Six Tips for Taming a Bully

Written by Jenn Sadai

If you’re being bullied or have ever been bullied, the idea of taming a bully probably seems impossible. They’re relentless with their insults and abuse, so it’s hard to envision the bully being willing to stop. Although these tips won’t work on every bully, they are probably your best hope of subduing their verbal and physical attacks.


1) Sympathy Soothes – Most victims don’t realize that bullies are also insecure. They think they’ll feel better about themselves by putting down someone else. If someone attacks you, try to respond with genuine concern and compassion. For example, ask the bully “Do you really want to pick on me? Why don’t we try getting to know each other instead?” I won’t pretend this is easy to do, but if you can be empathetic, you could turn your bully into a friend.


2) React Rationally – Bullies are fueled by emotional reactions. They feel powerful if their behavior has an obvious effect on someone else. Don’t give them the satisfaction! Rationalize their actions in your head and control your response. This isn’t easy either, but if you act like it doesn’t bother you, they should eventually back off.


3) Calm Confidence – If the bully calls you a nasty name, calmly and confidently correct them. For example, “You may think I’m dumb, but I’m actually pretty smart. You don’t need to believe me because I already know it’s true.”


4) Humor Helps – Try taming the bully by intentionally misinterpreting their insults. If they call you names, respond with “Ha, ha, you’re so funny!” Pretend they are just teasing you and laugh it off. This will most likely confuse the bully, which will hopefully stop them from continuing.


5) Talk Tough – I would never suggest bullying the bully, since sinking to their level only makes things worse. However, being firm and commanding verbally (without insults) may inspire them to back off. For example, you can try saying, “I don’t deserve to be bullied and I’m not going to allow this to continue. If you don’t stop on your own, I’m going to bring this to the attention of someone who will make sure you stop.” Just make sure you are willing to follow through with it first.


6) Advise Authorities – If none of the other tips work, it will be necessary to escalate the problem to the proper authorities. If you’re in school, a parent, teacher or principal should be able to help. If you’re an adult and the bullying is aggressive or damaging, advise the police. You could be saving someone else from future bullying.

Unfortunately, bullies are everywhere in life and you can’t control who chooses to bully you. Luckily, you can choose how you respond. Stay strong, be confident and don’t let their remarks or actions affect the way you feel about yourself. No one deserves to be bullied!


Permission to post by author Jenn Sadai

Jenn Guest WriterJenn Sadai is a Canadian author and advocate who’s just crazy enough to think she can change the world. Jenn shares her stories of surviving domestic violence, depression, and workplace bullying in hopes that it will help others cope and heal. She is the author of Dark Confession of an Extraordinary, Ordinary Woman, Dirty Secrets of the World’s Worst Employee, and Cottage Cheese Thighs. Website


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