How to Know When a Bully is Sizing You Up

Full Length of Two Adult Woman Standing Side by Side with Hands-on Hips in Separate Lanes of Outdoor Running Track – Two Friends Sizing Up Competition

Bullies never select targets at random. They always pick a possible target and size them up before they choose them. Just as bank robbers will case a potential bank before they rob the place, bullies case (size up) any potential targets.

During the sizing up phase, bullies study their objects carefully to ferret out any weaknesses and imperfections, look for incongruencies between verbal and nonverbal communication (mismatches in words and gestures), and scan for any traces of fear.

You’ll know you’re being sized up for bullying when the person watches you closely while looking you up and down. Their eyes will go from your head to your feet, then back up to your head, and you’ll get an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach. You’ll feel that something ‘just isn’t right’ about this person. Trust those feelings and get rid of them! Fast!

Another sure-fire sign is that the bully will test you by throwing out a subtle insult or use sarcasm to see whether you catch it and what your reaction will be. If you quickly pick up on it and take control of the situation by calling the bully out or countering him/her by coming back with a cute but scathing zinger of your own, you’ll stop the bully in their tracks, and they’ll likely decide you are worth the trouble, then move on to an easier target.

On the other hand, if their test remark goes over your head, you ignore the comment or react out of fear, you’ll likely become the bully’s new victim.

Always put a stop to it the first time it happens.

This can be as easy as saying, “I know what you’re doing, and I don’t like it! Now get lost!”

Never let the mistreatment become a habit or pattern! Because once a pattern is set, it’ll be too late, and any comebacks or means of defense will only bring retaliation and escalation of the bullying.

If you are being sized up by a bully, shut it down! Do or say something that will discourage the bully, then have no more to do with the creep.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

School Bullying in Stages

Bullying is a process.

1. Bullies search for a target.

2. A target is selected.

3. Bullies signal to bystanders that the target is ripe for bullying.

4. Bystanders are encouraged to join in the torment and unite with the bullies against the selected target.

5. Bystanders then become bullies themselves.

6. The target is involved in many physical fights in trying to defend themselves and gets labeled by teachers and staff as the troublemaker.

7. Bullies and bystanders go home and tell their parents and family members what a terrible person the target is.

8. The parents and family members of the bullies and bystanders go to work or the supermarket and relay the stories about the target to coworkers and friends- stories they were told by their children, grandchildren, younger siblings or cousins, nieces or nephews that this target is a terrible person.

9. The coworkers, friends, and extended family members then pass what they’re told to their families and word of the target’s perceived evilness or craziness spreads throughout the entire community.

10. The target’s reputation is destroyed.

11. The target’s opportunities for love, friendship, jobs, careers, etc. are either limited or lost.

12. The target either commits suicide or leaves town to pursue a better life.

13. The target who relocates finally gets a fresh start and reinvents himself.

How Bullies Size Up Potential Targets

Female Track Competitors Glaring at Each Other

Bullies never select targets at random. They always pick a possible target and size them up before they choose them.

Just as bank robbers will case a potential bank before they rob the place, bullies case (size up) any potential targets.

During the sizing up phase, bullies study their objects carefully to ferret out any weaknesses and imperfections, look for incongruencies between verbal and nonverbal communication (mismatches in words and gestures) and scan for any traces of fear.

You’ll know you’re being sized up for bullying when the person watches you closely while looking you up and down. Their eyes will go from your head to your feet, then back up to your head, and you’ll get an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach. You’ll feel that something ‘just isn’t right’ about this person. Trust those feelings and get rid of them! Fast!

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Another sure-fire sign is that the bully will test you by throwing out a subtle insult or use sarcasm to see whether you catch it and what your reaction will be. If you quickly pick up on it and take control of the situation by calling the bully out or countering him/her by coming back with a cute, but scathing zinger of your own, you’ll stop the bully in their tracks, and they’ll likely decide you are worth the trouble, then move on to an easier target.

On the other hand, if their test remark goes over your head, you ignore the comment or react out of fear, you’ll likely become the bully’s new victim.

Always put a stop to it the first time it happens.

This can be as easy as saying, “I know what you’re doing and I don’t like it! Now get lost!”

Never let the mistreatment become a habit or pattern! Because once a pattern is set, it’ll be too late and any comebacks or means of defense will only bring retaliation and escalation of the bullying.

If you are being sized up by a bully, shut it down! Do or say something that will discourage the bully, then have no more to do with the creep.

The more you know, the better you protect yourself!