We see a lot of this kind of thing on the TV or in Netflix shows, where someone challenges someone they have a problem with for a fight at the school gates or down the park after the bell has rung. But life is not a TV show, and getting into a fight can be extremely dangerous, for you, for the other person, for bystanders and for your future. Here’s what you can do if this were to ever happen to you.
Try to reason with the person challenging you
The odds are that they don’t have a real reason for wanting to do this. It could be because they are angry at something else going on in their lives and need somewhere to take it out, or because they believe some gossip about you. Of course, these are not excuses for acting this way, as it is NEVER ok to threaten violence against somebody, but it might mean there is a way you can reason with them.
If that doesn’t work, make sure you stay safe in the here and now
You need to keep yourself safe if you do try to reason with them. If they start squaring up to you or appear angry and aggressive, walk away and get somewhere safe. Removing yourself from the situation is the quickest way to diffuse the tension and aggression, and will give you an opportunity to get some help if you feel you need it.
Let someone you trust know that this is the situation you are in
It is scary and you might feel like telling anyone will make it worse, but letting friends and trusted adults know can only help you. Friends can help you figure out ways to avoid the person and support you and have your back. Trusted adults can give you advice, or potentially speak with the person involved. Either way, you have nothing to lose by telling someone.
If confrontations continue, make sure you report it to the school
It might feel like reporting it to your school or college will make it worse, but anti-bullying policies have come a long way. They will have a specific protocol for what to do when someone is threatening violence, and so you should give them a chance to follow that. It will help to keep you as safe as possible in and around school, meaning you can focus on studying and seeing mates, not panicking about if you might run into them.
And you can always talk to us
We are here for you if you need us. Reach out on our community and we will support you with free confidential advice.
You might think that this kind of issue counts as bullying, but all the usual things that a perpetrator of bullying does are present in a scenario like this. They threaten, intimidate, scare, and abuse you. It counts.
This Anti-Bullying Week, we are tackling the BIG issues. For more, check out our dedicated bullying hub here.