Can You Recognize Bullying?
A group of girls suddenly decides to exclude one member of their clique. They start ignoring her and giving her the cold shoulder. At school, they sit apart from her in the cafeteria, stop inviting her to hang out, give her dirty looks, and make sure she knows they’re talking about her when they whisper to one another. Maybe they even start spreading nasty rumors about her through text messages or on Facebook and MySpace.
Have you ever experienced this?
You’re not alone.
The truth is that girls who bully don’t always punch and kick—they often shun girls so they feel isolated, and they use cruel words and hurtful gossip to break down self-esteem. It’s called “relational aggression,” and unfortunately, it’s a common way for girls to bully one another.
Relational aggression hurts emotionally, rather than physically. Lots of girls have felt betrayed by someone they believed was a close friend. It really, really hurts, and when it’s happening to you, it can seem almost unbearable. But once you know more about it, you can learn how to deal. You can even develop the confidence to make a stand. A lot of shady bullying stops immediately when it’s called out for being exactly what it is: bullying. By telling other girls, “It doesn’t have to be like this,” you set an example as a leader by challenging girls to be open, honest, and supportive of one another.
Take our quiz, Bullying: Can You Recognize It?, to get the scoop on relational aggression. When you know more about it, you can deal with it—and you can even stop it before it gets worse. Once you decide how you want to be treated, you’re also deciding how you treat others. It’s a great way to see our Kindness Travels online tool in real-life, real-time action. Best of all, you’ll learn how to be a better friend—and have better friends—throughout your life.