Let’s start with the two things you absolutely should NOT do if you are singled out by a bully:
Don’t waste time and energy thinking of ways to defeat a bully. The potential risks outweigh any potential benefits. Concentrate instead on:
· Avoiding the bully
· Depriving him of the reaction he wants
· If necessary, bringing adults in to resolve the situation
If you find yourself confronted by a bully, the best thing to do is simply walk away, preferably without reacting, as though the bully were invisible and inaudible. That’s one response he or she is probably not prepared for.
If circumstances demand a reaction, dismiss the encounter with a comment like “Yeah, whatever.” or “Talk to me later. I haven’t got time right now.” And keep walking.
If your way is blocked, stay calm. The bully is looking for an emotional response—fear, anger, frustration, tears—to prove he is dominating the situation. If you respond calmly and unemotionally, you are denying him what he wants.
Some sources suggest humor as a response. But that approach is of limited practical value. If the humor is directed at the bully, and elicits a laugh at his expense from onlookers, he may react physically. Self-deprecatory humor on the part of the victim may come off as cringing. It would take a truly witty victim to walk the fine psychological line required to defuse a bullying situation with humor.
If you are bullied, make a written record of the event(s).
Be careful who gets your phone number and email address. If someone starts harassing you over the phone or by email, they may be committing a crime. Report it to police.
Make friends. Bullies often single out kids who don’t seem to have friends
Join clubs, social groups, sports teams, after-school programs, church or community groups
· Check out your body language. Walking with your head down, avoiding eye contact, fidgeting and other behavior that suggests uncertainty might cause a bully to single you out.
· Speak firmly and confidently, so you don’t seem intimidated. Prepare something to say in advance
In an extreme situation, you might want to consider assertiveness training, which will equip you to respond to verbal harassment.