Bullies are on the playground, in the workplace, and even found in political positions. Bullies often have difficulty communicating with others—making demands yet not wanting to collaborate or problem solve.
For targets facing bullying behavior, it may be difficult to know how to negotiate, resolve a dispute, and/or find common ground. Individuals may contemplate fighting back or giving in. Below represent a few recommendations for coping with bullies—whether in the workplace, at home, or in society.
Avoid Giving In
Bullies don’t negotiate; they make demands, threats, and eventually fight for them. Bullies are often at war with the world around them, which they constantly and repetitively attempt to dominate. Unfortunately, bullies never “win” and they always want more. What makes people happy and what leads to healthy relationships is partnership, teamwork, support, and open communication.
Giving into bullies lowers confidence and decreases connection. Bullies think in terms of “win-lose” because they always have to win. Healthy relationships work best in win-win negotiations. To learn more about this process, read Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury.
Appear Calm and Patient
Bullies, and high-conflict people in general, enjoy making someone emotional. Focus on the opposite action by staying calm and focused on what you want and need. High emotions lead to impulsive and rash decisions and they know that. Being very patient often leads to the best outcomes. Presenting as desperate or showing discomfort often leads to the bully being able to manipulate you and/or the situation. Bullies dislike delayed gratification, and therefore remaining calm, cool, collected, and confident will lead them to go “bother” someone else.
Bring in a Neutral Decision-Maker or Mediator
Often, bullies do not like the idea of having or including another person because they will not be the most powerful person in the room. Likewise, it is difficult for a bully to argue with a neutral person. Remember, you do not have to face bullies alone.