Now you may be laughing to yourself right now, after all I am doing an entire post on bullying…in college. But it’s more of an issue than you might think. Actually, it might be right up your alley. Turns out bullying in college (or the workplace, or the home, or anywhere, as a matter of fact) is just as common as bullying in grade school or high school. Where there is something somebody wants, there is usually a bully lurking in the corner.
So what exactly does a bully look like in college? Well, the same as it looks anywhere else. Some are outgoing and aggressive, and may even use force to get what they want. Others are smooth-talking and manipulating (Sound familiar? Like your ex-roommate, perhaps?) and relish the simple joys of making you do things you don’t want to do. So how do you get the monkey off your back? Read on.
1.) Walk away. Yes, I know that it sounds simple, and at times it may seem that walking away would only instigate things and make them worse, but it’s quite the contrary. Bullies aren’t angry at you to begin with, they simply want a reaction. Take away their reaction and they’ll quickly lose interest.
2.) Tell someone. Just as the same is true for a child in 2nd grade, the same is true of a 21 year old college student and a 35 year old office employee. Bullies operate in secret. Bringing their behavior to the forefront makes it clear to them that they are not, in fact, invisible and what they are doing is not acceptable.
3.) Have a support system. It’s very common for someone not to be able to stand up to their bully, but it’s much easier to do when they’re with a large group of friends. First of all, your friends usually recognize when you’re uncomfortable with something and will often stick up for you if you can’t find the words. Second of all, a bully doesn’t want to take on a group of people, they’d rather deal with you one-on-one.
4.) Protect yourself. When worst comes to worst, you need to be able to protect yourself. That means having the campus security on speed dial as well as having an array of personal safety items on you at all times. These could range from pepper spray to a personal alarm to the iWitness iPhone app. All of these are great ways to make a bully stand down before anything gets out of control. And if you ever feel you might need to use one of these items, you sure as hell had better be reporting the issue to campus security ASAP.
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