I think I first heard the term “bully” in elementary school. I’m guessing that’s about when you first heard it, too. The teachers would press on about what bullies were and what to do if you were confronted with one. Walk away, ignore them, tell a teacher or a parent.
Cyber bullies, playground bullies, classroom bullies, neighbourhood bullies, verbal bullies, physical bullies. Essentially, we were vulnerable to mean people in any area of our lives.
Have you been bullied?
I have! And frankly, it feels like crap, both then and now.
In university, what is a bully?
In my opinion, anyone who makes you feel bad repeatedly is a bully. Manipulation, microaggressions, not taking accountability for actions, and talking badly behind someone’s back
are just some examples of “bully” characteristics.
Nobody wants to feel hurt, so we shouldn’t hurt each other. Logical, right? Being conscious of our actions and our words is the first step to stopping this cycle and not being a bully. This goes back to some rules like treating others the way you want to be treated, and if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Inclusivity, genuineness, and mindful language are a few things we can practice to combat being a bully.
If you feel like you’re being bullied, you don’t need to stand for it. Depending on the situation and how hurt you are feeling, there are ways to deal with it. While this does include avoiding the bully or cutting them out of your life, you also have the option of talking to them about it, standing up for yourself instead of quietly letting it happen. As university students, most of us should be mature enough to talk to each other about what kind of treatment is and is not okay.
A few phrases you can use, for starters:
“It’s not okay when you…”
“I feel hurt when…”
“I don’t understand why…”
I’m not a counsellor or an expert on this topic. How you handle your bullies is entirely up to you, but I do want to tell you: you do not have to stand for being hurt. Your feelings are valued. You are important. And you are allowed to speak up.