Bullying is one of the most common forms of violence in schools. There’s an average of 31 incidents of bullying in schools that are reported every day but despite this staggering number, bullying isn’t always obvious. Although physical abuse and threats are prevalent, there’s more to school bullying than meets the eye. It comes with a variety of disturbed social functioning and negative emotions. While it can be difficult for victims to identify and address these behaviors, it is absolutely important to recognize sneaky, hard-to-notice dangers. Here are the 5 not-so-obvious signs that you’re being bullied:
1. Social isolation or intentional ignoring
There are different types of classmates that you will meet in school. Though people tend to form groups based on preferences, there are some who just enjoy deciding who will be accepted in their group or who’s not. These bullies will purposefully ignore or avoid someone. They will attend class and act normal with most of their classmates except their victim. In some cases, you may experience bullying through isolation by not being invited to parties or events because they “forgot” to tell you or by deliberately excluding you in making group decisions, changing topics during conversations when you’re around, or having left out during break time.
2. Deceit or withholding of information
This includes consistent lying to a person or giving them false hopes. For example, bullies inside an organization may overtly “make fun of” or worse, harm their victims by concealing or withholding important information like new policies or changing the org structure without the victim’s consent. Those in high positions within a school org may try to take advantage of their subordinates by giving them promises in exchange for extra work, without actually having plans to fulfill it.
3. Taking credits
Some people are naturally more comfortable being “behind-the-stage”. However, school bullies may take advantage of this trait by taking the credit even if it’s not due to them just to claim the spotlight. In a group work, they may try to use this manipulative behavior by assigning tasks to others while they “act” busy doing nothing. And what’s worse, when it’s time for the presentation, they proudly receive all the good remarks without acknowledging members who actually worked hard for the project.
4. Fault finding
A good amount of criticism is helpful for a person to improve and address their faults. But constantly criticizing someone’s work or behavior for unwarranted reasons is already a sign of bullying that you need to watch out for. Sometimes, bullies bring up others’ past faults to discourage them and dismantle their confidence. During team discussions, classmates may try to share their ideas but are always shut down by abusive members.
5. Excessive flattering
Some classroom bullies can also be very smooth in exploiting others. They use excessive compliments and flattery to their unsuspecting victims to gain their trust. They will persuade you with their sweet talks. Once you let your guard down, you will become an easy target for their manipulation and use you for their own advancements like asking you too many favors to help them with their assignments. When they don’t get what they want, bullies reveal their true skin by giving others the silent treatment or dishing subtle insults.
Signs of bullying are sometimes masked in good intentions or seemingly innocent actions and your best defense against it is to keep yourself aware about it.