There’s no two ways about it, getting through the coronavirus pandemic is tough. Navigating relationships isn’t always easy under the best of circumstances, so if you’re having to do lockdown while separated from your bae, we’ve got your back.

We’ve compiled our top tips for keeping things sweet until we reach the other side.

Conflict

Firstly, let’s get straight to this one and acknowledge that this situation is difficult, so try and manage expectations and remind yourself that there will likely be bumps along the way. The situation is stressful and many of us are living in a state of high alert, so it’s only natural for emotions to be somewhat heightened. Of course, most relationships will have arguments and disagreements under normal circumstances, but it’s how we handle conflict that is key.

Neither one of you is at fault for this crisis so allow each other some time to vent about what’s going on – a certain amount of venting is healthy and normal and doesn’t always need to be solution focussed. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid unnecessary conflict at the moment, here’s how to avoid getting into an argument.

Staying connected

Think about how you can still enjoy each other’s company while you are apart. Make full use of FaceTime or Houseparty so that you can see each other – being able to read each other’s expressions and body language are invaluable and reassuring. Have a regular date night where you watch a film together or listen to your favourite music and talk about everything other than coronavirus. Stay connected with all aspects of their life, ask about their friends and family and stay interested in what they are doing whether they are still working or keeping busy at home.

Try and aim for meaningful rather than excessive communication, so maybe simple but sweet ‘good morning’ and ‘goodnight’ messages to remind each other that you care as you begin and close each day and save up some stuff for when you can properly connect. And try not to get caught up in messages being left on ‘read’ or you notice they’re online but haven’t messaged you. 

Look after yourself

It’s easy to focus on wanting to keep our partners happy but remember that your wellbeing is equally as important. Take time out for yourself and follow the advice here. Don’t give yourself a hard time if you’re not constantly pining after your partner and are coping pretty well; it’s not just okay, but healthy to exist as secure and separate people outside of your relationship rather than be completely dependent on each other. 

Take the time to really catch up with your own family and friends, especially if some of these have been a little neglected since you’ve been part of a couple and it’s more than okay to enjoy these other connections. Although we don’t recommend over analysing every aspect of your relationship, be honest with yourself if this time apart has potentially raised flags anywhere for you that you just can’t shake and you feel there are deep-rooted issues that can no longer be overlooked.          

Respect each other

It may be tough but acknowledge that people react and behave differently in difficult situations and unless some seriously concerning behaviour crops up, that’s okay. Respect each other’s coping strategies as there really isn’t just one definitive way to get through this emotionally.

There will be days when you are both completely on the same page and other times when you are not, so be aware that while you might have a day when you’re feeling really positive, your partner might be struggling. Whilst being open and honest with each other about how you are feeling is key, there will be times when you feel sad and lonely so try not to get too immersed in negativity and keep reminding yourself that this isn’t a permanent situation and ultimately, solid and healthy relationships are worth holding on to. 

Keep things future focussed  

It’s good to be excited about when you can be back together again so start making some plans about what you can do together and where you can go. It could be as simple as getting back to your favourite eating spot, a lazy sunday together under a duvet watching Netflix or being able to book a break together.

Keeping an eye on the future can help make us feel secure and remind us that there will be an end to this situation.

When you finally meet up   

A slo-mo reunion and then it’s all sunshine and roses right? Maybe not, as you’ve been through a lot and emotions will be running high, so when you are reunited it’s likely to be intense. No one can maintain such strong feelings so once the intensity and relief at finally being reunited fades, it’s completely normal to experience a crash or feel pretty overwhelmed. Ensure you speak to each other about this beforehand so you both manage expectations and be kind to each other while you readjust to your normal routines.

If you have had minor disagreements, this probably isn’t the best time to bring those up. Enjoy the moment and consider if actually, unless they are serious issues, are they even worth worrying about now? If they do need addressing, wait for things to calm before dealing with them.  

Finally, remember that many couples manage successful long-distance relationships so this is achievable and it won’t be forever.

Whilst we are all snoodled up in the Ditch the Label offices with hot chocolate and gigantic scarves, we know that this time of year can be a bit tough on those of us who struggle with anxiety.

The prospect of a lot of food, a lot of people, too much time spent inside and a lot of pressure to socialise can be overwhelming for any one of us at this time of year, but even more so if your mental wellbeing has taken a turn for the worse this winter.

That’s why we’ve got these 7 hacks – so you can make it through the holiday season relatively easily. You got this, don’t worry. 

1) Take time for you 

The idea of the holiday season can be magical, but it can also be really overwhelming thinking about everything that needs to be done and all the socialising to be had.

But, the general craziness that arrives on December 1st doesn’t have to break you, if you take a bit of time and space to chill.

Try to plan in a bit of time for some peace and quiet during the crazier days if you can. If you don’t think that time is going to let you watch a whole crimbo movie on your own, plan in a gentle walk or add some time for a relaxing coffee into your shopping. 

2) Try not to put too much pressure on yourself 

It is the season of pressure. There’s no denying that. Hanging out with everyone, eating all the food as far as the eye can see, spending money you don’t have; it’s undeniable that the festive season is more than just a little bit stressful.

We know it can be a lot easier said than done to not put too much pressure on yourself at this time of year, but it’s important to remember that it’s just a short period, and if you end up not doing everything, that is ok.

There is a whole new year just around the corner for you to totally own.  

3) Get some chill dates in the diary with your pals 

Anxiety may be rearing its ugly head, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little bit of festive fun with your pals. It might just mean you have a little bit of adapted fun.

Instead of heading out to the shops or for a meal, get in your comfiest joggers, grab a selection box and throw on your favourite Christmas movie at home. It might not be the festive fun you usually have, but you’ll be together and that’s what’s most important right now. 

4) Speak to your family before any big celebrations

If your family are the sort for going big over the festive period, try and sit one of them down and have a little chat about how you are feeling a little bit overwhelmed. Check out this list of ideas for starting the conversation around mental health with someone in your life to make it a little easier.

Remember though, it doesn’t have to be a super heavy chat. Just mention that you might be a little out of sorts or in need of some space over the holiday season. 

5) Make a plan and try to stick to it 

Planning is great. No seriously. We aren’t saying you should account for every second of every day because that’s probably going to make you feel even more pressure, but adding a loose structure to your free time can give you some stuff to look forward to whilst making sure you also get the important bits done.

Try mapping out your day as a loose list of stuff that needs to be finished but that you can do in any order and try to tick it all off before you get in bed. 

6) Breathe

Four seconds in. Hold it. Four seconds out. And again. 

If you start feeling a bit panicky at the prospect of the holidays, take some time to practice a few breathing exercises that can help you when the panic really starts to take hold.

Similarly, try a few guided meditations on YouTube before you go to bed to help you get in a chill headspace before you go to sleep. 

7) Remember; it’s a short period of time and you will be ok

It seems like a lot, but it’s important to remember that it is only once a year and it will all be over and you’ll be back in a comfortable routine before you know it. If you don’t get everything done this year that was on your list, try not to stress too much about it. It will come around again next year, and again after that.

If your 2020 festive period isn’t everything you thought it would be, give yourself a bit of a break, think about how much you did actually get done, and just get ready to start again in 2021. You got this. We got you. 

Need to talk to someone? You can get confidential support and advice from one of our trained Digital Mentors here.

So the most magical time of the year is finally upon us and here at Ditch the Label, we couldn’t be more excited. But, we know this year might be a little different. Well, we think that we should always be able to laugh at ourselves when we get stuck in situations like this, which is why we put together this list of struggles only you will understand if you’re the last man standing over the festive break. 

1) You think it’s going to be all fun and games… 

Currently picturing hot chocolate, christmas films, pigs in blankets, gaming tournaments, the new Star Wars movie. Just literally everything that could ever bring you and the gang joy. 

2) …Until you realise this year is different… 

So it looks like you will be Billy No Mates until early 2021 *plays Lonely this Christmas on a loop.

3) …So the only games you’ll be having is Ker-plunk with your parents for the fiftieth time 

Ohhh nooooo the balls all fell down the hooooole again. Oh well, you tried. You can play Rocket League now right? 

4) No one is around to discuss all the epic Christmas TV specials with

All you want for Christmas is someone to watch the Gavin and Stacey special with, and are you going to get it? Nope. 

5) And there is no one around to quote all your fave crimbo movies with either

“BUDDY THE ELF, WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR?” (they said to the empty room.) 

6) Don’t even get us started on the horror show that will be your New Years Eve

Watching Jools Holland’s Hootenanny with your parents whilst you polish off the rest of the Roses, in bed before 11pm with a cup of tea. Any other day it might be wonderful, but when it’s what you’ve been doing all year, it’s not the one. 

7) But it’s still the best time of the year 

Christmas can be a bit rubbish for some, but it is also pretty epic. If you are stuck on your lonesome, don’t let it ruin your crimbo. Hang with the family, get your shopping done, do some solo festive fun stuff like baking up an entire gingerbread city. Most importantly, be happy.

And if in doubt, always remember, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

For daily inspiration, motivation, LOLs and love, follow us on Instagram @ditchthelabel

FOMO. Fear of missing out. Whilst it is thrown around a lot on social media when you see some pals living their best lives and you are stuck at your Aunt’s birthday, FOMO can actually be a pretty difficult thing to deal with if you get it too much. Double booking, over booking, feeling guilty and not feeling happy about what you are doing can all be pretty crappy side effects of having too much FOMO. That’s why we wanted to bring you a few ideas that can help keep it bay, and get you back to enjoying life. 

1) Have a detox 

Try taking a little bit of a break from the social side of life altogether. This could be a weekend, a week or a little longer. Focus on yourself, and other aspects of your life like school or work. This time should help you get back to knowing who you are when you aren’t constantly chasing the next night out, festival or holiday. 

2) Quit the multitasking 

The world is pretty obsessed with multitasking. Everyone is doing a million things at once – eating, working, watching tv and answering the group chat all at once is a pretty standard Thursday evening right?

Well, turns out, the more you multitask in your daily life, the harder you’ll find it to focus on one thing at one time, and the FOMO will be strong with you. Try to cut back on the multitasking in your everyday life and it should be a good step towards leaving the FOMO behind. 

 

3) Stop comparing yourself

We know this is easier said than done, but FOMO often comes from comparing yourself to friends and total strangers online and in real life. We all have a tendency to compare ourselves to other people, but there are things we can do to nip this in the bud.

Next time you catch yourself comparing your life, or plans, to someone else, try this: stop the thought in its tracks by breathing in slowly for four seconds and out for four seconds, and repeat four times. Then think of three things that are awesome about you, your life and your plans that you are comparing. This is a great trick that is bound to help you mellow out and enjoy yourself.

4) Focus on where your feet are

If you have decided to skip out on the music festival in favour of working, or that your friend’s house party can’t be more important than your cousin’s wedding, focus on enjoying the time you have in the place that you have decided to be.

It can be super tempting to spend these times chasing down the Instagram stories of people who have gone to the event you chose to say to no to, but this will probably only make you feel super guilty about not going, and mean you can’t enjoy the decision you have made. 

5) Listen to your body 

We’re betting that, at some point, you’ve dragged yourself to a party or a dinner even when you’ve been completely exhausted? Maybe even when you were legitimately unwell? One of the most crucial things you can do to defeat the FOMO is to listen to your body and not feel bad about that.

Next time someone invites you out when you feel like this, try to sit and list the pros and cons of going. It might seem pretty long-winded for a simple decision, but the more you do this, the more you will get better at recognising what you are physically capable of, and what is the FOMO. 

6) Put relationships first

Putting the people you want to spend time with over the activity is a great way to not only bat away the FOMO, but also give you major friend/family/partner points. Thinking about that friend of a friend on Insta who has hopped over to Europe for a big festival this year? Make some plans with your bestie or hang with the family, or really anyone you really value. Putting the people above the thing, no matter what it is, will help you feel more grateful for the memories you are making right now. 

7) Make the most of your alone time 

Spending time alone can be pretty liberating. If you are dealing with FOMO on the daily, the chances are, you haven’t found that out yet. Schedule yourself some time alone to do a few things just for you – films, pampering, exercise – whatever it is, make the most of it. That way, if your FOMO is coming from not being able to afford that big trip away that all your mates are on, your time can be spent seriously chillin’, and you’ll be cool with that.

Feeling left out? Dealing with anxiety? Friends got you stressed out? Whatever is going on with you, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here, and we will listen to you.

Life can be complicated, and often, we aren’t always aware of hope our behaviour can affect people around us. In our recent Annual Bullying Survey, we found that only 30% of young people disagree with the statement that the behaviour of politicians has an impact on the behaviour of peers at school. So essentially, we have a role model problem. 

If we really want to, we can all change our behaviour for good, and now more than ever, we all need kindness in our lives. 

Read the full Annual Bullying Survey 2020 here.

How to Change Your Behaviour in a Positive Way 

Look at how others treat each other 

Look at how people around you treat each other. What do you dislike? What do you think is nice? We aren’t suggesting you police the morals and interactions of others, but rather just have a think about it by yourself. How would you respond if someone said or did something like that to you, or to a loved one? Learning from others is how humans are made, and we should never stop doing it. 

Listen and absorb

Ask those around you, how do you feel when I do or say this? How would you feel if I changed it? It can be hard to take criticism, especially from those we love, but we can’t know how to treat the people we love better, unless they tell us how. 

Think about how you would want your best friend to be treated

We’ve all heard the saying, treat others as you would want to be treated. But, we don’t do this. A lot of people can get caught up in acting the way their friends or family do, even if this isn’t the best way to treat other people. So think, what if your best friend was being treated the way you might be treating others at school? Would you like it? Would you step in? What would you do?

Change small things, and slowly 

The reason why so many of the changes we make in life never seem to stick is we try to change too much, and too fast. We can’t wake up one morning and be a completely different person, and nor should we try. It’s important to remember that humans are mostly good and well-meaning. Changing the odd thing about how we treat others around us though, is a great way to make the world a better place. 

Boy looking into the distance at a scene of mountains and trees

Keep a journal 

A key reason why we don’t treat others well is that we don’t treat ourselves well. We might be piling on the pressure, be dealing with difficult personal situations, or dealing with issues such as depression or anxiety. Keep a journal that’s just about how you feel at the beginning and end of every day. Write a few notable things that happened in the day, whether they were interactions you had with people, or stuff that happened just to you. It will help you monitor your own mental wellbeing, and get on the way to improving it. 

For more tips on how to keep track of your mental health, read this. 

Remember; you are not alone in wanting to be better

Nobody is perfect. There is not a single person on the planet who is above reproach, and we all make mistakes. Making mistakes is the most incredibly human thing we all do. You are not alone in wanting to treat others or yourself better, and you are not alone on your journey of self-improvement. 

And not all of you has to change 

It’s incredibly brave to take some steps to become a better person or to recognise that maybe sometimes you treat people in a negative way. It’s incredibly important to remember that you are not alone, and that you are an amazing person. Like we said above, no one is perfect, and all we can do in the end, is try to be kinder. 

If you feel like you need support, we are here for you. You can reach out to our support community here for confidential advice and support. 

Why do People Bully?

According to our latest research, 1 in 2 people have experienced bullying in some form in the last 12-months. And trust us when we say, we know how difficult it can be to go through it, especially if you don’t fully understand the psychology of bullying.

In this article, we will be exploring the reasons why people bully, using the latest research and psychology to give you a greater understanding of the motives of those who are either bullying you right now or who have done so in the past.

You may have assumed that you get bullied for whatever makes you different or unique, for example: your race, religion, culture, sexual or gender identity, line of work, fashion sense or weight. By the end of this article, you will know that this is not the case at all.

If you want to talk about it – join our community today to start a conversation about bullying and speak to our amazing digital mentors who can help you anonymously without judgement.

The Psychology of Being Bullied

We will explore the reasons why later on in this article, but most frequently, those who bully others are looking to gain a feeling of power, purpose and control over you.

The easiest way of doing this is to focus on something that is unique about you – either preying on or creating new insecurity with an intent to hurt you either physically or emotionally.

What happens is, we, as the people experiencing bullying, start to internalise it and we become self-critical. We want to understand the reasons why we are being targeted and we start to blame ourselves.

As a result, we try to change or mask that unique characteristic in order to avoid the bullying. We dye our hair, bleach our skin, date people we aren’t interested in and cover up our bodies like they are something to be ashamed of.

It starts to affect our behaviour and the ways in which we see ourselves, which in turn, can go on to impact both our mental and physical health.

The way we see bullying is all wrong. It isn’t because we are different in some way.

person, standing, edge, of, shoreline, water. fog. hills

The Real Reasons Why People Bully Others

In a recent Ditch the Label study, we spoke to 7,347 people about bullying. We asked respondents to define bullying and then later asked if, based on their own definition, they had ever bullied anybody. 14% of our overall sample, so that’s 1,239 people, said yes. What we then did was something that had never been done on this scale before; we asked them intimate questions about their lives, exploring things like stress and trauma, home lives, relationships and how they feel about themselves.

In fact, we asked all 7,347 respondents the same questions and then compared the answers from those who had never bullied, those who had bullied at least once and those who bully others daily. This then gave us very strong, scientific and factual data to identify the real reasons why people bully others.

It also scientifically proves that the reason people get bullied is never, contrary to popular belief, because of the unique characteristics of the person experiencing the bullying. So, why do people bully?

Stress and Trauma:

Our data shows that those who bully are far more likely than average to have experienced a stressful or traumatic situation in the past 5 years. Examples include their parents/guardians splitting up, the death of a relative or the gaining of a little brother or sister.

It makes sense because we all respond to stress in very different ways. Some of us use positive behaviours, such as meditation, exercise and talking therapy – all designed to relieve the stress.

Others use negative behaviours such as bullying, violence and alcohol abuse, which temporarily mask the issues but usually make them worse in the long-term.

The research shows that some people simply do not know how to positively respond to stress and so default to bullying others as a coping mechanism.

Aggressive Behaviours:

66% of the people who had admitted to bullying somebody else were male. Take a minute to think about how guys are raised in our culture and compare that to the ways in which girls are raised. The moment a guy starts to show any sign of emotion, he’s told to man up and to stop being a girl.

For girls, it’s encouraged that they speak up about issues that affect them.

For guys, it’s discouraged and so they start to respond with aggressive behaviours, such as bullying, as a way of coping with issues that affect them. This is why guys are more likely than girls to physically attack somebody or to commit crimes. It isn’t something they are born with, it’s a learned behaviour that is actively taught by society using dysfunctional gender norms and roles.

Low Self-Esteem:

In order to mask how they actually feel about themselves, some people who bully focus attention on someone else. They try to avoid any negative attention directed at them by deflecting. But know they might look in the mirror at home and hate the way they look.

There is so much pressure to live up to beauty and fitness standards that we are taught to compare ourselves to others, instead of embracing our own beauty.

They’ve Been Bullied:

Our research shows that those who have experienced bullying are twice as likely to go on and bully others. Maybe they were bullied as kids in the past, or maybe they are being bullied now.

Often it’s used as a defence mechanism and people tend to believe that by bullying others, they will become immune to being bullied themselves. In fact, it just becomes a vicious cycle of negative behaviours.

Difficult Home Life:

1 in 3 of those who bully people daily told us that they feel like their parents/guardians don’t have enough time to spend with them. They are more likely to come from larger families and are more likely to live with people other than their biological parents.

There are often feelings of rejection from the very people who should love them unconditionally. They are also much more likely to come from violent households with lots of arguments and hostility.

Low Access to Education:

Without access to education, hate-based conversation directed at others may be the norm. They may not understand what hate speech is and why speaking about people in a derogatory way is not appropriate.

Relationships:

Finally, those who bully are more likely to feel like their friendships and family relationships aren’t very secure. In order to keep friendships, they might be pressured by their peers to behave in a certain way.

They are more likely to feel like those who are closest to them make them do things that they don’t feel comfortable doing and aren’t very supportive or loving.

man in cap standing in front of a wall featuring art

So there you have it, some of the most common reasons why people bully others.

If you are being bullied, it’s time to put the knowledge to the test. Carry on reading with our article on overcoming bullying. If you are doing the bullying, here are 7 things that you can do to overcome it.


If you are looking for more help – our community is a safe space to discuss your issues and get support from trained digital mentors who will help you without judgement.

Being kind is more important now than ever before. The news is all pretty much doom and gloom, and we’ve all been through a lot in 2020, and it’s only November.

Being kind doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t have to come in the form of some out of this world grand gesture (we’re not saying it can’t either).

Kindness can be something so small that just puts a smile on someone else’s face, because even the tiniest bit of kindness can make a difference.

So, here’s a list of 25 small acts of kindness that you can do to help us in our mission to make the world a better place.

  1. Make someone a cuppa
  2. Donate to an organization
  3. Check in on a friend
  4. Ask people how they really are doing
  5. Smile at someone in the street
  6. Volunteer somewhere that needs help right now
  7. Help out a neighbour
  8. Send someone a little gift to let them know you are thinking about them
  9. Comment something positive on a post
  10. Reconnect with someone you’ve lost contact with
  11. Leave a happy note for a loved one to find
  12. Gift someone something small
  13. Pet a doggy (safely)
  14. Clean up without being asked
  15. Share the kindest thing someone has done for you on social media to inspire other people to take up the mission of #choosekindness
  16. Send a letter for no reason to someone you love 
  17. Pay for the next person’s drive through/coffee/cake or shopping
  18. Be better to the planet and try out a waste-free day or week
  19. Support a local or small business
  20. Design or make something that will show someone you care 
  21. Tell a friend they can always talk to you if they need to 
  22. Encourage others to choose kindness with you on social media 
  23. Tell someone you love them for no reason
  24. Leave a positive review of a business or service you’ve used 
  25. Send someone to our website for support and advice on all kinds of things that they might need help for.

And there you have it – 25 small acts of kindness that could make someone’s day.

Give one of them a go and join in the #ChooseKindness movement. For more information, check out the hub here.

The Dos and Dont’s:

In our research, we found that almost half of us have experienced bullying at one point or another. Given what a high number of people that is, it is still very common to be on the receiving end of advice that although means well, isn’t always very helpful.

We also know that an alarmingly high number of us never report it and suffer in silence instead. If a friend or loved one does decide to open up to you and share what they are going through, sometimes it is hard to know how to appropriately respond.

With this mind we have compiled a list of things to avoid saying to them, as well as a helpful alternative:

1. Don’t say: ‘Ignore it’

This old chestnut can be very damaging. Being told to ignore something that is causing you stress and anxiety is not helpful. Ignoring the bullying unsurprisingly doesn’t actually work and saying something like this might stop them from sharing anything else in the future. This could have a serious effect on their mental health and lead to things such as depression, and more extreme outcomes.

Do say: ‘Let’s talk about it’

This is a way more helpful and compassionate response. Feeling like your voice is being heard is extremely important as it makes us feel less alone. It also lets us know that someone cares and is interested in what’s going on in our life, without looking to fix or dismiss the problem.


2. Don’t say: ‘It’s just a part of growing up’

Whilst experiencing bullying growing up is all too common, it does not mean you have to accept it as a rite of passage. Saying this also offers no advice on how to deal with the problem at hand.

Do say: ‘What’s been going on?’

This question gives the person the opportunity to talk honestly and openly if they wish to get what’s bothering them off of their chest.


3. Don’t say: ‘Stop being so sensitive’

This piece of advice is particularly harmful. It implies it is their reaction to the bullying that is the problem, and that if they were less ‘sensitive’ the issue would magically disappear. This is not the case. You also might embarrass them by referring to their reaction to the situation as ‘sensitive’ as it implies they are overreacting. This might stop them speaking up and seeking help in the future.

Do say: ‘It ok to feel upset/angry’ etc

You need to reassure them that whatever they are feeling is perfectly normal and natural. Try and make them understand that there is no right or wrong when it comes to feelings – all we really need to do is acknowledge them.


4. Don’t say: ‘Just stand up for yourself’

As a piece of advice, this doesn’t work for a few reasons. It can make the person feel powerless as they might not feel able to stand up for themselves or know how to go about standing up themselves. They might also be fearful of the consequences.

Do say: “I’m here for you, what do you want to do about it?”

This lets the person know you care and that you want to help them through this tough situation and most importantly, it is not their fault.


5. Don’t say: ‘Fight back’

Bullying isn’t always something you can meet with force as it can very easily spiral out of control. Often reacting in an aggressive manner can make the situation worse and can put them at risk of physical harm. If they feel it is a safe and appropriate action to take, maybe encourage them to try talking to the person who is doing the bullying.

Remind them to challenge the behaviour, not the person – so instead of accusing the person of being a ‘bully’, explain why their actions or words are causing distress.

For example, instead of saying “you’re upsetting me”, they could say “what you said/did has upset me”. It might be appropriate to suggest that a teacher or responsible adult hosts a mediation between 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.

Do say: ‘How can we deal with this together?’

Understandably it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you are being attacked and therefore they might feel like they are facing the problem alone, with no one they can depend on for support.

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 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.

what to say to someone who is being bullied

6. Don’t say: ‘Just avoid them’

By saying this, you are minimising and undermining the problem. It is also not realistic to think that these situations can be easily avoided. It is better to acknowledge what is happening and try to think of ways to combat or resolve the bullying.

Do say: ‘You don’t deserve to be treated like this’

Remind them that they deserve to be treated with respect. Often people who are bullied can feel like a ‘victim’ but it’s important that they don’t disempower themselves and let the bullying dictate who they are. They need to find ways to regain control, confidence and self-esteem – we have a great guide on how you can rebuild your self-esteem here.

Remind them as often as you can that they are worthy, in control and that things will get better. Head to our blog to read stories of how people have overcome similar situations and gone on to do great things, it will help reassure them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.


7. Don’t say: ‘Telling someone will just make it worse, so don’t bother’

Almost 1 in 2 young people who experience bullying never tell anybody for this very reason. A mixture of embarrassment, fear and a lack of faith in the current support systems stops people reaching out. Please don’t encourage someone to suffer in silence.

Do say: ‘Talk to someone you trust.’

It can feel exposing and uncomfortable talking about our experiences of being bullied, that’s why talking to someone we trust can make a difference.  

It is important they share with someone what they are going through – they shouldn’t go through something like this alone as it is extremely stressful, and can be emotionally draining to endure bullying.

This stress can have an impact on all areas of your life, including your mental well-being, ability to communicate with others, performance in school/work, self-esteem and confidence.

It is therefore incredibly important that they tell somebody they trust about what they are going through; it doesn’t even have to be an adult – it could be a friend or somebody at Ditch the Label. It is vital, during a traumatic time, that they have a support system and people who they can rely on when they are feeling low, or unable to cope.

Join the community to talk to digital mentors or other people who are going through bullying – you do not need to go through it alone anymore… 

Sometimes people just need someone to talk to, someone to trust and confide in, someone to spend time with and talk through their favourite things. Sometimes, we all just need a friend.

So how can we tell if somebody needs a friend right now? Here’s six ways.

1) They get stuck on the negative side of things

If someone in your life is being overwhelmingly negative about stuff that’s going in their lives, they probably need a helping hand to see the brighter side. Sometimes, if there is a lot going on with us, we might only want to stew on the negative stuff and when this happens, finding the positive becomes almost impossible.

If someone is being overwhelmingly negative about what’s going on, reach out and see if they need some cheering up. Chances are, just the gesture of this will make them feel a bit more connected and cared for.

2) They might try really hard to chat when you see them, even if they have nothing much to say

You might think they are just waffling for the hell of it, but when someone feels lonely or like they need a friend, they might just be talking because they really haven’t had the opportunity to say much to anyone at all recently. 

3) They might be spending a little too much time on social media

The thing with social media is that it really isn’t all that social for a lot of us. Sure, the group chat is great, but the rest of it is actually kinda isolating. If someone feels a bit lonely and like they need someone, they might be spending a lot of time on social media because they want to feel connected to something. But watching stories or liking photos doesn’t necessarily mean they are OK, and it actually might be making them feel worse. 

4) You might not hear from them a lot 

This might seem like a bit of a contradiction. Like, if you’re feeling lonely, why would you spend so much time alone? Well it could be that a few symptoms of depression are coming on. Maybe they don’t want to feel like a burden to you and your other pals, and so the only solution in their head is to stay away. They might turn down a lot of offers to hang out in big groups of people as well, which we know can be frustrating when you’re trying to help. Check out this article on how to help a friend who’s isolated themselves. 

5) They might tell a few half truths 

Obviously lying is not a great trait to have in a friend, but sometimes people tell a few half truths when stuff isn’t going great for them. Whether it’s to escape what’s happening, feel better about it or even just get a little bit of love and attention from those close to them, people do it. The important thing is that these are not hurting anyone and that someone speaks to them about how damaging it can be if they carry on with this kind of behaviour. 

6) Overreacting to cancelling plans

If a mate of yours is feeling lonely or isolated, they might really overreact to you cancelling on them. We aren’t saying you should have to do something you can’t or don’t want to all the time, but it’s important to remember that they are probably getting mad at you because it might be the only plans they have had in a while and need someone to talk to or hang out with

Need to talk to someone? You can speak to one of our trained Digital Mentors in confidence here.

Wondering how to help a lonely friend who has isolated themselves? Sometimes, friends can get wrapped up on what’s going on with them and become a bit distant. It can be hard to know if you should even try to help them, let alone how to help them.

Plus, when the nights draw in and everyone decides to stay at home with hot chocolate and the dog, sometimes it’s even pretty hard to tell the friend that’s become isolated from the friends that are just pure chillin’.

Well, in order to tell if they are going through something, take a quick read of this. Feel like you want to help them? Read on.

1) They haven’t become distant to hurt you

When a pal becomes distant or isolated, it can be easy to think that the reason is simply that they no longer want to hang out with you. But, when someone is going through something, they can withdraw from the people around them.

It’s important to remember that they aren’t doing this to hurt you, and they aren’t doing this because they suddenly hate you. 

2) They might just have a lot going on right now 

Life is always about the ups and downs. Sometimes, when we go through a particularly rough patch, we kind of go back to what is familiar and comfortable for all of us, and spend more and more time alone. 

3) Try reaching out in a casual way first like over WhatsApp or Facetime

Talking about what’s going on with us is always a tough one. Try reaching out to them in a casual way first like through WhatsApp or Instagram, just to see if they want to talk. They might not want to, but the action of checking in with them is enough to make them feel like they are not alone for now. 

4) Don’t force them to do things 

So jumping straight on the accelerator might seem like a quick fix for getting them back into the swing of things, but it might not be the best idea. For one, they might have isolated themselves for loads of reasons, and one of them could be anxiety or another issue that makes being around lots of people difficult.

Check out our article on how to help a friend who has social anxiety for some tips and tricks here

5) Be understanding 

Like we mentioned above, jumping in the deep end might not be the best idea. But even asking them over to yours or out for a walk might end up with a resounding ‘no’.

The more someone rejects us like this, it’s super easy to take it personally, but the important thing to remember is that helping most people takes time and patience. Take a step back, take care of you, and then try again a little bit further down the line. 

6) Suggest having a chill meet up and chat about what’s going on 

Ease them into social stuff by asking them for a chill coffee and a chat about what’s been going on with them. Let them choose a space that they feel comfortable in, whether that’s your front room, in the park or in their favourite cafe place, and let them get to talking about it at their own pace. 

7) Read these ideas on how to start the awkward conversations

We know that starting a conversation with anyone about something intense can be difficult. We’ve got you covered though. Give this article a read about how to have a conversation about mental health with someone, because we know it can be really uncomfortable.

Need some confidential advice? Talk to one of our trained Digital Mentors here.