Let’s destroy the stigma that comes with the word “bullied.” It can happen to anyone, by anyone, anywhere – for any reason. Bullying can be faceless and consequently, you may or may not know you are being bullied.
For this reason, being bullied by someone you consider a friend can be a real blind spot for most of us; it’s harder to detect, subtle in nature and can take a while to get our attention. After all, they’re a friend – right?
Here’s what you can do if you’re being bullied by a friend…
Don’t laugh it off.
Nobody wants to be that friend that can’t take a joke so part of the problem is we laugh along with them when a joke is made at our expense as a way of diffusing the awkwardness and tension. But the major downside is your laughter will give the impression that you’re cool with the mean jokes. You are 100% allowed to not find something funny and tell your friend. The reason it feels hard is we can’t control other people’s reactions so the fear lies behind not knowing how they will react.
We need to talk.
Try being honest with your friend and let them know how they have made you feel. Make sure you have the conversation somewhere private where you won’t be interrupted.
The best advice is to be direct, keep it short and stick with how it makes you feel instead of blaming them. If they are genuinely apologetic they will make an effort to tone it down. If not, it is likely they will get defensive and deny doing anything to hurt your feelings. Whatever the outcome, what matters is you have said something and taken action.
Stand up for yourself.
Easier said than done when it comes to our friends being the ones that are giving you a hard time. But the bottom line is that this will not be the last time you have to stand up for yourself and so you might as well start getting good at it now. One of the best things I ever did was learning how to speak up when it matters, its nobody else’s responsibility to say what’s not okay for you, but your own.
Know when to walk away.
This is rarely an easy call to make especially with old friends or if we have put all our eggs in one basket. Think twice about friendships where you feel criticized, ignored, gossiped about, judged, manipulated, made fun of or left out.
It’s not me it’s you.
It can be a scary prospect standing up for yourself or walking away from somebody who you considered a friend but your esteem and integrity are much more important than trying to keep somebody happy who doesn’t give a damn about you. If you’re unsure if they really are your friend have a read of this article.
Don’t ignore your feelings.
Don’t ignore your feelings when someone makes you feel bad about yourself. Do you have any friends that after spending time together you feel worse than you did before? Do you feel nervous around them because you don’t know what they are going to say or do? Bullying affects our overall happiness and confidence. So we must check in with ourselves and not ignore our emotions. The worse the bullying gets – the worse we begin to feel. A friend makes you feel happy, liked, appreciated and confident.
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If you are being bullied, you do not need to go through it alone. If you ever need help, Ditch the Label are here for you. You can join our community here.