Quiet Defense

Sometimes standing up to a bully isn’t easy. Someone might be afraid that the bully will turn on them, or they’ll lose friends, or something else will go wrong. Or they might think the person being bullied should take care of themselves and not have any help. This doesn’t only apply in school, by the way. I’m… um, well, I’m old, but I’ve still had experiences within the past couple of years where someone my age was being bullied, and people just watched and didn’t intervene.

To address the “take care of yourself” thing… If you think seeing someone else being bullied is difficult, think about what it’s like to be the person who’s getting bullied. Standing up for yourself can be dangerous too. And feeling like you’re alone and no one else cares what happens to you makes it worse.

You don’t have to put yourself way out there to defend someone who’s being bullied or to show your support. There are simple, quiet ways to let people know you’re there for them, or to show a bully their behavior isn’t acceptable.

The easiest way is to just be friendly to the person. Say hello to them. Walk down the hall with them. Sit with them at lunch. Sometimes that’s really all it takes. You don’t have to be loud or confrontational. You don’t have to tell a bully to leave someone alone. Just show the person who’s being bullied that they aren’t alone and that not everyone is a bully. And just that might help.