Am I being a bully?

QuestionAm I being a bully?

AnswerSome questions you can ask yourself.

  • Do you often use name calling or speak disrespectfully about people?
  • Do you often have a defiant or hostile attitude towards others?
  • Do you always have to be in control?
  • Are you often rough with people, e.g. pushing, shoving or ‘mess fighting’ in a rough way?
  • Do you get angry if things don't go your way?
  • Are you often part of arguments or disagreements?
  • Do you lack empathy for others? (not thinking or caring about how they feel)
  • Do you laugh when someone gets hurt or embarrassed?
  • Do you dare or force people to do things they don't want to?
  • Do you have a few close friends, but in larger groups people keep away from you?
  • Do you pressure people into giving you money or personal items or ‘borrow’ things but don’t give them back?
  • Do you often break the rules or push the limits?
  • Are you sometimes aggressive towards adults, e.g. your parents, teachers?
  • Do you send rude, embarrassing or threatening emails or text messages?
  • Do you spread rumours about people?
  • Do you make jokes about people based on their race, culture or who they fancy?
  • Do you stand on the ringside and laugh when someone else is being bullied?

‘Think about your brother or sister or a friend. Would you like them to be badly treated? What would your parents or grandparents think about how you are behaving? Think about now and the future. Do you want people to remember you as the bully from school?’ Thomas, 14


If you answered yes to many of these things, you have probably been involved in bullying behaviour.

QuestionI have been bullying a boy on the school bus and now I feel bad. What should I do?



  • Recognise that your behaviour is wrong and unfair.
  • Apologise to him.
  • Show him that you have changed your ways by backing off or standing up for him if someone else is bullying.
  • Think about the effects of your behaviour. Go to How does bullying affect people.
  • Take a look at yourself. Is this how you really want to be? Do you want to be labelled as a ‘bully’? Do you want other people to be in fear of you?

You may think you are popular among some people who laugh at your bullying behaviour. The truth is, those people are probably afraid of you too.

Talk to someone about what you’ve been involved in. A trusted adult like a parent or school counsellor may be able to help you in making a fresh start. Try to find new ways of managing anger – get active, develop positive friendships, talk to an adult about your feelings. Make a fresh start and try a new hobby so you can get to know new people.

If you are part of a clique, leave it and find a new friendship group.


It’s never too late to change.


Maybe there are difficulties for you right now?

  • Have you been feeling anxious, distressed or angry?
  • Is someone else bullying you?
  • Do you feel like you are caught in a cycle of negative behaviour?
  • Are there problems at home?

It's important that you talk with someone and get some help. You could link in with your school counsellor or an adult you know and trust.

QuestionWhat does being ‘aggressive’ or ‘hostile’ mean? What is being ‘assertive’ ?



Someone who is passive may

  • Give the message that other people’s rights are more important than their own.
  • ‘Give in’ to things, even if deep down they don't want to.
  • Say what they think other people want to hear instead of sticking to their own opinions.

Someone who is aggressive may

  • Behave like their rights are the most important.
  • Be unwilling to compromise with people.
  • Use words and actions that intimidate people.
  • Always have to win an argument or have things go the way they want.

Someone who is assertive

  • Has respect for others even if their views or ideas are different.
  • Feels confident about giving their own opinion.
  • Believes in fairness and equality.
  • Can say no if they disagree with something and explain why they have said no.

Think about how you approach people and the language you use. Sometimes people can use aggressive or hostile language without realising it.

Saying ‘Move it’ or ‘What’s your problem?’ could sound hostile. But saying ‘I need to get past’ or ‘Is there something wrong?’ sounds assertive without intimidating or scaring someone.

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