What Fake Friends in High School Taught Me

They taught me what love and friendship were by teaching me what they weren’t. It’s been said that you don’t really learn to appreciate something until you must go without it.

I say this because many of the losers I called friends back then weren’t friends at all. They never had my back once and never spoke in my behalf when the bullies came calling. Nevertheless, I have nothing to do with those people and have a better circle of friends today.

Moreover, most of the classmates that had droves of friends didn’t appreciate them. I watched as the cliquey girls would horn in on their best friends’ boyfriends and talk about their friends behind their backs. In other words, they popular crowd were a bunch of vipers. They were jealous of their friends and always trying to one-up them.

When I saw those things that went on, I wanted no part of “the cool kids” because they really weren’t that cool. Again, they were a bunch of snakes.

Watch how people treat their friends behind their backs.

Another lesson learned was that adult friendships are much healthier than high school friendships. Most school friendships are superficial and are based on how popular you are and how well you can dress and how well you can fake it. They are also cliched, selfish, and one-sided.

Therefore, if you’re in a clique and you see your friends talking about other friends behind their backs while sucking up to them to their faces, you can bet they will do the same to you. And if you think they won’t, you’re only fooling yourself.

Also, if there seems to be a lot of drama around these friends, you might want to think about ditching these chicks. Then you’ll want to select friends who are saner and more level-headed.

Understand that friends such as these are bad for your self-esteem, and it’s why most people could care less if they ever see their schoolmates again once they graduate.

So, pay close attention to your friends and how they act and what they do and say. Notice how they act when their friends are nowhere around and how they carry themselves. Also, note any negative body language and any microaggressions. Then, use good judgement.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Do Others Accept You or Only Tolerate You?

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When people talk of tolerance, I immediately cringe. I don’t find the word very attractive because let’s be real here. The word itself has a bad smell. To put it bluntly, it sounds downright gross!

Sadly, many targets of bullying are so afraid of being alone that they settle for friends who aren’t friends at all. The people the target associates with may keep the target under the impression that he’s being accepted when, in fact, they may only be tolerating him. And you can tolerate someone without accepting them.

I know a few who assume that acceptance and tolerance mean the same but they don’t.

For example, you’re in polite company and the guy sitting next to you, (who happened to scarf three huge bean burritos for supper last night, then put away three eggs for breakfast this morning) covertly eases forth a silent but deadly fart. You catch the first nauseating whiff but can’t hold your nose nor leave the room without seeming rude to everyone else in the room.

Instead, you only sit there, trying to keep a poker face, and nonchalantly hold your breath until you’re sure the smell has dissipated. That’s what tolerance is.

Tolerance means that people allow the target to be around but secretly wish he’d go the hell away. And it has a way of seeping through in how they think of the person, how they act around him, and how they behave toward him.

So, how is the target to know if he’s being tolerated?

Here are the signs:

1. The target will be excluded from any events or social gatherings.
If you’re the target, you’ll often hear the rest of the group talking about the barbeque or sleepover they had over the weekend. You know, the one that none of them thought to invite you to? Show these morons you have a modicum of self-respect and walk away. You don’t need them.

2. The target will feel left out because the other members of the group will be communicating with all other members except her. You’d much rather be alone than to be lonely. Alone is when you’re physically by yourself. Lonely is when you’re among people, yet you’re still alone because to them, you don’t exist. You can be alone but not be lonely. Realize that if you ever feel lonely and you’re in a group, that’s the time to tell them to go kick rocks and be on your way.

3. The target will feel as if he’s tagging behind the group.
Again, if they seem to always leave you behind, eighty-six them and bid them goodbye.

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The Difference between Acceptance and Tolerance is huge!

4. Other members of the group will voice their hatred of the target anytime he isn’t around to hear it. The target will then hear about it later. If they stab you in the back, it’s time to ditch them. You’d much rather be by yourself and keep your dignity rather than stay among those toxic people and lose it.

5. There’s always that sickening “elephant in the room” feeling.
Feeling awkward around these people is a sure sign that they don’t deserve your friendship. Understand that this is only your gut trying to warn you about these people. Listen to it!

If people tolerate a person, they only permit having them around when there’s no other choice. And they’ll take every chance of voicing their seething hatred of the person when he/she isn’t around to defend themselves. They allow the person to be around because there’s no way they can make them go away or say anything without looking like a heel. When the tolerated person is present, the rest just grin and bear it.

Here’s why the target should drop these people:

1. By continuing to be around people who tolerate him/her, the target decreases his value as a person. That’s right. Anytime you must crawl behind people who don’t give a crap about you, you make yourself look like you have no other options. People who see this lose all respect for you and think you’re weak and worse, desperate. Therefore, your value will drop like a meteor!

Nope refuse

2. You’ll risk being used and abused. Any time you’re desperate to have friends, you’ll settle for any crumb of human connection. You’ll be willing to put up with shabby treatment just to keep from being alone.

Users and abusers will take notice of this and hang around only to get something from you. And those who are decent people and would otherwise be good friends will want nothing to do with you because desperation is so off-putting and only repels them.

3. You’ll only embarrass yourself and further erode your self-esteem. If you don’t have respect for yourself, no one else will either. No one respects anyone they deem pathetic.

You need to muster up some pride and stay away from people who make you feel bad about yourself! Begin rejecting them and have nothing more to do with them. Then watch your value rise again and see how much better you feel about yourself afterward.

Tolerance just plain sucks! For both parties!

It sucks for the others because they don’t want to be around the target but don’t know how to get rid of them without looking like a bunch of jerks. Also, it sucks for the tolerated person because he/she in a place they’re not welcome and in a situation in which they’re mistreated and even abused. It sucks for everyone involved because the energy in the room is bad.

bully disgust repulsion

Anytime a Person in a Group of People is only Tolerated, Everyone Feels it. Tolerance includes resentment. It’s gritting your teeth, sitting there with contempt on your face, and drumming your fingers until the person finally leaves. Tolerance makes the tolerated person feel crappy because it’s begrudging and there’s suffering on the part of the tolerating people.

We only Tolerate People We Find Disgusting and Abhorrent.

Acceptance is a much better term. With acceptance, people are at least willing to see the value the disliked person brings to the table although he’s a person they wouldn’t have chosen. It’s receiving the person and allowing them a degree of freedom and respect despite differences.

Acceptance is sitting quietly and letting the person just be. It’s embracing her good qualities regardless of your dislike of him.

With that said, understand that you don’t deserve to be around the people who only tolerate you. Better yet, they don’t deserve the privilege of even being in your presence. It’s much better, not to mention healthier, to be by yourself until you meet people who will not only accept you but celebrate you.

I can’t stress this enough! You deserve to be among those who love you and who care deeply about you. Never, ever settle for people who only tolerate you just to keep from being alone.

Sometimes life tests us and we must be alone for a while before it finally rewards us with people who are meant to be in our lives. In the meantime, use this time of solitude for a deep self-evaluation and for getting to know yourself again. You just may discover strengths and qualities you never knew you had!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Drinking Dirty Water Means You’re Thirsty

You might look at the title of this post and think, “Well, duh!” So, let me put it another way.

Just because you’re thirsty doesn’t mean you have to drink dirty water. Even if it seems that dirty water is all that’s available. In other words, don’t let loneliness cause you to go back to toxic people just because good people are hard to find.

“Settling for toxic friends because you’re lonely is like drinking dirty water because you’re thirsty.”  – Cherie White –

Many times, when you finally get enough of being used and abused by fake friends and decide once and for all to walk away, you may be alone for a while. Life may put you to the test to see if you’re really and truly done with the creeps you once, very naively, called friends. Even worse, life may decide to drag it out over a few weeks or months just to test your strength.

This happens with many targets of bullying. And, consequently, they may wait a little while, but eventually they cave in and go back to the same people who treated them so badly. Or the target may allow their frenemies to sweet-talk them back into the friendship. However, what happens once they do go back?

Patience is a Must!

It’s true that these fake friends may be extra friendly. They treat the target well for a few days, weeks, or maybe even a month. However, they will eventually go back to treating the target shabbily again. Why? Because they see any second chance the target gave them as evidence that he was only bluffing when he broke off the friendship.

You’ll only look desperate, or, as the kids say today, “thirsty.” And ewww! that’s not a good look at all! Cringe is what it is!

Therefore, these fakers only lose respect for the target and no longer take him seriously. Even worse, if the target again gets tired of the abuse and walks away a second time, the fakes will only look at each other and say, “he’ll be back. He just needs to cool off.”

There’s a reason for the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I’m all for giving second chances, don’t get me wrong. Because people screw up from time to time. However, you should use judgement when doing so. Who is it that you’re giving the chance to? And have they blown any chances you’ve given in the past? ‘Very important!

Don’t Give Chances to Those Who Only Abuse Them

Again, second chances are fine. Just make sure you don’t end up giving them a third chance, fourth chance, and so on. And realize that there are instances when even a second chance isn’t deserved- there are some things you just can’t come back from. So, if you decide to give another chance, make this your rule of thumb- the second chance is always the last chance. If they blow that chance, that’s it and it’s on them.

When it comes to situations such as this, you must stick to your guns. Otherwise, your fake friends, your bullies, and others who are around to see it will only use you as a cat toy.

Therefore, when you walk away from fake friends, do it and mean it! Do it with the presumption that you may have to wait a spell before better friends find you. Then stick it out! Wouldn’t you rather be by yourself rather than with people who only use and abuse you? If you’re going to be alone anyway, it might as well be for a damn good reason. Because nothing feels worse than being alone…in a group!

The next time you get fed up with shabby treatment and decide to walk, don’t let loneliness cause you to go back to toxic people. Be patient and wait it out! I promise you that better people will come along eventually. Dry spells don’t last forever and if you hold true to yourself and stick it out, you will have better friends. And they will be people who are worth your time and consideration- people who deserve to have you in their lives.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Bullying and The Fear of Success

This may sound counterintuitive. However, many targets fear success. It’s true! And it’s because they fear provoking the jealousies and insecurities of their bullies. They are afraid that the bullies will only bully them worse if they accomplish anything and receive recognition for it.

Moreover, the target may be afraid of losing what friends he has, if he has any at all. Sadly, this fear can cause them to stop pursuing their dreams and to hide their special talents and gifts.

Understand that the road to success is never easy and that, yes, your relationships will change. However, anything great requires sacrifice. In that, when you reach success, you will lose a few friends. But realize that the friends you lose were never really your friends. Otherwise, they would be happy for you.

Friends Who Don’t Want You to Succeed are Dead Weight!

The fear of success breeds self-sabotage. Also, as you get closer and closer to your goals, and accumulate more successes, you might find that your fear will dissipate.

Additionally, and more importantly, realize that restricting your success won’t necessarily make others accept you. Why? Because people, especially your bullies, will find other things to nitpick. Remember that bullies are notorious for moving the goalposts.

Success will bring change, no doubt about it. However, you’ll have the freedom to strive toward greatness and enjoy new and more rewarding experiences. So, don’t hold yourself back just to win the approval of others, especially those who don’t deserve to be in your life.

You Don’t Need Approval from the Wrong People

You must realize that there are some people who aren’t even worth your consideration and do not deserve a place in your circle. Therefore, see yourself as the prize whose approval is worth winning.

Stop seeking others’ approval. Instead, fix it to where they must seek yours. And how you do that is to not give two shits what a few others think of you. Once you master the art of not caring, not only will you switch the power dynamic, but you’ll feel much better about going after your successes. Therefore, you won’t be afraid of losing a few friends who are probably nothing but dead weight in your life anyway.

And here’s a positive way you can look at it. Anytime you lose friends without a justifiable reason, it just might be that God is trimming the fat from your circle.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

10 Signs That They Don’t See Your Worth

There will always be people who won’t see your worth. And some never will see it. It’s just a part of life on this planet and we shouldn’t waste another nanosecond of our time on those people. However, some people are terrific actors and it can be hard to tell if you don’t know what signs to look for. You must know the signs or you won’t know who to hang onto and who to let go.

Here are the signs:

1.You feel bad or awkward around them. Energy doesn’t lie. Although you may not consciously know that the people you’re with don’t value you, you’ll feel it in their vibrations. Therefore, avoid anyone who makes you feel that something is “off” because the vibes you feel are a warning. Realize that these people don’t deserve to be in your presence or your life. You deserve better.

2. Empty promises. These people make all kinds of promises but never follow through. Again, you deserve better than them. It’s time to ditch and switch to better people.

You must know the signs or you won’t know who to hang on to and who to let go.

3. Their words don’t match their body language or actions. They tell you that they like you, that you’re the best thing since the invention of the wheel but don’t act like it. Therefore, they treat you like dirt and ignore you when other people are around.

4. They only want to be with you in private. This means that they’re probably ashamed to be seen with you. They’re all over you when it’s just the two of you. However, in public or when others are around, they ignore you and act like they don’t know you. Again, get rid of these no-counts.

5, You make all the effort in the friendship or relationship. You are always the one to initiate contact, do all the calling, all the texting, and messaging. Also, you make all the visits to their house, using your car gas and your time but they never reciprocate. This can get exhausting. At some point, you find yourself wondering if they really care. Therefore, it’s time to stop making so much effort and let them do some of the work if they want to contact you, and if they don’t, there’s your answer. Find better friends.

Clarity is key!

6. They take and never give. They only use you for what they can get from you, then disappear. Again, this is so revealing. Have nothing more to do with this person.

7. They never tell the truth. If you find that a friend has been lying to you, you have to wonder what else they will lie about. It’s time to start choosing friends who are honest and let this person go!

8. They’re jealous of you when things are going well for you. If a friend resents your achievements and successes, it’s time to cut them loose. You deserve friends who celebrate your successes with you, not ones who are green with jealousy and see you as competition.

9. They get angry when you talk to your other friends or a family member. This is a huge red flag! A true friend would never want to keep you all to themselves and block you from associating with other people who love you. They would want others to love you too. Moreover, any friend who feels insecure any time you talk to someone else is not good for you. Get away from them, pronto!

Know your worth and get rid of those who don’t.

10. They always disappear when you’re in trouble and need them the most. They’ll leave you to fend for yourself when bullies come for you. Additionally, they may not supportive and not come around when you’re sick or feeling low. Again, dead giveaway. Steer clear!

If you see any of these signs in a so-called friend, get rid of them…fast! This person should be about as welcome in your life as a turd in a swimming pool!

You owe it to yourself to let these leeches go!

That Block Button is There for a Reason

Here’s a truth you might not like to read or hear. Not everyone on your social media friends list is your friend. Therefore, it doesn’t matter who you are. Everyone has at least one snoop on their friends list- people who are only there to watch you.

Snoops are really just another brand of cyber-stalker because they’re on your friends list.

I have them, you have them, we all have them. There will be people who send you friend requests, or people you think are friends who accept yours. Next, three months, six months, maybe a year or more goes by and you won’t get as much as a like from them, much less a comment.

When the new friend makes no attempt to interact with you, you soon forget about the person. And you focus on the people who interact with you the most.

However, suddenly, wham! You get the first comment from them. And it’s laced with vitriol and vulgarity, blasting you because you posted something they didn’t like. Again, understand that snoops, as I like to call them, friend you, then constantly clock your page. They wait with bated breath for you to post something that gives them an excuse to flame you.

Are They Friends or Snoops?

However, look at it this way. This person has now showed you their true colors. They were never your friend but were only there to keep an eye on your posts and interactions.

Realize that your social media page is your digital real estate. It’s your domain. And you have every right to post what you want on your page if it isn’t hateful or violent. Furthermore, if some lowlife blasts you for any reason, then you must unfriend and block.

Understand that this is about setting boundaries. And, if you don’t set boundaries, you can bet that others will notice and think they can troll you too.

People put entirely too much importance on likes, followers and friends. But that’s for another post.

However, lack of engagement is one of the major warning signs that the new friend is a snoop. Another reg flag is when they attack you for something you post. Sadly, we live in a society in which people pick even the most innocent things apart and twist it into something to gripe about.

All the more reason why you should not be afraid to use that block button. You are not responsible for someone else’s feelings. And you must stop worrying about the number of friends on your friends list.

Quality is much more important than quantity. Just because you have five thousand friends on your list doesn’t mean they’re worth having. Always remember that.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

A New Perspective on Betrayal

Targets of Bullying are most susceptible to betrayal by those who masquerade as friends. The reason for this is that they long for friendship so much so that they attract abusers and users who will only exploit this longing to achieve their own ends. However, at different times in our lives, we’ve all experienced betrayal. Someone we thought was a friend did the unthinkable. And, when it happens, it’s like being kicked in the stomach.

It hurts much worse when you’re screwed over by a friend because you trusted this person. You may have even loved them. This is something you expect from an enemy, but never a friend. Therefore, when an enemy strikes against us, it’s much easier to deal with. However, when it’s someone we trusted and thought highly of, the pain is much worse. In fact, it can be devastating.

Therefore, once you’ve been betrayed, it can be hard to trust anyone else who comes into our lives, even those who may be sincere. When we meet new people thereafter, we proceed with caution and regard others with suspicion. This isn’t good either.

Why? Because, when we allow a past betrayal to cause us not to trust, we only push away those who may be sincere. We, in essence, give the creep who betrayed us power over our future relationships.

Sadly, I went through a phase during my twenties when I too was suspicious of everyone. I thought they all had ulterior motives and kept them at arm’s length. I let the fear of being hurt cause me to push others away and as a result, my relationships suffered.

Don’t Give The Person Who Betrayed You Power over Future Relationships

However, I’ve since realized that, with each person we meet and each new friend we make comes a degree of risk. Everything comes with a certain amount of risk and here’s no getting around it. And you either take the risk or you end up miserable and lonely.

Everything we do comes with risk, whether it’s going for a walk or driving to the supermarket. But you wouldn’t stop driving because of the chance of having an automobile accident. So, why would you refuse to meet and make friends because of the chance of being betrayed?

Again, life’s full of risks and you can’t allow fear to stop you from living. You must live life and you must live it to the fullest!

With Every New Person You Meet Comes a Degree of Risk

Therefore, I refuse to allow some lowlife from my past to cause distrust in humanity. Hell, no! I believe in giving the new people I meet a chance and not making them pay a debt they don’t owe. If they blow that chance, then that’s on them, and they would only reveal their true colors.

In closing, you must know that anytime you’re betrayed, the best you can do is to drop the person and move on to someone who’s deserving of your time. Understand that your time and you company are valuable. And you shouldn’t waste it with some chump who doesn’t deserve the privilege of being in your life. So, ditch and switch, baby!

But, whatever you do, don’t let betrayal cause you to distrust humanity and shut new people out! That’s a recipe for misery!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

A Blessing that Feels Like a Curse

Now, more than ever, we must stand up for our God, our beliefs, and convictions. We must be true to ourselves, our hearts, and to the people who love us, and we must do it boldly and confidently. We must know ourselves inside and out.

In short, we must have the courage to be different.

The blessings of critical thinking and self-care can be dangerous today.

Sadly, in the last two years, this country has gotten so divided that people have lost family and who were once close friends over their beliefs, their convictions, their values, and their traditions. I’ve lost a few friends myself. However, I’m not afraid to lose people. It’s only God’s way of removing the people who were imposters all along and never deserved to be in my life in the first place.

Hey! I know it’s hard. But if you’ve lost people the last few years because of our divisive government and society, I want you to know that you did nothing wrong. Your beliefs and convictions are yours and you own them. And again, God is taking out your trash for you.

Therefore, sometimes, what is a blessing can feel like a curse. Some blessings require pain and sacrifice. But it’s always worth it in the end. And, who knows? You might end up with much more than you ever lost.

The blessing of seeing who people really are.

Although these blessings are quite painful, I truly believe that these last two years are a test. They’re a test to see if you’re strong enough to stand in your truth no matter what it may cost you. Never be afraid to be yourself, speak your truth, and risk losing a person you only think is a friend.

These last two years have revealed so much to us. Among the revelations are the true faces of those we thought were friends and were smarter. Moreover, these last couple of years have shed new light on the true intentions of our so-called leaders, whom we thought were loyal to us.

If nothing else, remember this:

You don’t lose friends, you lose frauds.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

You Don’t Lose Friends, You Lose Frauds

When you’re a target of relentless bullying, losing so-called friends becomes the norm. Sadly, this is the reality for many who fall into this category.

Most targets of bullying suffer deprivation of human friendship and therefore, they have no sense of belonging. We humans are hardwired for socialization and connection. When bullies meticulously strip those things away, it can be devastating. After they’ve suffered this deprivation for so long, targets can become desperate for even the tiniest crumb of affection.

Neediness always invites abuse.

In life, there will be people who come into your life not to help you but to harm you. Not to love you but to leave you.

Understand that when bullies target you, they beat you down,  and render you sad, lonely, and worst of all, desperate! Add all this together and you have a stinking, toxic cocktail of vulnerable.

Realize that evil always attaches itself to those whom bullies have weakened and made most vulnerable. People smell desperation from a mile away and the target will repel those who are emotionally healthy and attract only the lowlifes whose only intentions are to use and abuse.

Predatory users love to catch you when you’re most vulnerable. When you are rendered powerless, you will draw in fake friends. They’ll be those whose only intentions are to use you until they get all they can out of you. Many will act as friends to hurt and humiliate you.

These people may use you for money or material things or they may simply use you for social benefits. Also, they may use you for the psychological payoff of taking domination of you. Whatever it is, know that they aren’t here for your benefit, they’re here for theirs.

So, when do these frauds show their true colors?

Many targets of bullying are shocked and dismayed when the monster finally shows its face. The target may say something totally innocent, but something the fake friends doesn’t like. Suddenly, the mask falls off and the poor target finds out the hard way that this person really isn’t a friend at all. The fake friend then turns their back and becomes an enemy. They may even bully the target like everyone else.

Here’s when they show their true colors:

1. When you stand up for yourself.

2. When you’re not afraid to be yourself.

3. When you speak your truth and stand on it.

4. When you let your opinions, beliefs, and convictions be known.

5. When you call them or someone they like out on their bullshit.

How do you recognize a true friend?

A true friend may not necessarily agree with you, but they’ll always respect your opinion. They will always accept that you’re a different person with your own set of values. And they’ll never turn their back on you or get hateful toward you for those differences.

True friends will allow and even encourage you to be yourself, speak your truth, and stand behind it. They wouldn’t want you to be fake for the sake of pleasing others.

Understand that if at any time, a person who claims to be your friend doesn’t allow you to be yourself. Or if that person doesn’t allow you to speak your mind, or show your emotions, that person is not a friend. Therefore, you should re-evaluate that friendship and give this person the old heave ho.

Know that you deserve better friends than them. That’s why it’s so important that you love yourself enough to know when it’s time to let go and move on. Because some people just aren’t worth your time. Always remember, you don’t lose friends, you lose frauds.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Bullies Aren’t the People Who Are Most Hurtful to Their Target. So, Who Are the People Who Are Most Hurtful? (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1…)

When you’re a target of bullying in school or at work, you can’t afford to put all your trust in anyone, not even those who seem to be your friends. I’m not suggesting you be completely paranoid, only nonchalant. Because in a toxic area, you will have a few nosy wolves in sheep’s clothing around you, who will try to get close to you for no other reason than to probe for intimate details about you and your life.

They will also study you like a lab-rat to see how you react to certain things and find out your opinions, especially opinions of your bullies and other people you go to school or work with. Why? So they can take the juicy deets and report back to your bullies with them.

Here are ways that you can pick up on your classmates or coworkers’ hidden attitudes and intentions.

1. Always observe the people around you – without looking like you’re watching, of course. Use your peripheral vision to scan them and your environment, and you’ll quickly pick up on the moods and sense the elephant in the room (if there is one).

2. Look for body language that isn’t congruent with words and context – Actions speak louder than words. If their body language isn’t congruent with words, background, or the situation and shows even a hint of hostility and discomfort when they’re around you, then “Houston, we have a problem.”

back-stabbing colleagues threatening an employee with scissors and knife

3. Watch for micro flashes – If you’re not careful, you’re likely to miss those tiny, split-second micro flashes of contempt people give without realizing it or when they think you aren’t aware of it. There are good actors; don’t get me wrong, but there are certain things the body gives away involuntarily, and if you look for it, you’ll see it.

When you’re around fake friends, sometimes, as you turn your back, you’ll see a tiny micro flash of contempt on their faces out of the corner of your eye. Then, you’ll get that nagging feeling in the pit of your gut. Don’t ignore that because you don’t only imagine things! Eighty-six, these creeps fast!

4. Notice the person’s feet – You can tell a lot by the feet! If the person is talking to you, facing you, but their feet are pointing away from you, that means they aren’t as “with you” as you think. Put some distance between you and that person.

5. Watch for crossed arms while talking to the person – If you’re having a conversation with the person and they cross their arms over their chest, that’s a dead giveaway! They’re exhibiting closed body language, and they’re closing themselves off to anything you have to say. It’s time to make an excuse to end the tete-a-tete and walk away. You don’t want this person around you.

6. Looking at you without blinking – if they do this, it’s a sure sign of contempt, or they’re trying to intimidate you. Either way, this person is not the person you want to be around.

7. Other signs to look for – a furrowed brow, one corner of the lip slightly raised, an icy, piercing stare, smiling at you with their mouth but not the eyes (no crinkles around the eyes). Any of these signs, you might want to distance yourself.

8. If they look at you, then look at each other when you walk away – again, you want nothing to do with these people.

9. Watch what you share– Very important! Don’t tell anyone anything they don’t need to know. Not even to those who seem friendly Don’t reveal information that’s better off private. Don’t badmouth anybody, especially the bullies, to anyone. They may smile in your face, but you can be sure they’ll report back to the bullies with anything you say and try to fan the flames.

10. Watch for eavesdroppers – If you have an innocent conversation with someone in the hall, be on the lookout for eavesdroppers. Don’t talk near corners or open doors. Many times people will listen in on your discussion, then report back to the bullies with it. Pay attention to people who walk by.

And if you see other people standing around while you’re speaking and those people aren’t a part of the conversation, take the discussion to a place more private.

With knowledge comes empowerment!