Tip #2 – Use your voice. Using your voice to stand up for yourself is very empowering. Here are 3 ways to use your voice when dealing with MEANgirls and bullies.
Speak up for yourself: Imagine someone walks up to you, says “Come on, let’s dance,” and starts dancing. You use your voice to clearly tell them that you will not be dancing with them and stand perfectly still. They may continue to dance for a minute or so, but soon they’ll leave to try to find someone else to dance with.
The same is often true for bullying or MEANgirl behavior. The bully is trying to engage you, to get a reaction from you. If you don’t give her or him that reaction, they will stop trying to engage you. With the right words, you can send a clear message that you are not going to engage with the bully or give up your power. If you think about what you would say in a bullying situation before it happens, it will be easier to find the strength to say it in a clear and assertive voice when it does happen. Decide what words will best help you to hold on to your power. Some examples are:
“Nope. Not doing this.”
“I don’t care what you think.”
“Your words can’t hurt me.”
“I don’t let people treat me like this.”
Tell a trusted adult: Talk to a parent, teacher, counselor, coach, or any trusted adult about the situation even if you don’t want them to intervene. It’s good to have an adult who knows about the situation that you can talk to, and can help you if you need them to. If you aren’t looking for an adult to intervene, make sure you clearly communicate your wishes to the adult and you choose the adult you tell wisely.
Speak up for others: When someone outside of the situation speaks up for the person being bullied, the bully is automatically put on the defensive instead of the offensive. Now she or he must justify why they are bullying someone, and there is never a good answer. Speaking up for someone else not only helps the person who is bullied regain her sense of power; it also shows the bully that their behavior is not ‘cool’ or acceptable to their peers, and it will help you feel empowered because you had the strength to speak up for what you knew was right.