1. Check yourself
If you feel you are being bullied, the first thing to do is to take inventory of any ways you might be contributing to the challenging situation. It could be that you are doing nothing to provoke the bullying (which is often the case), but the point here is to truly size up the situation and take responsibility if you might be contributing to the difficult exchange in any way. From that perspective, you can determine the best way to deal with the situation.
Tip: Do keep in mind that people make mistakes. Take a moment to size up the situation and determine if the “bullying” was simply a one-time incident due to someone having a bad day. If yes, then consider letting it go and moving on.
2. Don’t take it personally
This can be difficult for many, but it’s important that you don’t take bullying personally. Remember, when someone is bullying you, it’s more about them than it is about you. Often, a bully is acting from a place of insecurity and/or from a need to control. Practice having healthy emotional boundaries that keep you from reacting or feeling bad about yourself when bullying occurs.
3. Address the issue head on
This won’t always be possible or comfortable, but if it is, speak up and stand your ground when communicating with a bully. Fran Hauser, author of “The Myth of the Nice Girl,” suggests using the following phrases when dealing with someone who is not treating you appropriately:
- “Please don’t talk to me that way.”
- “Let’s try to get this conversation to a place where it can be productive.”
- “Let’s take a break and come back to this later.”
4. Take action before it has a negative impact on you
Understandably, many individuals are unclear or uncomfortable about speaking up when they are being bullied. Long-term bullying, however, can have a negative impact on your overall well-being. Take care of yourself and develop an action plan to address the concern. If you’d like to discuss and even practice some possible approaches in a safe and confidential manner, contact your AFA EAP/PS committee at 800-424-2406.