A person may be able to deal with bullying in a number of ways, including being assertive, reporting it, and getting advice from others. There are also steps a person can take to help a person experiencing bullying.

Bullying can take place in a number of settings, including at school and at work. It can take a number of different forms, including physical bullying, verbal bullying, and social bullying.

This article outlines ways a person can deal with bullying. It also looks at bullying at school and in the workplace, and provides some tips on ways to help a person who is experiencing bullying.

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If a person is experiencing bullying behavior, there are a number of ways they can consider dealing with it. Below are some helpful tips to help a person address bullying.

Be assertive

Being assertive in the face of bullying behavior may help a person deal with bullying.

Sometimes standing up for oneself and insisting that the bully stops what they are doing may be enough to prevent bullying from continuing.

When confronting the person who is carrying out the bullying, a person should be:

  • calm
  • direct
  • polite

A person should not feel the need to explain their behavior to a person who is bullying them. Instead, they may want to ask the bully to explain their behavior.

Report the bullying

If a person is experiencing bullying behavior, speaking with someone who has authority is a helpful first step.

If bullying is taking place at school, this person could be a school counselor or a teacher. If it is taking place at work, it could be a person in a management role or someone from the human resources (HR) department.

These individuals may be in a position to intervene and help stop the bullying. They may also be able to offer help to the person experiencing bullying to make their daily life easier.

Document the bullying

A person may also wish to document in writing the bullying they have experienced.

This can help them outline the extent of what is happening when discussing it with a person who has the authority to help deal with it.

Each time a person experiences bullying behavior, they may wish to document:

  • the date and time the bullying took place
  • where the bullying took place
  • the details of the bullying itself
  • the names of anyone who witnessed any of the bullying

This information can all be useful if a person does decide to report the bullying.

Save physical evidence of bullying

If there is physical evidence that bullying has occurred, a person should save this evidence.

This means that, when they report the bullying, they have evidence that they can use to prove that their claims are true.

Physical evidence of bullying may include threatening:

  • notes
  • emails
  • text messages

They may also wish to take photographs of any wounds or bruises that developed during the bullying.

Get advice from others

If a person is experiencing bullying behavior, they may wish to reach out to other people for help. Friends or co-workers may be able to offer support that can help the person deal with their experiences.

A person may also wish to speak with a supportive family member who may be able to help.

A person can also speak with their doctor or a medical professional if they find that the bullying is affecting their mental health.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) reports that approximately 30% of adults are experiencing bullying in the workplace in the United States.

Workplace bullying can take many forms. Here are some examples of workplace bullying:

  • Undermining or sabotaging a co-worker’s performance: This can include falsely accusing someone of making mistakes that they didn’t make.
  • Constant criticism: Constantly criticizing a person personally or professionally can be a form of workplace bullying.
  • Willful exclusion: A person may bully a colleague by willfully excluding them from certain situations or meetings. This can also include generally ignoring them.
  • Rumors and gossip: A workplace bully may spread or fail to stop destructive gossip or rumors about a co-worker.
  • General rude behavior: This can include cursing at, threatening, or humiliating others.

A person may want to follow these steps to deal with workplace bullying:

  • Talk with the bully: A person may wish to speak with the bully and describe what has been happening and how it has affected their well-being. In some cases, a person may not realize how their behavior is affecting others. Telling them this may encourage and help them to stop carrying out the bullying behavior.
  • Seek help from others: Speak with someone who may be able to offer advice or help deal with the situation. This person may be:
    • a member of the HR department
    • a manager or supervisor
    • an employee representative, such as a trade union official
  • Make a formal complaint: If the steps above do not work, a person may wish to make a formal complaint and use official channels to deal with the bullying. To do this, a person will need to follow their employer’s official grievance procedure.
  • Take legal action: If a person’s employer does not act to deal with the bullying, they may wish to take legal action. This can include talking with an employment lawyer. A person may wish to ask for professional advice before taking this action.

Bullying at school can take a number of different forms. Common types of bullying behavior at school include:

  • name-calling and public humiliation
  • fighting and physical violence
  • excluding someone from a group or an event
  • gossiping and spreading rumors
  • intimidating behavior
  • stalking and following
  • cyberbullying

Some steps a person may wish to take if they are experiencing bullying behavior at school include:

  • trying to stay calm and walking away
  • reporting bullying to a teacher or school counselor
  • trying to brush off cruel words with humor
  • speaking to others and seeking advice
  • avoiding responding to online bullies
  • avoiding areas where bullying behavior may occur
  • trying to stay surrounded by people to achieve safety in numbers
  • avoiding becoming a bully in response to bullying behavior and not giving in to anger or peer pressure
  • speaking with a doctor if the bullying is affecting their mental health

Helplines and support

STOMP Out Bullying


The National Association of People Against Bullying

No Bully

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (United States)

Crisis Text Line

The Trevor Project (for LGBTQ+ youth)

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

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Learn more about bullying in school and other examples of bullying.

If a person knows someone who is experiencing bullying behavior, they may wish to help them. To do this, they may want to:

  • let them know that they are not alone
  • let them know that the bullying is not their fault
  • offer to help them deal with it
  • validate their emotions
  • organize other people to help confront the bully or speak with people in a position of authority

A person who is experiencing bullying behavior may be too ashamed to ask for help. This means that reaching out and offering help can be vital in helping the person deal with the bullying.

Learn about how bullying can affect people.

A person can deal with bullying behavior in a number of ways. They may wish to be assertive and talk with their bully. They may also wish to report bullying behavior to someone in a position of authority.

If a person is going to report their bullying, they may wish to document it and keep any physical evidence of the bullying behavior, such as threatening notes, emails, or text messages.

If a person witnesses someone else experiencing bullying behavior, they may wish to reach out and offer to help. When helping others who experience bullying behavior, a person can let them know that the bullying is not their fault and offer to help them deal with it.

If bullying is affecting a person’s mental health, they can also contact a doctor for advice.