Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bullied to death? WHAT?!

At work this evening, I noticed a recent copy of People magazine. It was the one that featured the cover story of a 15 year old girl from Massachusetts who took her own life because she was bullied. As a person who dealt with his fair share of bullying in school, I'm left to wonder, are the bullies getting worse or is it the bullied getting softer?

In my day (yes, I am aware that using that phrase makes me sound like an old fogey) it was considered a part of growing up. It was the price some of us paid for being forced into a controlled environment with a large group of people that, if encountered in the real world, we would have not been around.

I have a sure-fire way of reducing the stress of bulling. These hints, to some degree, allowed me to survive school as a member of the geek fringe of the mainstream. First is ignore and avoid. From my experience most bullies are out to get a reaction to make them feel better about themselves. If you don't react or if they have to hunt you down, they will move on to easier prey. Remember, your average bully is little different than the modern NBA 'superstar', an insecure little boy with a "look at me" complex. Second is join in. There is nothing more unsettling for a bully than a target making fun of themselves. This one is difficult for most high school students. In fact, I didn't learn to get good at it until I left school. Thirdly (?), change your routine slightly. Now this could cause a few issues. Like I said, most bullies are looking for a response. You just have to give them one they don't want. Sit a few tables closer to the lunchroom attendants. Start hanging out closer to the room of that 'rules are rules' hardass teacher that every school has at least one of. Pass by the school's offices a little more frequently between classes. Most bullies are insecure, but few are stupid enough to harass people in these situations.

A few things to avoid at all costs. NEVER get the school administration involved unless they have an anonymous way to report these things. All you do is make yourself a bigger target for squealing. Under no circumstances go to the bullies parents. You will get one of the following responses: "Who are you to tell me how to raise my kid?!" or "Oh, it couldn't be MY child. They are a perfect angel!" In either case, you get nowhere at best, and at worst you get an ass kicking.

It all boils down to this: your good friends and family are all that really matters. Everything else is crap. It's not worth taking yourself out over it. High school is the bottom. That's the point. Surviving it is what makes you ready for the world. There are always going to be assholes in the world. You can't consider suicide as the answer every time you have an issue with them.

Yes, I quoted a movie...so sue me. It doesn't matter. The message is still the same:

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