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At a time in your life when all you want to do is fit in with the people around you, bullying can seem like an overwhelming problem. This is why it’s important to understand the forms that bullying can take and understand what you can do to end bullying in your life.

Bullying Takes Many Forms

Bullying means people hurt you even though you’ve done nothing to provoke them. This can mean making fun of you on social media sites, sending disrespectful text messages to your phone, ridiculing and embarrassing you in front of others, spreading rumors about you, and even physically hurting or bothering you (including pushing, poking, grabbing, slapping, kicking, or punching).

The following steps can be made easier by having a clear idea of all the things someone is doing in order to bully you.

Can You Talk To Your Bully? 

On some occasions, people do hurtful things on a regular basis, but they mean us no true harm. For instance, someone could think you enjoy being poked by them as a way to horse around or they may call you a certain name because they see it as endearing and a way to mark you as a close friend.

When this is the case, there are many people who will stop doing whatever you find hurtful as soon as you voice your discomfort. However, if you never tell them, they may continue to think what they’re doing is acceptable.

It’s up to you to gauge your relationship with your bully and ask yourself if you think they’ll listen if you are direct with them about your feelings.

When You’re Confident They’ll Listen

Simply use this script to give them the message that you want the behavior to stop:

When you (insert whatever they’ve done), I feel (insert your emotions–examples would be words like ‘uncomfortable’, ‘sad’, ’embarrassed’, or ‘frustrated’). Please stop (whatever they’ve done).”

Here are a couple of examples:

“When you call me ‘Butt-Sniff Cliff’, I feel mad and embarrassed. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t call me that any more.”

“When you tell your friends we’ve kissed, I feel humiliated and frustrated. I need to ask you to stop telling people this.”

When You Don’t Think They’ll Listen

If you’ve been direct, but the bullying continues, or if you don’t think the bully will listen, it’s time to get an adult involved. Find an adult you can trust and let them know what is going on.

If you’re worried about the bully retaliating because you told someone, let the adult know that.

This adult doesn’t have to be your parent, but it could be a teacher, counselor, coach, or other adult in your life you’re confident will listen to you and get you the help you need.

The best way to stop bullying is to hold the bully accountable, either by confronting them directly, or by telling the adults in your life. You don’t deserve to be bullied. It’s time you helped your bully understand that.

Share your bullying experience in the “comments” section below, then visit StopBullying.gov for more information about handling bullies.