Am I being a bully?

There are some tell-tale signs to help you identify what counts as bullying and what doesn’t. Before giving any more wet willies, check out some info on how to recognise if you’re being a bully, how it might affect others and how to change your behaviour.

This can help if:

  • You want to figure out if you’re acting like a bully
  • Someone has accused you of being a bully
  • You want to learn more about how bullying affects others

alone young teen leaning against school wall texting

What is bullying?

Bullying includes doing and saying different things that cause another person distress. Someone who bullies others will usually do these things on a regular basis and on purpose. 

Sometimes, our actions and the things we say are misinterpreted by others without us even realising it. It’s all well and good to joke around, but how far is too far? Read up on some of the giveaway signs of bullying, just to make sure you’re not accidentally ruffling anyone’s feathers.

Am I being a bully?

Bullying comes in lots of different shapes and sizes, but there are some common signs to help you figure out if you’re taking things too far. A handy way to figure out if your behaviour could be considered bullying is to ask yourself a few simple questions:
  • Do you tease people when you’re in a group?
  • Have people spoken to you about your behaviour bothering them?
  • Do you force people to do things even if they don’t want to?
  • Do you exclude someone from activities on a regular basis?
  • Do you spread rumours about people?
  • Do you say things to people that you wouldn’t want people saying to you?
  • Do you regularly upset people by the things you do or say?
  • Do you feel good when someone else stuffs up?
  • Have you noticed that people never come to you for help or advice?
  • Do you always try to change people’s minds if things don’t go your way?
If you answered ‘yes’ to a bunch of these questions, it’s possible that you might be showing signs of bully-like behaviour. It’s a good idea to keep these questions in mind whenever you’re out and about spending time with others to help keep yourself in check. 

How does bullying affect others?

Bullying can be really hard to manage for the person at the receiving end. People who are bullied might end up feelings powerless, worthless or like there’s something wrong with them. Not to mention, it’s also a negative experience for the one who is bullying others, who risks ruining relationships, pushing people away and can end up feeling pretty lousy about themselves.

Bullying can also be a way of trying to manage something bigger that’s going on. Someone who bullies might take out their frustrations or worries about something else entirely on the people around them. If you think this might be the case for you, have a chat to someone you trust who could help you nut this out, and learn how to build better coping skills.

Baby steps 

Don’t panic – if you’re worried you might be bullying others, there are loads of things you can do to change your behaviour. 

Talk to a friend, teacher or counsellor about what’s on your mind and they can help you get to the bottom of whatever is going on, one step at a time. 

Ask yourself these questions when you’re hanging out with your mates, and chat to them if you’re worried they might be getting upset by your behaviour. 

Don’t feel weird about asking the people around you to point out if you do things that they’re not okay with. It’s not too late to change your behaviour and at the end of the day, everyone will be better off for it.

What can I do now?

  • Get skilled up on forgiveness.
  • Learn some more info on bullying.
  • Go and talk to someone you trust about what’s on your mind and how you can fix it.
Last reviewed: 04 November, 2016
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2 Comments

  • ruenhonx    (796 days ago)

    Hey @kazza1981

    It sounds like you are having a hard time at work right now. I suggest you check out the factsheet http://au.reachout.com/about-workplace-bullying it also has a section on what you can do.

    Some types of workplace bullying include:

    hurtful comments making fun of you or your work
    sexual harassment
    excluding you from workplace activities
    playing mind games or 'ganging up'
    giving you pointless tasks that don't help you do your job
    making impossible demands; setting you up to fail
    using your roster to deliberately make things difficult for you
    withholding important info
    physical violence, from pushing and tripping to outright attacks
    threatening you with workplace equipment like knives or drills
    initiation or 'hazing' rituals where you have to do something unacceptable or humiliating

    I hope this helps. If you need to talk or get some support. Come onto the forum :) Take care of yourself.

  • kazza1981    (798 days ago)

    If you say to an employer that you don't like the way they are speaking to you and they turn around and say if you don't like it there is the gate is that class as bullying in the workplace