Crappy Advice Often Given to Targets of Bullying

If you have ever been a target of bullying, how many of these did you hear from your well-meaning family members and friends when you were trying to deal with the onslaught of bullies?

  1. Keep a low profile
  2. Keep your nose clean
  3. Tread lightly
  4. Don’t rock the boat
  5. Don’t make waves
  6. Tone it down a little
  7. Don’t draw attention to yourself
  8. Stay out of the way
  9. Keep your head down
  10. Don’t poke the bear
  11. Make yourself scarce
  12. Be nonchalant
  13. Stay out of trouble
  14. Go the extra mile
  15. Try to blend in

If you were ever told one (or more) of these 15 things, feel free to comment!

21 thoughts on “Crappy Advice Often Given to Targets of Bullying

  1. Lucky me I never heard any of them. Probably because the bullies never stay long enough for me to say I was bullied. Besides, I’m such a hothead I got reprimand and beaten by my parents instead for “bullying” my bullies, while the bully played the victim… ah the irony. I’m not sure if I should laugh or cry.

  2. That sounds like my childhood. I heard this not only from my parents but also from our family therapist. No one ever taught me to stand up for myself. I spent years running from one school to another, always keeping it a closely guarded secret why I didn’t live in the same town where I went to school because I was afraid people would think there was something wrong with me, and that impacted my social life once I was a teenager and started actually making friends. To this day, a lot of my Plumdale High friends whom I’m still in social media contact with never knew that I didn’t actually live in Plumdale, and my stories about being back home in Plumdale in my blog are heavily edited because Plumdale wasn’t home. (Of course, Plumdale is a fictional place anyway, but it is based on a real place where I didn’t live but my classmates did.)

  3. I will start with Keep a Low Profile when you are in middle school or especially high school that is terrible advice. School can be a miserable experience for many kids. The way to counter that is for them to get involved in school activities, join the band, play sports, join clubs, Ag, theater, etc but if you are keeping a low profile and trying to be unseen you often withdraw, you don’t make a ton of friends, and you are a target for bullying. Looking back I wish I was more active in high school.

    • Amen. My Dad told me to keep a low profile, which means to lay low and hide in plain sight. It only made things worse because, any time you’re a target of bullying, there’s no hiding in plain sight because you’re a target and even in a crowd you stick out like a sore thumb. And you stick out like a sore thumb because you’re the hunted.

  4. Keeping your head down is terrible advice because it is a sign of submission and that is the last thing you want a bully to see. I always equate to cats. When a cat sees an enemy/stranger cat, they look into the eyes and will arch their back and hiss. This is very effective many times and will force the other cat to back down or they will battle. Humans are like that too, if you make eye contact and stand your ground, then the bully will sometimes back off or you defend yourself. That can save you!

  5. And I also want to comment on the blending in. Well that’s the thing. I don’t think anyone wants to be bullied. Yes many of us enjoy individuality but everyone wants to blend in or be accepted. When you dance to the beat of your own drummer or have a select group of “non popular” loner friends it is sometimes out of necessity because you don’t “fit in.” High school is a clique, sometimes no matter how hard you try, you aren’t allowed to blend in. Especially if you are different or in many small towns especially if you didn’t grow up there you are automatically an outsider.

  6. Ehhh… how about all of them? 😅
    My mother often said I must have provoked them into bullying me (whatever that really means) and that I had to pretend it didn’t hurt me so they’d stop (spoiler alert: they didn’t).
    My parents really made me feel like it was all my fault, now that I think of it. I am sure I played my part, but I never asked to be bullied 🙄

    So so happy that part of my life is over 😁

    • I hear you. No one in my family understood either. I was told all the above too. And that I had to be doing SOMETHING to rub them the wrong way. Not much was known about bullying back when I was in school. Not like there is today. And my family just didn’t have any answers and didn’t know what to do. I know they meant well but it definitely didn’t help matters.

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