far more likely to have experienced stressful and traumatic situations in recent times.
11. Of those who bullied daily, 58% had experienced the death of a relative.
13. The #1 most common reason why people experience bullying is because of attitudes towards their appearance, with attitudes towards hobbies & interests and clothing coming in close at second and third place.
14. 69% of people have admitted to doing something abusive to another person online
15. 62% of people said they were bullied by a classmate
16. People who identify as LGBT+ are more likely to experience bullying.
Bullying is never, ever the fault of the person on the receiving end of it. Here’s why
What about Online?
17. 26% of people reported experiencing cyberbullying in the past 12-months. (2019)
18. More than a quarter of people have had suicidal thoughts as a result of cyberbullying.
19. 35% of people have sent a screenshot of someone’s status to laugh at in a group chat. #ShadyOnlineBehaviour
20. Almost two-thirds of people agreed that social networks don’t do enough to combat cyberbullying.
21. 44% of people under 25 said that ‘real-life’ means ‘only things that happen offline.’
And there you have it – 21 facts about bullying you probably never knew before.
Bullying is something that can happen at any age, and overcoming it can be one of the hardest things to do. Bullying can make you feel alone, scared and worthless. In fact, more than a third of people go on to develop social anxiety and depression as a direct result of bullying.
“Just ignore it”, is what most people are told when they’re being bullied, or maybe “they’re only jealous” – but what use is that when you’re hurting and it’s making you feel bad about yourself?
“Tell a teacher” is sometimes good advice but what happens when your teachers don’t do anything? What if you’ve already told a teacher and it just got worse?
Don’t worry, we’ve got your back…
Top 10 tips for dealing with bullying
1. Understand the bullying
Bullying is a learnt behaviour. There are several reasons why people bully others; more often than not, bullying can be a coping mechanism for people who are going through a stressful or traumatic situation and it may also be learnt from abuse or prejudice-based attitudes at home.
Often people who bully others have at some point been bullied themselves or are currently being bullied.
Other reasons for bullying can include issues such as jealousy and insecurity – we know this because we work directly with people who bully so we can help them understand and overcome their negative behaviours. If you are being bullied, please know that you are NOT the problem.
If you are bullying somebody else, please speak up about it – get help on our Community here.
2. If you feel safe enough: speak to the person who is bullying you
Have you ever said something to a friend and upset them by accident? Chances are, it has probably happened loads of times. It’s a similar thing with bullying as the definition, by default is subjective – meaning that everybody has a different threshold of what they consider to be bullying. Sometimes, the person who is bullying you may genuinely have no idea that it is affecting you.
Equally, they are probably going through a difficult time themselves and will relate to how you’re feeling. This is why we have found that speaking to the person who is bullying you can be really effective. If this is something you’d consider, read this first.
3. Never go through it in silence
When you’re going through a stressful or difficult situation, it can clog your mind and fog your vision. This leads to people becoming distracted, stressed and unproductive. Bullying is something that affects so many people’s lives, but many people will never report it through embarrassment, fear or a lack of faith in support systems.
It is incredibly important that you go through the appropriate reporting channels by firstly telling a teacher/parent/guardian/learning mentor or another responsible adult. You can also contact us for advice and support. Even if you don’t want to report it, speak to somebody and don’t feel like you have to go through it alone because you don’t.
4. Is it a crime?
Bullying is a behaviour but some forms of bullying may also be a criminal offence. If somebody physically or sexually attacks you, steals from you or uses prejudice language or hate speech towards you (such as homophobia and racism) or shares your private information or intimate images online – these are all key signs that you should probably report it to the Police.
5. Don’t see yourself as the problem
The reason people experience bullying is not because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, appearance, disability or any other unique factor; it is because of the attitude towards the factor. The only thing possible to change is attitudes. The person who is bullying you is the one with the issue, not you.
6. Deal with stress
When you are going through a stressful situation, it can be difficult to deal with it objectively if you keep it all to yourself. The stress navigates towards the front of your mind and builds up into a completely avoidable chain of negative emotions. It is therefore incredibly important to tell somebody that you trust; it doesn’t even have to be an adult, it could be a friend or somebody at Ditch the Label. You deserve the help and support to get through this.
We have a really simple exercise available on our website called Stress Reprogramming which you can do either alone or with somebody else in around 30 minutes. The exercise will help you see stress differently and come up with a way forward.
7. Even though you may want to, don’t isolate yourself
Depriving yourself of any sort of support certainly isn’t going to resolve the issue or help you handle the bullying. We know it may feel like the best thing to do at the time, but it will only make things worse by silencing you and reducing your self-esteem. Often people who are bullied will understandably see themselves as victims, but it’s important that you look beyond that and don’t let the bullying dictate who you are. Talk about it to somebody at Ditch the Label.
8. Look after your health
We’re not going to go into the whole endorphin thing because you’ve probably heard it before – but seriously, eating a good, clean diet and exercising can really improve your physical and mental health and reduce stress. Reductions in stress increase your clarity, helping you break down difficult situations, making them much easier to deal with. Other things you can try include meditation, yoga, cooking, long walks, running and swimming.
We ALL have mental health, but why is it that everybody focuses more heavily on physical than mental? The fact of the matter is: we all have ups and downs and statistically, 1 in 4 of us will experience some sort of mental health complication such as depression or anxiety. It is completely okay to speak up about these issues and it is important that you seek emotional and mental health support from your GP, a therapist or counsellor. We have more advice on issues you may be facing available here.
9. Seek role models
When you’re going through your teen years, sometimes it can all seem like a bit of a black hole. It’s made even worse if you’re struggling with your identity or being bullied.
This is why it is important to seek out positive role models to show you that plenty of people have been where you are right now and have managed to overcome it. Read more stories and inspiring blogs here.
10. Lean on us
We are a leading global youth charity and we are here for you when you need us the most. If you need any help or guidance, join the community to chat anonymously with a digital mentor, or discuss what’s on your mind with others who’ve been there before!
This lesson explores the root causes of bullying behaviour and encourages students to reflect on why people feel the need to bully others. It pushes high ability students to consider potential methods of combating bullying through tackling the root causes.
This lesson asks students to examine their own online behaviours and understand the consequences of some of their actions. It allows them room to explore the subjectivity of cyberbullying behaviour and reinforces their responsibilities regarding their behaviour towards others online.
The resources are all completely free, digital and available for teachers across the country to download.
Anti-Bullying Week 2019
Anti-Bullying Week 2019 runs between Monday 11th November – Friday 15th November 2019.
Our research shows that 1 in 2 young people will, at some point, experience bullying. As a result, 1 in 3 will self-harm, grades will drop and 14% will develop eating disorders. Getting students engaged in activities, assemblies and lessons can be a really effective way to start conversations about bullying and the impact it can have.
We recommend a whole week of activities to generate school engagement around bullying.
Monday: Anti-Bullying Week Assembly
Tuesday: All students participate in The Annual Bullying Survey
Wednesday: Lunch-time fundraising activities
Thursday: PSHE lesson on Bullying
Friday: Tutor-time anti-bullying activity
The Annual Bullying Survey
Taking part in The Annual Bullying Survey makes for an ideal activity during Anti-Bullying Week.
It is the largest annual benchmark of bullying in the UK and each year, secondary schools, high schools and colleges from across the country take part, enabling us to better understand the dynamics and nature of bullying.
Students will need approximately 30 minutes to participate in the online survey, and we highly recommend that ALL your students take part.
As part of Anti-Bullying Week, many schools choose to run fundraising activities to fund vital support for those who are experiencing bullying. Or learn more about our flagship Anti-Bullying Week Fundraiser – Give It Up for Ditch the Label.
Here are 5 ways your school could get involved and raise money for Ditch the Label or download a printable version to use in your classroom this Anti-Bullying Week.
Go silent – give up your voice for the day in return for sponsorship. We know nearly 50% of young people who are bullied never tell anyone, not a teacher, not a parent, not a friend – everything you raise will help us reach more young people affected by bullying and give them back their voice.
Get active – organise a sports match & charge an entry fee. Football, netball, rugby, volleyball, whatever you like playing. You could even go for a staff v student match to for the ultimate grudge match! If everyone pays an entry fee it’s a really simple way to raise funds for Ditch the Label.
Go on a (digital) holiday – give up technology to raise sponsorship. At Ditch the Label, we’re all about the digital, but we know that a digital detox can sometimes give people a much-needed break from social media. Whether it’s for a day, or for a whole week, it’s a great way to raise money.
Hold a pop-up shop – refresh your wardrobe and raise money. Ask everyone to have a clear-out and donate their once loved items to a pop-up clothes shop. Give your favourite old clothes the chance to be loved again – and raise money for us in the process.
Keep it classic – the most common fundraisers can be the most successful. For example, a non-uniform day and a cake sale are really easy and simple ways to get your school involved in fundraising.
If you’re not looking for full lesson plans or assemblies, here are a selection of other activities which you could use this week.
1. Help students understand the hidden part of bullying (30 mins)
We know from our extensive work with young people that nobody is ever born with an intent to bully others. Bullying is often a behaviour that is used to cope with a traumatic and stressful situation – it could be that the student is having a difficult time at home or is being bullied themselves elsewhere. Those who bully tend to have low self-esteem and confidence issues and just want to be accepted. We would never call anybody a ‘bully’ because it certainly isn’t their identity, it is just a behaviour that needs to change.
We’ve produced an emotional video to encourage students to think differently about bullying and to build their understanding as to some common reasons why people bully. Start the activity by showing the video and follow it with a discussion about the key themes in the video, opening up to the bigger picture: exploring key reasons why people bully others. – Click here for the video – Click here for more reasons why people bully others
2. Use Ditch the Label statistics in a quiz (30 mins)
Each year, we produce some of the most comprehensive research papers surrounding the issue of bullying and related factors. This activity is designed to help students understand the landscape of bullying and to encourage them to speak up about issues that are bothering them.
The activity should take approximately 30 minutes, which includes a discussion of the results afterwards. – Click here for the question sheet – Click here for the answer sheet
Alternatively, you can direct your students to our research area, they can pick a research paper and create their own quiz based on the statistics in their chosen report.
3. Create a poster, using less than 140 characters (30 mins)
This activity works best in conjunction with a starter activity – such as the Ditch the Label Quiz, this is because it will equip students with a better understanding of bullying and will act as an icebreaker and will fuel inspiration. Students are given the task of designing a new anti-bullying poster for your school. The catch? They are not allowed to use more than 140 characters on their poster, so they need to choose their words wisely. This can be done either in pairs or as a group task.
This activity can also be run as a school/college-wide competition with the winning entry being produced and displayed around the school. – Examples of posters
4. Teach students to reprogram their stress (50 mins)
Stress is the number 1 killer and is something that troubles us all. We know that bullying massively increases the amount of stress young people face, which can go on to impact grade performance, health and general moods. We have developed a tool to help students rationalise and reduce stress in a simple, digestible way.
This task should be done in pairs only. Each person should need approximately 15-20 minutes to talk about things that are bothering them, and with the help of their partner – better rationalise and deal with those issues. With time to complete the entire task, introduction and evaluation afterwards – this task would typically take 50 minutes. – Click here to download instructions and the packs
5. Take part in The Annual Bullying Survey (20 mins)
Each year, we work with schools and colleges across the country to help them better understand the landscape and extent of bullying within their environment. We produce The Annual Bullying Survey, which is the most comprehensive annual benchmark of bullying in the UK.
The survey is conducted online and will survey students on their experiences of bullying, whilst exploring their wider social lives, experiences and attitudes. Taking part is completely free and it takes students approximately 20 minutes to complete the survey. – Click here to find out more information
6. Use role-play (30 mins)
This activity works particularly well in conjunction with activity 1 and could be used as a tool to further explore the reasons why people bully others.
Task students to work in small groups to role-play different bullying-related scenarios and then invite the rest of the class to give their feedback and advice on how to deal with the situations. Examples include:
Example 1: Student A is sending Student B abuse on Instagram. Student C sees the abuse but isn’t really sure what to do. The issue continues in school when Student A encourages Student C to say nasty things to Student B.
Example 2: Student A is having a difficult time at home – their parents are arguing a lot and their pet just passed away. In response, Student A feels angry and has nobody to talk to. They take their anger out on Student B and is disruptive in class. Student C, who is a friend of Student A witnesses everything. What could they do to help?
7. Create a list of top tips (30 mins)
This activity works particularly well in conjunction with activities 1 and 2. Ask students to work in pairs or small groups to come up with their top 10 tips on how to overcome bullying. Ask the students to share their tips with the rest of the class.
You will find that there will be a lot of repetition and overlap, so as the facilitator, note down the top 10 most commonly used tips and then use them to produce a classroom charter.
Join our Community
We have a growing online community where young people can anonymously log in and share their problems. On the Ditch the Label community there are opportunities for people to speak to and share advice amongst themselves as well as speaking directly with a trained digital mentor.
The service is absolutely free and operates as a judgement-free zone.
Why not spend the last 10 mins of your lesson encouraging your students to take a look around?
We recently found that 1 in 2 people have bullied another person at least once. Bullying is one of the biggest issues currently affecting young people and we believe that we can overcome it, if we start to think differently about how we resolve things.
We believe that nobody is ever a bully. They may be bullying somebody, which is a behaviour, but it isn’t who they are as people. Our experts have compiled together 7 practical tips which are designed to help you stop bullying others by enabling you to understand your behaviors better and equipping you to resolve them in more effective ways.
1. You are not a bully
First and foremost, stop labeling yourself as a bully. It isn’t productive and will not benefit you. You may be bullying another person but that does not mean you are a bully. It is a behaviour and not your identity.
2. Understand why
Our research shows that there are a variety of reasons why people bully others. Bullying is a learned behaviour and is often used as a coping mechanism for a stressful situation. Common examples could include being bullied by somebody else, abuse, a traumatic situation or a stressful home life. In addition, we also know that some people bully others because they may feel competitive towards them or they may not fully understand an element about them. Once you are able to gain an understanding as to why you are motivated to bully others, this will give you hugely valuable insight.
3. Seek a resolve
Once you have identified the source of your behaviour, it is important to find a productive way in which you can resolve the situation. If you find this difficult, we would recommend speaking with an adult who you trust.
Alternatively, you can contact us or give our friends at Childline a call on 0800 11 11. Believe us when we tell you that you are deserving of support.
4. Reprogram your stress
What is the one thing that we all have in common? Stress. We all feel it, but it’s important to recognise stress and deal with it accordingly. By that, we mean – don’t store it up and let it fester, as it can have significant impacts on your mood and health. Give our Stress Reprogramming system a try.
5. Speak about it
You’d be surprised at how powerful it can be to just sit down with somebody who you trust and talk about everything that is bothering you. A problem shared, really can be a problem halved. It may be worth buddying up and going through our Stress Reprogramming exercise with somebody who you trust.
6. Is it a good strategy?
Pulling somebody else down will never, ever take you any higher. Using bullying as a coping mechanism for something stressful in your life is only going to make things worse; not just for you but also for the person who is at the receiving end of the bullying.
To you, it may not seem serious, but to another person, the impact could be significant. For every 10 people who are bullied, 3 of them will self-harm, 1 will go on to have a failed suicide attempt and 1 will develop an eating disorder. Additionally, we know that people who have been bullied, on average, achieve lower grades and therefore the bullying could reduce their future career prospects.
Above everything, we would encourage you to please speak to somebody and seek the support available.
This could be a Ditch the Label Mentor who will offer non judgmental advice and support.
Recent Ditch the Label research revealed that 69% of young people have witnessed somebody else being bullied, 43% of which see it at least once a week. With this in mind, we have compiled 7 things that you can do if you see someone being bullied. Here’s how you can be the one to help:
1. Ask if they are okay/if they need help
If it feels safe to do so, approach the person that is being bullied and ask them if they are okay or if they would like you to get help on their behalf. If it looks like the person is in danger, or at risk of serious harm, seek help immediately from a trusted adult, report it immediately to a teacher, or call the police on 999.
2. Do not join in or watch the bullying take place
Do not join in with the bullying that is taking place; think of the consequences of your words/actions and how they will negatively impact the person that is being attacked. Do not stand around and watch what is happening either; the attention may encourage the perpetrator to continue exhibiting such behaviour. Act swiftly, either seek help from a trusted adult or approach and focus your energy on the person that is being bullied (only if it feels safe to do so – see point 3 for reference).
3. Get the person that is being bullied away from the scenario
Instead of focusing your energy on the person that is doing the bullying, focus on getting the person that is being bullied away from the scenario and to a safe space. If it feels safe to do so, ask the person being bullied to come with you. Once you are away from the perpetrator, focus on keeping them calm and reassure them that everything will be alright. Make sure that that they know they are in no way to blame for what is happening to them and that they can depend on you for support. From there you can both decide what is the best course of action to take.
4. Remember to keep calm
Often reacting in an aggressive manner can make the situation worse and can even put you at risk of physical harm. If you feel it is a safe and appropriate action to take, maybe try talking calmly to the person who is doing the bullying. Remember to challenge the behaviour, not the person – so instead of accusing the person of being a ‘bully’, calmly explain why their actions or words are causing the other person distress. For example, instead of saying “you’re upsetting them”, you could say “what you are saying/doing is upsetting them”. It might be appropriate to suggest that a teacher or responsible adult hosts a mediation between the two of them. A mediation can feel scary for those involved but is often incredibly powerful; it is essentially a face-to-face conversation between the person who is being bullied and the person doing the bullying in a controlled, equal environment.
5. After the event, ask them how you can help them
It is important that you don’t patronise the person that is experiencing bullying; make sure that they feel like the power is in their hands and that you will be there to support them every step of the way. A good way of doing this is to ask them how you can help them, or what steps they want to take next.
6. Be a friend
Your friendship could make all the difference to them right now. Spend time with them, make sure they know they are not alone and try to do things that will boost their self-esteem and confidence. It’s important that they still look after their health and maintain a good diet, exercise regime and things like meditation and yoga. It is also important that you remember to look after yourself as well and don’t take too much on.
7. Link them to Ditch the Label
We are one of the largest anti-bullying charities and we are always here for those who have been impacted by bullying. If you or anyone you know needs help or a push in the right direction, please do not hesitate to get help in our Community here.
If you would prefer our easier to read version, please click here.
In celebration of World Day of Bullying Prevention and Anti Bullying Week, here’s a little something to consider for those who have been bullied in the past and are looking forward to moving on!
The bullying is over…
Maybe you moved class, maybe you don’t work there anymore, maybe you even moved school. The point is, being bullied is now past tense – it’s not happening anymore and now, you can relax!
Their behaviour, no matter how it happened will have made an resounding impact on you. make no mistake about it, there is always an impact. You are human after all and what the behaviour of bullying does is seek to attack, undermine, break, hurt, damage, belittle and erode bits, parts or all of you.
Here’s how to deal with it 😎
If we don’t properly deal with it. We run the risk of carrying this pain and hurt with us into the rest of our lives, not to mention the impact it can have on our behaviour. From our research we know that lots of people who were bullied, often go onto bully others. With that in mind, let’s look at how to deal with what happened and ultimately, how to get over bullying…
Have you ever really properly shared what happened with someone you trust? It doesn’t really matter the scope of it, if you went through it – talk about it. When we don’t talk about our experiences we internalise them. That toxic negativity is detrimental to our well being. A bit like when you were younger and grazed your knee badly and got gravel in the cut. It had to be cleaned properly to stop it becoming infected. The same is true when we are bullied. Did you ever really talk about it? Is there still stuff to this day that you haven’t told anyone? If it still feels big and unresolved, talking could really help.
WAS IT YOUR FAULT?
This is a trick question of course. It is never ever ever your fault but if your gut reaction answer to this question was yes or maybe, take this as a sign that you need to do more talking. For as long you think any part of the responsibility lies with you, you are not fully over it and need more support.
One of the biggest areas to take a direct hit when we go through bullying is our self esteem. A key part to dealing with the aftermath is working to not only grow but actively protect your self esteem. We build self esteem through doing esteem-able acts. Have a read of this article for inspiration and ideas to get you started.
A huge part of finding closure is finding acceptance for what happened. All pain lies with not being to able to accept what it is that is causing you pain. In this case it’s the bullying you just went through. Accepting what happened doesn’t mean it sucks any less but not accepting it only means more pain. We can’t change the past but if we don’t accept it, we still live in all of its pain. You deserve to not be haunted by yours.
There is no magic wand or quick fix when it comes to dealing with bullying and its impact on us as people. So please be patient with yourself. Depending on what happened the timescales vary massively. What happened was not OK and you did your best to get through it. Now you are on the other side of it, give yourself time to heal and on those days when it feels like it was yesterday go gently, talk to a mate and trust that it does get easier.
KNOW YOUR WORTH
In today’s society we are all being fed a enormous lie. The lie has two parts, the first is that your worth is dependant on external things like the amount of followers on your profile, your relationship status, possessions, what others think of you, money, the list goes on. The second is that your worth can be taken away from you. This is impossible because your worth is 100% unconditional from the day you are born to the day you die. Being bullied for so many of us leaves us questioning our worth or feeling robbed of it all together. Take it from us, it is still there and it actually never went anywhere, it just needs rebuilding and the only person who can truly take away your worth is you.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
This year we are using Anti-Bullying Week to encourage people to speak up about bullying. We unfortunately have sold out of anti-bullying posters this year.
Instead, we also invite activists, teachers, parents/guardians, businesses and other interested parties to help us eradicate bullying and improve the lives of millions by pledging support for Ditch the Label.
Are you a teacher?
We’ve created a number of high-quality and free educational resources for teachers. You can find them at: https://dtled.org/
Bullying is something that 1 in 2 people under 25 will experience in their lifetime.
There is no singular definition of bullying because it comes in all shapes, sizes and subtleties. Despite the varied nature of bullying, here are a few things you should know that will help you identify it, and hopefully understand it a little better.
No one is born a bully – true story. Bullying is a learnt behaviour and not an innate characteristic of anyone. According to Ditch the Label research, there are lots of reasons why people bully and these are explored further in Why People Bully, The Scientific Reasons.
The dictionary definition of bullying is “the use of strength or power to frighten or hurt weaker people.” This is not a very nice definition if you ask us and completely inaccurate. First things first, being bullied does not mean that you are weak.
What’s more, this definition doesn’t account for many facets of bullying such as online abuse, subtle bullying within friendships such as manipulation, intimidation and social exclusion, as well as indirect bullying such as the spreading of harmful rumours, be it online or elsewhere.
Persistence is key
Another important thing to note is that for something to qualify as bullying – it is persistent. A one-off comment made about your appearance is hurtful and horrible to have to go through but a common factor of bullying is that it is a regular and persistent occurrence that takes place over time.
Are you in denial?
“I’m probably overreacting?” “I’m just being over-sensitive” “It will probably stop soon”
Sound familiar? Well, these are all things we tell ourselves when we are in denial. We somehow coast through life thinking, “yeah bullying sucks but it can’t happen to me…” then it does and it hurts, so we ignore it or pretend that it’s nothing.
Denial is a trick to make us think that everything is fine, even when it’s not. The first step to overcoming bullying is to acknowledge the fact that you are being bullied. This can sometimes be the hardest part: no one wants to admit that their ‘friends’ are bullying them.
How bullying makes you feel
The best way to determine whether you are being bullied is to analyse how it makes you feel and if it makes you feel low, unhappy, worried, frightened or stressed on a regular basis. Take the Ditch the Label quiz if you’re still unsure about whether or not you’re being bullied:
I’m being bullied – what should I do?
The most important thing you can do when being bullied to protect yourself is to talk about it.
Start by joining the Ditch the Label Support Community to speak to a digital mentor and take the first steps to overcome bullying. You will be met by understanding and non judgemental advice and support.
Alternatively, pick a friend who you trust, a family member or teacher and tell them what’s been going on. Don’t forget to tell them how it makes you feel and how long it’s been going on.
If you don’t feel like talking right now, that’s OK – check out some of these resources that have helped thousands of people overcome bullying…
Statistically speaking, those who experience bullying are likely to go on and bully other people. The very best way to overcome bullying once and for all is to understand those who bully and the reasons behind why they do it.
By showing compassion towards those who bully, no matter how hard that might seem at the time, we can truly overcome bullying. Read this to find out more…
Not only do we work closely with those who are being bullied, but we are also determined to help those who are doing the bullying. If that’s you, have a browse through the resources below for information on how to stop:
Let’s destroy the stigma that comes with the word “bullied.” It can happen to anyone, by anyone, anywhere – for any reason. Bullying can be faceless and consequently, you may or may not know you are being bullied.
For this reason, being bullied by someone you consider a friend can be a real blind spot for most of us; it’s harder to detect, subtle in nature and can take a while to get our attention. After all, they’re a friend – right?
Here’s what you can do if you’re being bullied by a friend.
Don’t laugh it off.
Nobody wants to be that friend that can’t take a joke so part of the problem is we laugh along with them when a joke is made at our expense as a way of diffusing the awkwardness and tension. But the major downside is your laughter will give the impression that you’re cool with the mean jokes. You are 100% allowed to not find something funny and tell your friend. The reason it feels hard is we can’t control other people’s reactions so the fear lies behind not knowing how they will react.
We need to talk.
Try being honest with your friend and let them know how they have made you feel. Make sure you have the conversation somewhere private where you won’t be interrupted.
The best advice is to be direct, keep it short and stick with how it makes you feel instead of blaming them. If they are genuinely apologetic they will make an effort to tone it down. If not, it is likely they will get defensive and deny doing anything to hurt your feelings. Whatever the outcome, what matters is you have said something and taken action.
Stand up for yourself.
Easier said than done when it comes to our friends being the ones that are giving you a hard time. But the bottom line is that this will not be the last time you have to stand up for yourself and so you might as well start getting good at it now. One of the best things I ever did was learning how to speak up when it matters, its nobody else’s responsibility to say what’s not okay for you, but your own.
Know when to walk away.
This is rarely an easy call to make especially with old friends or if we have put all our eggs in one basket. Think twice about friendships where you feel criticized, ignored, gossiped about, judged, manipulated, made fun of or left out.
It’s not me it’s you.
It can be a scary prospect standing up for yourself or walking away from somebody who you considered a friend but your esteem and integrity are much more important than trying to keep somebody happy who doesn’t give a damn about you. If you’re unsure if they really are your friend have a read of this article.
Don’t ignore your feelings.
Don’t ignore your feelings when someone makes you feel bad about yourself. Do you have any friends that after spending time together you feel worse than you did before? Do you feel nervous around them because you don’t know what they are going to say or do? Bullying affects our overall happiness and confidence. So we must check in with ourselves and not ignore our emotions. The worse the bullying gets – the worse we begin to feel. A friend makes you feel happy, liked, appreciated and confident.
If you would prefer our easier to read version, please click here.
If you are being bullied, you do not need to go through it alone. If you ever need help, Ditch the Label are here for you. You can join our community here.
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