We all know that bullying is a worrying issue, and it affects the lives of thousands of people. From being bullied at school to being bullied at work, not just by strangers but also by family and friends, it’s a huge problem, and it can affect every one of us. Bullying can be very subtle, and executed in disguise of “just having some fun”.
Use this list to check that you aren’t a bully, and send it to your friends, too. Let’s pledge to end all forms of bullying!
1. You laugh at people
Sometimes people don’t realize what they are doing. They might not mean to bully someone, or think that their behavior isn’t troublesome. One of the common character of a bully is laughing at people who’re upset. I have a friend who stammers when he is very angry, and I know that he finds it hilarious most of the times, but there are times when it is not funny.
When you see someone who looks like they need some support, be the person who checks that they are okay, and not the person mocking at their helplessness.
2. You thrive on rumors
Rumors are a great networking tool and we can’t help it. People like to think that they know something, that they’ve been trusted with special knowledge. But often when the same is told out of context, the truth isn’t recognizable anymore.
Avoid spreading rumors. Listen, if you have to, but keep it to yourself and don’t pass it on.
3. You pick on someone’s style
Yes, you might have meant it in jest, or as a friendly advice. Nobody really needs to know that you don’t like their pants, though, or that their attempt at low-key casual look actually looked like they’d just got up from the bed and come out.
Are we the fashion police? If not, shall we keep it zipped? It’s got so much potential to go wrong that you’re just better off avoiding the whole thing.
4. You use bad words
Another common bully situation is the use of mean and bad words. So many women I know personally admit being called a slut, bitch, or whore at some point in their lives by their peers, close friends and even partners. Many more have been branded ugly, fatso, only bones, or flat chested, or bulldozers. Most admit that the person probably hadn’t meant it to be offensive – but that it had hurt anyway.
We can easily fall into the habit of using bad words without meaning them. And it’s important to know that while the intent may not be there, bad words leave a lasting impact.
So shall we throw those bad words out of our vocab?
5. You ignore people
We often meet people only to later realise we don’t really want to do anything with them. And what’s the best way to avoid them in social places? Ignore and give a cold shoulder. But it can be very upsetting for the person, especially if they don’t understand the reason.
Other times, we do it solely to avoid an argument, except it never turns out to be a good way either.
If you must make the disconnect, do it slowly. Don’t just freeze people out.
6. You hide behind your keyboard
Cyber bullying is really common these days especially when we live in the virtual world much more than in the real world. It’s such an easy space to misunderstand people and even have misguided notions or misplaced confidence; that few sharp words can also come across as a knife to someone’s sentiments.
Cyber bullying is just as painful to its victims as in-person bullying. And the space is not limited to a few but a hundreds of viewers who are watching the drama between you two.
I, for one, make sure I check every single post, tweet and text, just to ensure that I’m not being mean for the sake of it. Do you?
7. You playfully humiliate
We all tease and joke with our friends. It’s just what people do. But if you’re trying to embarrass or humiliate someone, you’ve probably taken it too far. That’s not okay, even if you dress it up as a joke.
Make sure that everyone is finding this type of thing funny, including the person that you are teasing, and make sure that they are taking it in the way that you intend it.
Being a bully is easier than it seems. It is incredibly easy to dismiss bullying and say that you are smarter than that, but if we all checked our behavior occasionally, there would be a lot fewer victims!
Make sure that you aren’t making someone feel bad, accidentally or deliberately.
And if you are being bullied, speak out. There is support, and it’s worth it.