Challenging bullying face-to-face

Posted on April 19, 2019 by The PROJECT ROCKIT team

1950s style illustration of a woman saying "the 1950s called. They want their insults back."
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you really disagree with what’s going on around you, but don’t know how to challenge things? Actually we really want to know…

Quiz Time!

Have you ever seen bullying happen and disagreed but not known what to do about it?




Well, that’s most people. Here are our top tips for tackling bullying in really simple ways.

Give a dirty look

Body language says a lot about a person. Instead of laughing along when you see bullying happen, try giving a dirty look. Or if dirty looks aren’t your bag, cross your arms and shake your head (the old ‘parental head-shake,’ which says “I’m not angry, I’m disappointed”).

Give a comeback

Have you ever thought of the perfect thing to say to stand up to bullying but it was too late? That’s why it’s good to be prepared with a comeback ahead of time. Comebacks don’t put the other person down, they just act like a verbal shield to deflect whatever the other person said. Comebacks differ from insults in several ways:

A table illustrating that the difference between comebacks and insults is that comebacks are part of the solution to bullying, while insults are part of the problem

Find an ally

If you’re being bullied, make sure you have an ‘ally.’ This person doesn’t have to be your friend, they might be someone who you’ve seen stand up for others, someone who speaks out against hate. Ask if they’d feel ok about standing up for you or challenging the group who’s giving you a hard time. Sometimes it’s easier to stand up for someone else than it is for yourself.

Stand next to the person being bullied

Instead of standing in the crowd, grab a mate and stand next to the person being bullied. You don’t need to say anything full-on, your presence alone is a clear message that you disagree with the behaviour and are supportive of the person being targeted. Just remember not to get violent, we strongly discourage picking a fight for a few reasons.

  1. You’re likely to get hurt and to hurt others
  2. You’re likely to get in trouble
  3. You’re likely to get a reputation as the person who always retaliates, which means others will often pick fights with you. This rep is really difficult to shake and can last the whole way throughout school.

Text or call the person being bullied

Even if you’re not confident enough to stand up for someone in the heat of the moment, you can still be part of the solution to bullying by supporting someone who’s going through a hard time.

Nobody deserves to go through bullying alone.

Pick up the phone, chat online or best of all, speak face to face so that they can see in your eyes that you’re being real with them. We know it can be awkward, but sometimes “I hope you’re ok” or “you’re not alone” is just what they need to hear.

Talk to the right adult

Ok, we’ve all been told to talk to an adult when times are tough, but sometimes people worry that adults will actually make things worse. That’s why our hot tip is to make sure you talk to the right adult and tell them how you’d ideally like the situation to be handled. And if you don’t get the help you need, talk to someone else!

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