What To Do when Bullied
Nate Webb from Bullies Be Gone is a high school counselor and a bully expert. In this episode, Part 2, Nate discusses:
- What to do if you’re bullied
- What to do if you’re the one acting like a bully or mean girl
Our interview continues with bully expert and high school counselor Nate Webb! @BulliesBe.Gone
If someone is experiencing bullying, if girls have a mean girl that is continuously targeting them, whether in person or online, what shouldn’t they do in response?
NATE: Don’t respond! A) Don’t respond, don’t engage! That is numero uno. But they definitely should talk to somebody about it. Tell your mom or dad what’s going on.
Isn’t that snitching? That’s “not cool,” Nate!
NATE: What are you talking about? You know what, snitches don’t get stitches hardly ever, unless you are in an episode of “CSI Miami.” No, you need to talk to people about your issues. Sorry people, but it’s okay to talk about people, it’s cool to talk about your issues. If you’re getting bullied, numero uno, talk to an adult, tell someone that you trust that something’s going on that you don’t know what to do. They can help guide you.
If you’re being bullied, talk to someone.
If that adult is like, “I don’t know what to do …”
Or, “Ignore them, it’ll just go away!” Because that’s what I remember hearing when I was a kid. “Well, just ignore them and they’ll stop.” But what if it doesn’t stop? What if it keeps happening?
NATE: Right. It’s all about communication. I had a parent from a PTA (Parent Teachers Association) in Utah reach out to me. I’d spoken at their school, and a year or so later she’s, “My son is just getting mistreated by this one kid who just is relentless and won’t leave him alone.” And I’m like, “Well, has he asked him why?” She’s like, “I don’t know.” I’m like, “Well, something you could do is, both sets of parents get in the same room, both kids get in the same room, and the moms are just gonna chill in the back and make sure a war doesn’t break out, but the kids are just going to talk. ‘Why are you treating me like this?’ ‘Well, you did something in second grade that really made me mad so it frustrates me and that’s why I’ve been mad at you all these years.’ ‘Oh my gosh, I had no clue. I’m so sorry.’”
If people can learn to communicate their emotions instead of hiding behind a phone, we’re gonna have a lot less bullies and a lot more empathy.
And being assertive, not just like taking the hits like, okay I deserve it. Because no one deserves to be treated that way. But knowing who you are allows you to stand up for yourself. Otherwise, you’re just gonna let people keep kicking you around.
NATE: Right. Yeah, you definitely need to stand up and let people know, “Hey, I’m not your puppet. I’m sorry you don’t know who you are and that’s why you’re treating me so badly.
And I wish you well, but I’m not your puppet. I’m not going to stand for this anymore. I really don’t like it when you talk to me like that. If you continue, then I’m gonna have to let somebody know, because it’s not right.”
It’s Not Cool
It’s not right. And I know kids worry about, “Well, it’s not cool to tell someone,” or, “I don’t want to ruffle feathers.”
NATE: It’s also not cool to be a jerk!
Yes, it’s not cool to be a mean girl! It’s really not. And that’s being assertive for yourself, respecting yourself. Honestly, mean girls don’t end after you graduate high school. Okay. Mean girls happen in college. Mean Girls happen when you’re a young mom. Mean girls happen when you are a seasoned parent. It’s something that you need to learn to handle otherwise you’re just going to keep getting kicked around.
NATE: There are lots of Karens in this world, and they don’t drop off after high school. But — through kindness, they can change. That’s something that I hit hard on. Yeah, there’s a lot of mean people in this world. Do you know they’re mean? Because they don’t have enough kindness in their life. So me and you, we’re part of the same church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And it’s like, “Well, kill them with kindness!” We’d hear that all the time growing up. And I thought that was so morbid, I was like, “Say what now? Do what with what?” That sounds really like an oxymoron, “I’m going to murder this person with what?” But it’s because the old mean them essentially is dying when they find out that kindness makes them so much more happy than unkindness. So if they’re like, “What do I do? Someone’s being so mean to them?” “Well, what can you do to serve them? What can you do to show them some kindness?”
Because it’s the last thing they expect.
NATE: Oh yeah. And for the vast majority of the people who are mean, if you had an inside scoop of their whole life, you’d be like, “Oh gosh, I’ll take getting picked on by you every day. I would not want to have your life.”
There’s always something going on in the background that we are unaware of.
It’s usually not about the person who’s being picked on, who’s being targeted by a bully or mean girl. There is always something else, but it’s hard to recognize that. You feel like it’s so personal, you feel like it’s about you, like that’s why it keeps happening to you. But if you realize everybody is struggling, everybody’s insecure in middle and high school. Everybody’s trying to figure stuff out, and there are other hard, bigger things happening, and we just sometimes don’t know how to handle it. And that somehow seems like the easiest way, but it’s not, it doesn’t solve anything.
If You’re Acting Like a Bully
What if girls realize that they are the ones acting like a bully, what would you say to them?
NATE: Well, you gotta pull up your big girl pants and go say sorry. I would say A) Just because you’ve been mean to other people doesn’t make you a bad person. I don’t want people to start becoming bullies to themselves because of their past. We all have made mistakes in our past, but learn from it and move forward. Make it right. Talk to the people that you have wronged and express your sorrow. When I was changing who I was, telling crass jokes, being mean to people to see if the mean people would be nice to me, it didn’t work out. I had to humble my hind end down and say, “I’m so sorry for the way I treated you, man. I’ve been super insecure lately because of some things going on, but it doesn’t give me a right to treat you that way. I’m so sorry.” It is so hard to apologize and admit when you’ve done something wrong, but it will cause you to grow in a way that you will not experience unless you do that.”
It takes a lot of humility to do that. But otherwise it’ll just keep eating at you. The guilt will just keep nagging at you forever, so even if it’s been a while, it’s not too late. And you never know, you could make a best friend out of it. It’s just kind of funny how things, at least in my life, worked out. Me and this girl, we didn’t like each other because we liked the same guy. Oh, and I say guy but this was a boy, this was when we were 13. And so we automatically put walls up, didn’t like each other because we both liked this one boy.
NATE: And did he pick either one of you??
NO! Which is ridiculous. This girl later became literally my best friend in high school. We were in a class together in high school, and we’re like, “Okay we’ll put off those childish things,” since we were no longer interested in that boy. We discovered that we had a lot more in common, we had a lot more we like and appreciated about each other. We were able to foster this beautiful friendship, and we’re still good friends today. Wow, what if I would have just left that grudge, I would have missed out on a lot of wonderful experiences.
NATE: Oh yeah, 100% of the time when it comes to conflict,
If we seek first to understand, instead of seeking to be understood, we will always make progress. But if we seek to be understood before we seek to understand, we will never get anywhere.
That is deep. Nate, it has been an absolute pleasure talking with you and learning more from you. I want our girls to be able to also find you and find your podcast. So, where can they get more of this wisdom from you?
NATE: Absolutely. So, on Instagram you can find me @bulliesbe.gone. I have a website: http://bulliesbgone.com/ . My podcast is called, “Teaching Kindness: The Bullies Be Gone Podcast.” So you just put “Teaching Kindness” in the search bar in Spotify or Apple Music or whatever you use, and I’ll pop up there. So if you want your daily dose of positivity just go check me out.
Nate, I’m so glad we could have you as our first guest on the show. We really appreciate your thoughts!
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