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Why do people bully others?

These are some common reasons.


  • They themselves have been bullied. I was so sick and tired of being mistreated by my peers that I began to bully others just to fit in,” admits a young man named Antonio. “Later I looked back and realized how wrong it was to do that!

  • They have poor role models. Many times young bullies treat other people . . . the way they see their parents, older brothers and sisters, or other family members treat others,” writes Jay McGraw in his book Life Strategies for Dealing With Bullies.

  • They act as if they are superior—and yet they’re insecure. Kids who bully have an air of superiority that is often a mask to cover up deep hurt and a feeling of inadequacy,” notes Barbara Coloroso in her book The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander.

  • What can you do if you’re bullied?

    Don’t react. Bullies want to know that they’ve succeeded in making you feel bad about yourself,” says a young woman named Kylie. “If you don’t react, they lose interest.".

  • Don’t retaliate. Revenge will add to the problem, not solve it.

  • Don’t walk into trouble. To the extent possible, avoid people and situations where bullying may occur.

  • Try an unexpected response.

  • Use humor. For example, if a bully asserts that you’re overweight, you could simply shrug your shoulders and say, "whatever"

  • Walk away. Silence shows that you are mature and that you are stronger than the person harassing you,” says 19-year-old Nora. “It demonstrates self-control—something the bully doesn’t have.

  • Work on your self-confidence. Bullies notice when you aren’t relaxed,” says a girl named Rita, “and they might use that to destroy whatever self-confidence you have.

  • Tell someone. According to one survey, more than half of all victims who are bullied online don’t report what’s going on, possibly because of shame (especially for boys) or fear of retaliation. But remember, bullies thrive on secrecy. Speaking up can be the first step to ending the nightmare.