Identify the Situation as One Needing Intervention

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Bullies are big and dumb. Right? Bullying only happens to little kids on the playground. Right? Bullying ends when the school day ends. Right?

Not exactly. Bullying takes many shapes and forms. It happens in many places and situations that you might not expect. And anyone can be a bully. Often, we don’t know the signs of a bad situation, and we aren’t sure if what we’re seeing is a sign of a bigger problem. To be prepared to intervene and help people out, you need to know the signs of a bullying situation – this includes the signs of cyberbullying as well.

Sometimes, we see a situation that we don’t like, but no one else seems to care. When no one else is bothered by the situation, we assume we might be wrong about what’s going on. If no one else is noticing the event, we can’t possibly be right, can we?

They’re thinking what you’re thinking.
In these situations, the only wrong judgment is to assume that everyone else thinks things are okay. They’re thinking what you’re thinking. They’re also noticing the situation. They’re also uncomfortable with what’s happening. Take the initiative and take the lead – you’ll be surprised by the number of people who share your thoughts and are just waiting for someone else to step up.

If you’re unsure, be sure. In other cases, we might not step in because we don’t know the relationship between the people involved in the bullying situation – maybe they’re friends who like to joke around or rough house. Maybe neither of them is upset by the situation. Maybe they’re just having a fight, but will make up later.

Often, we don’t want to intervene without knowing for sure that someone’s in need. Without checking into the situation, you can’t be certain if you should help out. If you’re unsure, be sure.

Say or type/text something like: Hey, do you need help?

Or: I’m not OK with this; I’m going to get help.

Some people might not want to say that something is wrong in front of their bully. In these instances, you might want to check back in with them later (when they’re alone or via private message) to make sure that everything really is okay. It’s important to trust your gut if something seems wrong.

If, for some reason, the person doesn’t need help, they’ll let you know.

Often, when lots of people are around, it’s easy to feel like you’re not the right person to step in. Check out Take Responsibility next.

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