If someone wants to harm you, they don’t have to come out and tell you. Just the same, if they want you gone, they needn’t tell you to “get the hell out.”
All they must do is glare at you and hope they can either intimidate you into leaving, or make you think you’re about to get hurt. In a case like this, the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. Worse even, others might feel the animosity between you and personal history may ruin an otherwise good day.
So, you’re a target and you’re at a party or get-together, and suddenly, you see your bully across the room. Your eyes lock and she sends you a threatening glare. She is giving you the message that she intends to make your day a really bad one. You have choices. Either you can turn tail and run, or you can spend the rest of the day avoiding the bully.
Again, how you handle it is your choice.
But wait! Here’s another choice- a better choice! You can smile at the bully, nod your head, then turn your back to her. If you want to be a smart alick, add a wave.
Therefore, you will non-verbally send your own message back to your bully, one that is very clear. You signal that she doesn’t scare you and that you have no intentions of running. Instead, you intend to stay and enjoy yourself with the other people at the shindig. And you will do this whether the bully likes it or not.
Ouch! This is not the response your bully expected!
In that, you’ve responded to the bully without being aggressive or capitulating to their silent demands that you either cower or leave.
Understand that bullies use nonverbal means to not only send you a cruel message, but also to make their bullying less obvious to anyone else but you. Therefore, it’s better not to respond to nonverbal bullying with words. Instead, reflect your own nonverbals back to the bully that signal that you aren’t afraid of her.
Again, nonverbal bullying requires a response that is also nonverbal. And your response should say that you will not cower or run. Instead, you will stick around, ignore the bully, and do your thing.
With knowledge comes empowerment!