Many times, I’ve noticed that it’s the quiet person who often gets targeted by bullies. So, why do bullies go after those who have little to say? The silent types usually mind their own business. They have no need for attention, and they don’t bother anyone.
Quiet people don’t feel the need to be a part of a group to feel important. They work hard and stay out of the way. So, again. Why do bullies target them?
There are several reasons:
1. Bullies presume them to be weak and timid. Most people are under the misguided belief that anyone quiet is afraid of conflict. They think that the silent types are socially awkward misfits who others have shot down in the past and are now using avoidance to play it safe.
But in reality, they have better things to do and have no time for gossip and other meaningless chit-chat.
2. Bullies mistakenly believe they’re least likely to stand up for themselves. Unfortunately, bullies think that because someone isn’t loud and obnoxious like they are, they won’t defend themselves when provoked. This is a fallacy. I’ve seen many bullies push silents too far and end up with a face-full of humble pie.
3. They’re are mistaken for being standoffish. Bullies will presume that silents are stuck up and think they’re too good to speak. And bullies can’t stand it if there’s a possibility that someone is ignoring them. So they target the person to get a reaction out of them. Or, they punish them for “being so stuck up.”
4. The silent are thought of as sneaky and to have something to hide. So bullies will often target them to shake them up and make them slip up and accidentally reveal “whatever it is they’re hiding” out of nervousness.
Bullies often believe the stereotypes they’ve heard about people of few words:
“It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for!”
“The quiet ones are the most dangerous!”
But wait! It goes much deeper.
5. Quiet people intimidate bullies. Only the bullies will never in this lifetime admit it. So, why would someone so silent be so intimidating to bullies?
a. They’re unpredictable. Remember that bullies rely on a target’s predictability to bully effectively. And if you can’t predict what a person’s next move is likely to be, that, in and of itself, can be very frightening. And if the person is the kind who’s stoic, all the more difficult it will be to “get their number.” The less you say, the harder others must work to figure you out.
Also, many bullies see the silence as a challenge and will rise to it by provoking the person to get a reaction.
b. Having little to say keeps people off balance. If bullies can’t figure out where you stand on anything, where your hot buttons are, or your desires, likes and dislikes, they have less fodder and ammo to use against you.
And if they aren’t sure what gets you excited, ticks you off or makes you nervous, they can’t control you so easily.
Also, because you don’t show your cards, bullies resent you for making them work so hard to pin them.
c. Quiet people expose bullies by staying- well, quiet! They’re very in tune with what goes on around them and listen very deeply while those around them rattle off at the mouth, exposing everything about themselves.
d. In their silence, quiet people terrify bullies. They keep them under their control. Subconsciously, bullies know this, and it drives them nuts!
e. People desire to know what others are thinking. Again. Quiet people make bullies uncomfortable and their silence makes it difficult to guess their intentions.
f. Quiet people put bullies on the defensive. Their answers are short and silences are long, which automatically puts bullies on the defense because the bullies assume the person is getting short with them.
If you’re a silent person and a target of bullies, don’t let them shake you. Continue to play your cards close to the vest. Your lack of predictability is what protects you. You must understand that silence has a power all it’s own. Use it.