Tips for Bystanders

Assertiveness Strategies for Bystanders
Bully Free Program
www.bullyfree.com
© Allan L. Beane, Ph.D.
abeane@bullyfree.com

Note: Use the following information only with the recommendation of your teacher or counselor and your parents. These strategies should also be used with other strategies to keep you and others safe.

General Strategies:

Look confident (assertive body language) by standing tall and holding your head up.
Don't appear hurt or angry. Keep your facial expressions neutral but serious.
Don't run away, unless you are in danger. Move closer, turn sideways and have non-threatening eye contact.
Maintain good balance by keeping your feet shoulder width apart.
Hold your arms beside your body. Don't hold your arms up like you want to fight.
Using a strong but calm voice make your assertive comment and then walk off confidently. If you can't walk off, then start a conversation with someone else.

Specific Strategies:

Make assertive statements for the victim: Say Stop it! with a serious face and serious but calm voice. Or say This is a waste of Bobby's time and my time. Come with me Bobby. (After making either statement, walk off confidently with Bobby. If you can't, start a conversation with Bobby.)
Use Fogging. For example, admit that you also have the characteristic the bully is using to tease someone): You know, Bobby and I both need to lose weight. Come with me Bobby. (Walk off confidently with Bobby. If you can't, start a conversation with Bobby.)
Broken record – repeat: What did you say? or That's your opinion. or So. Come with me Bobby. (Walk off confidently with Bobby. If you can't, start a conversation with Bobby.)
Confront the bully concerning his/her spreading rumors and lies about someone. Refuse to spread the lies and demand that the rumors/stop. (Walk off confidently. If you can't, start a conversation with someone.)
Expose the ignorance of the bully when he/she is teasing someone because of their disability or medical problem. Reveal the facts. Then ask the victim of bullying to walk off with you. (Walk off confidently with the bullied student. If you can't, start a conversation with the bullied student.)
Give the bully permission to tease: Well, it's okay to say what you want. It doesn't bother Bobby and it doesn't bother me. Come with me Bobby. (Walk off confidently with Bobby. If you can't, start a conversation with Bobby.)
Take on the characteristic used to tease someone and use a sense of humor: You know Bobby and I both have big ears, sometimes we feel like elephants. Don't we Bobby? Or say, You know, Bobby and I both are pretty stupid. Come with me Bobby. (Walk off confidently with Bobby. If you can't, start a conversation with Bobby.)
Make an asset of the characteristic used to tease someone: Well, I guess _______ ______ (a famous popular person) and Bobby look alike, they both don't have a lot of hair. I wish I looked like Bobby. Hey Bobby, come with me. (Walk off confidently with Bobby. If you can't, start a conversation with Bobby.)