You’re A Bully
- If you take pictures of strangers without their permission and post them on the internet to make fun of them, you’re a bully.
- If you talk trash about your friends or coworkers with mutual friends/coworkers when they aren’t there to defend themselves, you’re a bully.
- If you use sarcasm, gaslighting, insults, and other snotty remarks to shame people in front of others, you’re a bully.
- If you are dismissive of another person’s thoughts or feelings in front of others, while listening and respecting the thoughts/feelings of those other people, you’re a bully.
- If you use manipulation, hurtful words, or other power plays to make others feel small and yourself feel bigger, you’re a bully.
- If you do to others what you wouldn’t want done to yourself, you’re a bully.
I’ve been a victim. Hell, even though I should know better, I’ve made other people into victims on occasion (especially in childhood/adolescence). But no more. NO MORE BULLYING. This isn’t a kid’s issue. Adults are just as guilty. Sites like People of Wal-Mart (no, I will not link it for you – it’s despicable) are perfect examples of how disgusting we grown-ups can still be, years after we should have matured past bullying. We tell ourselves we only make fun of people who “deserve” it. We giggle and say “they brought it upon themselves for wearing that/doing this/etc.” Enough lame-ass excuses.
Criticize when criticism is needed (and especially if you’re pointing out bullying). But do it with respect, and remember that bullying is not the same as criticism.
Yes, some people will get their feelings hurt by criticism. They will feel sensitive, defensive, and perhaps lash out. They might even claim you’re picking on them, bullying them even. You cannot control how people react to you.
But if you can read the checklist above with a clear conscience then you’ve done almost all any person can reasonably be expected to do.
But there is one more thing you can do.
When you see bullying, SAY SOMETHING.
You won’t be popular for it (no-one likes to have their “fun” spoiled). People will accuse you of having no sense of humor, of lecturing, or maybe just accuse you of being annoying. People will defend themselves. They’ll argue they did nothing wrong.
But they WILL remember what you said. They may never admit out loud that you were right, but some people, some times, WILL change their future behavior.
The victim may never know you stood up for them.
But YOU’LL know. The bully will know. The bystanders will know.
And in your own small way, you’ll make a difference, be an example (not only to the children in your life, but to the adults around you as well), and be a hero.
I wish someone had been a hero to me.
If you’d like to pledge to yourself, and to the world, that you’ll give your all to make sure you don’t bully ever again; bookmark this post. Save it for later when you need to share this checklist with somebody else. Tweet it, share it on Facebook, link it on your blog. Spread the word. Take the NO BULLYING ZONE icon and stick it on your blog (copy and paste the code from my sidebar). Write you own post about your bullying experiences. Make the NO BULLYING ZONE a movement.