Wouldn’t it be great to live a life in which no one ever made fun of you, pushed you around, spread nasty rumors about you, made insulting gestures, or excluded you from their group?
You may be able to get your school to punish kids for bullying you, but that is not going to make anyone like you, respect you, or want to be your friend. In fact, it will make kids hate you and want to beat you up or get you in trouble.
There are two things you should think about:
- Winning and losing
- Friends and enemies
Winning and Losing
Would you like people to think of you as a “wimp,” “nerd,” “sucker” or “loser?” Then you shouldn’t be thinking of people as “bullies” either. Why should they want to be nice to you if you think of them in such an insulting way?
It’s more useful to think of people as “winners” and “losers” rather than “bullies” and “victims.” Life is like a game; the bullies are winning, which is why they’re having a great time, and the victims are losing, which is why they are miserable. If you are a victim, you really wish you could be winning, but it’s impossible to win if you don’t know the rules of the game. To win, you don’t have to be bigger, stronger or smarter than your bullies. All you need is understand the rules for winning, and no one will be able to defeat you.
Friends and Enemies
You want people to treat you like a friend. Enemies hurt you and make you miserable. But can you get people to treat you like a friend if you treat them like an enemy? Of course not. They will treat you right back like an enemy. The only reliable way to get people to treat you like a friend is if you treat them like friends. This principle is known as “the Golden Rule.”
It’s very obvious to you that your bullies are treating you like an enemy. What you don’t realize is that you are treating them like an enemy, too. Do you get angry with your bullies? Do you defend yourself from them? Are you afraid of them? Do you hate them and try to get revenge? Do you try to get them in trouble with the teacher or principal? If so, you are treating them like enemies. You must stop doing these kinds of things. Just because they may have been the first to treat you like an enemy, it doesn’t make it right to treat them back like enemies. You must treat them like friends even when they treat you like an enemy. You will discover that before long everyone likes and respects you, and they stop trying to be mean to you.
So how should you treat people like friends when they bully you? The single most important thing is to refuse to get angry or upset. The following are some winning ways to handle situations:
Someone calls you “fat.” Respond: “I wish I could be skinny like you.”
Someone insults your race or religion. Respond: “You know, a lot of people think that way about us. Do you have any idea why?”
A kid pushes you or hits you. Respond: “Are you mad at me?” If they aren’t, they’ll realize they have no good reason to keep on attacking you, and they’ll leave you alone. If they are mad, they’ll tell you why. Then apologize if you did something wrong.
A kid threatens you, “Give me you lunch money or I’ll beat you up after school.” Respond: “I wish I could buy you lunch, but I can’t. If you want, though, you can come over my house for dinner. My mom’s a real good cook!”
Kids bring you a rumor, for instance, “I heard that you wet your bed at night.” Respond: “Do you believe it?” If they say, “Yes,” answer, “You can believe it if you wish,” and you win. If they answer, “No,” you also win.
Kids tell you, “You can’t be in our group anymore.” Respond: “Then I won’t be in the group.” If they see you don’t care, they are more likely to want you to stay in the group.
Kids try to force you to choose between friends, for instance, “You can’t be my friend if you’re going to be Jamal’s friend.” Respond: “I will always consider you my friend, but if you can’t be my friend because of Jamal, that’s your choice.” You must refuse to choose. Make it clear that it is the other person’s choice, not yours.
Whenever you are having a problem with someone, remember the Golden Rule and you will always be a winner!
Israel “Izzy” Kalman is Director of Bullies to Buddies, Inc., and creator of www.bullies2buddies.com where you can find a wealth of useful information on bullying.