~Help With Bullies & Gossip~

What is a bully?
It's someone who picks on someone else, treats others or certain groups of people inferior, or someone who mocks for no reason. The bottom line is bullies are jealous of other people. They don't have a life, except for picking on others smaller than them. Usually, they'll go after the smaller, meeker kids, the "nice kids" who don't bother anybody. But, instead of giving up your lunch money to these oversized egotists, what can you do?

Remaining a pacifist or remaining neutral, not retaliating, is good idea. Striking back at a bully is not the right thing to do. It doesn't matter if you are bigger than them or you think you can "take them on," you shouldn't lash back. That's pretty much saying that you are no better than them. Instead, try reasoning with them if you have time. Don't be aggressive, but always remain assertive, even under fire.

If it looks like they are going to hurt you, squirm away and don't feel ashamed. You needn't risk a black eye to make a point. If you can't get away and they have you cornered, yell "Fire!" This will get other people's attention and will most likely distract the bully enough so that you can run and get help.

You're not being a tattletale by telling a teacher or superior that someone is causing trouble. You are saving not only yourself but others that the bully may choose to pick on in the future. The bully is weakened with every bad report against him or her. Don't feel bad if others pick on you for yelling for help. Just ignore them because they'd probably do the same if it were happening to them.

Who are bullies?
Most bullies are pictured as big, gristly guys, jocks with big muscles, or something along those lines, but that is not always true. It's not always kids on the playground that are bullies or popular teens in high school. Anyone can bully or be a bully. You may not typically don't see a computer geek picking on some small kid or a math nerd challenging someone in the hallway lockers, but bullying can happen in less obvious ways.

Verbal abuse is a form of bullying. It's very common that girls are catty, often the pretty girls who think more of themselves, and they can throw some pretty harsh words that hurt like a stinging punch. The difference between physical abuse and verbal is that the bruises from a punch will heal, words from a fight won't always. Sometimes you'll carry those hurtful words in your mind for a long time. But, you don't have to.

What do you do when someone starts a verbal fight with you?
Walk away, don't answer them back, or explain you don't want to start a fight. If you tell a superior, they may not understand. A lot of teachers and superiors do not understand just how bad verbal abuse is, but there are some schools now that have developed anti-bully programs against verbal abuse. So, try to tell the teacher what the person said to you, but if it doesn't work, don't give up.

What can you positively do to protect yourself from verbal bullies?
Form a support group with your friends or other kids that have also been verbally assaulted. There is strength in numbers. Having friends who love you can help to heal the scars of the past and help you to look forward. You have a bright future if you remain positive. Attitude is so important when recovering from things people have said to you. Your good attitude will help and protect you. You may even serve as a defense for other kids going through the same thing.

What can you change about myself so no one picks on you?
Doesn't matter your age, looks, height, or interests, there will always be someone who doesn't like something about you and will make fun of you. But, should you fear this? No. You can't get everyone's approval, so why change yourself and be someone you are not? The best way to avoid getting picked on, or rather the best way to avoid getting hurt from when people pick on you, is to be confident in yourself. Not only are people less likely to pick on person who is confident in themselves, but also if you are confident in who you are, what you believe, what you like, then what people say will not have as big of an impact. You will be happy with yourself and not care about what they say.

However, sticks and stones aside, words can hurt. And, even if you are happy with yourself, hurtful comments can sometimes get to us. When this happens, it's important to have a non-judgemental close friend, parent, or sibling to talk to. They will honestly help us to reevaluate ourselves so we can see the good in ourselves and get past whatever comments have hurt us.

What is gossip?
Gossip is another hurtful fiend. It starts out quietly and then spreads like fire. It can ruin reputations and cause shame and heartbreak. Gossip is spreading defaming comments, spoken or in print, about a person or group of people. Harmful gossip are comments that can be 100% true, but still ruin someone's reputation, pointing out flaws or past mistakes. They may have been told to one person in private, but when the confidence was breached, everyone knows. Harmful gossip makes people treat others differently because it slants your view of the person.

It's important not to spread harmful gossip, even if the information is true, because someday it can backfire. As much as you think you don't do anything bad to anybody, talking negatively about others behind their back can hurt them, even years later, and it will hurt you, too. Not only can it ruin your chances of friendship, but it paints you as cruel and immature.

There are always kids, and unfortunately adults, out there that will twist what you say to fit their plots of revenge. Whatever the cost, some people are spiteful, some are jealous, some are angry, some are frustrated. But, it's also important to still avoid gossiping about the gossipers. That weaves an untangleable web that is hard to break free from. Your barrier to harmful gossip is your choice to remain free from any form of it. You don't want to be talked about? Don't talk about others.

Who are gossipers?
It's unfortunate, but the truth is that gossipers don't need to be teenagers. There are plenty of adults that gossip, too. The reason for this is because they could have been bullies as kids and no one taught them a lesson. These kind of people may know what's right and choose to ignore it. It may make them feel bad, cool, or superior. Sometimes they think that they can make things better for themselves by putting others down. Gossip puts others down, too, because it can ruin people's reputation.

Anyone at anytime can be exposed to gossip. If you hear gossip, even good gossip (news that isn't necessarily bad), don't tell others unless you know for a fact that the person wants this news to be spread. Always go back to the source to find out if it's true. Otherwise, you may end up spreading around lies. Verbally spreading lies about someone, even unintentionally, is called slander and it is a punishable crime. Spreading lies about someone in print is called liable, and it can be lawsuit-worthy, depending on the type of comment and degree of defamation. That is why it is important to make sure you always speak (and write) what is true.

Is there any hope for a world without bullies and harmful gossip?
Yes, there is hope. Although bullying and gossip prevail online, at work, and at school, you don't have to take part in it. When at work, where bullies and gossipers run rampant, you can't always squeal to the boss when things go wrong. But you can prepare yourself and learn a productive way to how to deal with bullies, which will help you later in life.

To counteract everyone's behavior, be on the right. Always do what's right, even if you are the only one. Always be honest, caring, and thoughtful of others' feelings. When it comes down to it, if you have nothing else going for you, at least you've personally have done the right thing. That will, someday, make you very valuable to the right kind of people and help you make the right kind of friends.

"Treat others the way you want to be treated" is the Golden Rule, but the Platinum Rule is "Treat others the way they would like to be treated." When you put other people first, you will avoid doing something that will harm them. And, if you slip up and accidentally hurt them, you will be quick to ask for forgiveness and mend your relationship. If everyone did this, there would soon be no more bullies and gossip. So, there is hope that the more people that live by this standard, the happier we all can be.

That is a much better, more hopeful approach than to be a person that hates bullies and then turns into one, mocking the cheerleaders, picking on the nerds, or spreading harmful gossip about who once hurt you. Revenge is never worth it, no matter what television drama would like you to think.

Dear Bullies and Gossipers,

You ruin people's lives with fear and dread.

Stop. Take a step back. Change.

The one thing you have the right to control in life is you. Stop controlling others.

You can't change the world, but you can change you for the better.

Don't be aggressive, be progressive.


Victim Nevermore