My friend at school posted hurtful things on social media about me – for everyone to see. She is my friend and my class is really small – I’m in 8th grade – we stay together as a class all day every day. She’s the only Native in my class and we do things together in the community. How do I stay kind and graceful if she is mean to me on Monday in class? She lashes out and I will stand up for myself – I don’t want to work it out bc she’s not accountable.
The fact that you asked how you can handle this with kindness and grace, tells me that you are doing exactly this. That’s pretty amazing. You just brought a big smile to my face.
Bullying is intolerable and I’m behind you 100% when you say you don’t want to work it out. Bullying is painful and can make you feel down and alone. It’s your right to remove yourself from the situation. You are doing exactly what you should do when being bullied in school…reaching out for help and support.
Bullying is a learned behavior, meaning people aren’t born bullies, they learn through their experiences how to become one. People learn to be a bully for many reasons; from stressful situations, from being abused mentally or physically at home. Often people who bully are currently or have been bullied themselves. That is not to say that bullying should ever be excused, nor is it your fault.
Here are some things that might help:
- If you feel safe enough, speak to the person who is bullying you. You can find some good advice on how to do that at Ditch the Label.
- If you do not feel safe, speak to a trusted adult. This is incredibly important! That person can be a teacher/parent/guardian/auntie/uncle/coach/elder or another responsible adult. If you need to, reach out to more than one person. Just because a person is an adult, doesn’t mean they know what to do. Find someone who can help.
- You are not a problem.
- Find healthy ways to deal with stress like hanging with positive friends, eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, and drinking lots of water.
- Find someone you look up to. You are not alone in this. There are plenty of people who have been where you are right now and have managed to overcome it. By talking to others about what you’re going through, you may find ways others have dealt with their bullies.
If you need outside support you can contact the following hotlines:
- 121help.me for 24/7 bullying and crisis hotline for youth up to age 18 at 855-201-2121
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24/7 crisis hotline 1-800-273-8255
- Trevor Project Lifeline 24/7 crisis hotline for LGBTQ youth 1-866-488-7386
Thank you for reaching out and taking care of yourself.