Bullying usually isn’t like they show on TV or in the movies. 9 times out of 10 a bully won’t walk by you in the hall at school and knock your books out of your hands or stuff you in a locker. For most teens tormented by bullies, it isn’t that direct.

Since the media tends to depict bullying differently than it actually occurs, people often don’t know how to react when they’re bullied over the internet, or made fun of about their physical appearance. If pop culture is to be believed, you have to come up with some witty, humbling remark or punch your bully in the face, but are these routes going to make more trouble for you in the end?

 

How to React to Bullies

Here are some (non-confrontational) strategies to try the next time a bully gets in your face:

 

Don’t Let Them Affect You (Publicly)

Most bullies pick on one other teen at school because it makes them feel powerful to know that another person is so deeply affected by their words or actions. The next time a bully calls you a name or tries to embarrass you, just laugh it off. Laughing at yourself is a lifelong skill that you’re just going to learn.

 

Don’t Make It Worse For Yourself

Contrary to popular belief, school isn’t like prison; you can’t just walk in and punch the biggest person there in the face to get a reputation. Fighting your bully or attempting to flip it around on them will only make an aggressive person more aggressive.

 

Find Allies

It’s likely that if you’re being bullied, you aren’t the only one. Even if your coalition doesn’t find themselves as affected by bullying as you, there’s no reason why they can’t be empathetic to your situation. After all, more and more teens are coming out against bullying these days.

 

Last Resort: Tell an Adult

If you’re attempts to get the bully to stop tormenting you continually fail to make a difference, there comes a time to go to the authorities, whether that’s a teacher, a parent or even the police. What may seem like acceptable bullying is really a crime, so don’t hesitate to stop it using extreme measures if all else fails.