Conflict ResolutionMental HealthSafety Tips

How to Handle a Bully

By February 3, 2014 No Comments

Is someone bullying you? Trying to take advantage? Get what they want, at your expense? Here are a few tips on how to respond to bullying – without being a bully!

If someone says or does something you don’t want, for example, judging, dictating, manipulating, deceiving, avoiding, guilting or intimidating you, stay calm and use these phrases, which have been collected by a relationship and communication expert:

  1. Ask about the situation: “Excuse me, what’s this about?”, “Where are you going with this?”, “What are you suggesting?”
  2. If bullying behaviour continues, initiate problem-solving: “Is there a problem?”, “Let’s talk it over”, “Let’s find a way to make this work for both of us.”
  3. If bullying continues, tell the bully this is not acceptable: “I don’t understand. You don’t want this to work for both of us? You really don’t care about my needs in this situation? And you think that’s okay?”
  4. If bullying continues, initiate problem-solving again: “I’m hoping there’s a way we can make this work for both of us.”
  5. If bullying continues, tell the bully this is not acceptable: “You don’t want this to work for both of us? Tell me, how do you feel when people treat you this way? And you think that’s okay to do to me? You think you’re entitled to do that?”
  6. Finally, “I’m willing to work on this together, like it’s a two-way street, but this feels like a one-way street to me. This really doesn’t work for me. If you’re not willing to work together with me, I’ll take it up with the team/boss/university/police. If you change your mind, and you’d like to find a way to make this work for both of us, I’d love to hear from you. Goodbye.”

There you have it! Most bullies will leave you alone soon after an exchange like this begins, so it’s unlikely you’ll have to get all the way to the end of this script. But it’s nice to know what your options are if things get out of control.

photo credit: Lisa monster via photopin cc

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