Bullying doesn’t disappear when you leave the playground. It can carry on into adulthood, in the workplace, in the family and on social media. There is an underbelly of tactical bullying of others on socials that carries on beneath the filters and the niceties. After my recent post as ambassador for Kidscape I received a huge response from people who wrote me to say that they were still going through bullying now in their lives by so called “friends”. It is a sad fact that sometimes people in your life who claim to be your friends can show bullying behaviour. I know this full well and I am proud to say the ones in my life right now are the ones who truly want the best for me. My circle is smaller and I like it that way. In pop culture, we call toxic friends “frenemies”. They might say “brutally honest” things to you which are unkind or hurtful. They manipulate you or pressure you to do things you don’t want to do. They put you down, laugh at you and talk about you behind your back. They deliberately exclude you from group chats and activities. Both off and online. They generally make you feel bad about yourself. If you think you might have a friend who has been overstepping the mark; remember the problem isn’t YOU.
Hold on to that thought.
Their behaviour might make you feel bad, but THEY need to change, not you.
- Talk to them about how their behaviour makes you feel. Their response will tell you a lot. Sometimes our behaviour hurts others without us realising. A good friend will be sorry that they made you feel bad, and not do it again. But it might actually be time to move on and make new friends; you deserve people in your life who support you and make you feel good about yourself.
- Don’t ever retaliate; you’re only showing the same behaviour you found difficult in them. After the friendship ends, your former ‘frenemy’ might lash out, or spread false rumours about you. Balderdash let them, in time they’ll get bored and move on, but if the bullying persists for you or your child Kidscape can help you.
Know your worth and “stay close to the ones that help you” not hinder you.
By Olga Thompson, Kidscape ambassador.