October is National Bullying Prevention Month. You might think bullying is something that only children have to worry about but adults experience bullying as well. An adult bully can be an intimidating boss or colleague, a controlling partner or friend, a rude neighbor, a high-pressure sales/businessperson, a family member who ridicules you, or a shaming social acquaintance. Another type of bully is a cyberbully who uses harassing emails, text messages, and social media to intimidate you. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on you including physical, psychological, social, or professional harm.
If you are being bullied, the following strategies may help you.
- Pick and choose your battles. Choosing how to react depends on the number of times and severity of the bullying. If it is not excessive or harmful and you only see the bully occasionally (at work or occasional personal events), you may want to just keep your distance.
- Make eye contact. Eye contact can be significant, bullies act bolder when they can’t see your face or your eyes.
- Contact your HR department. Ask if you can move your work area away from the bully or limit your interactions with them whenever possible. If you feel like the situation hasn’t improved – consider changing departments or roles.
- Document the offenses. Document every single offense and screen shot or print any online contact. Keep the records for as long as possible. You may need these records if you want to file a complaint at work, contact an attorney for personal non-work situations or for a police report if the bully’s actions are emotionally or physically damaging.
- Block a cyberbully from phone, text, email, and social media!