Assertiveness Strategies for Bystanders
Note: Use the following information only with the recommendation of your teacher or counselor and your parents. These strategies should also be used with other strategies to keep you and others safe.
- Look confident (assertive body language) by standing tall, with your shoulders back
- Move closer to the bully, beside the victim, turn sideways, and give the bully non-threatening eye contact
- Keep your facial expressions neutral
- Keep your arms beside your body
- Make your stand then leave the situation
- Make assertive statements for the victim: With a serious face and a strong but calm voice say, "Stop it!" or say “This is a waste of Bobby’s time and my time. Come with me Bobby.” (walk off confidently with Bobby) - Or say some other appropriate comment, but do not provoke the student who bullies.
- Use “Fogging.” For example, admit that you also have the characteristic the bully is using to tease someone): “You know, Bobby and I both need to lose weight. Come with me Bobby.” (walk off confidently with Bobby)
- Exhaust the topic (repeated questioning about putdown). For example, “How many people do you know that are fat?” “How overweight do you have to be to be fat?” “How long do you have to be overweight to be fat?” “Come with me Bobby.” (walk off confidently with Bobby)
- Broken record — repeat: “What did you say?” or “That’s your opinion.” or “So.” “Come with me Bobby.” (walk off confidently with Bobby)
- Confront the bully concerning his/her spreading rumors and lies about someone. Refuse to spread the lies and demand that the rumors/stop.
- Expose the ignorance of the bully when he/she is teasing someone because of their disability or medical problem. Reveal the facts. Then ask the victim of bullying to walk off with you. (walk off confidently with Bobby)
- Give the bully permission to tease: “Well, it’s okay to say what you want. It doesn’t bother Bobby and it doesn’t bother me. Come with me Bobby.” (walk off confidently with Bobby)
- Take on the characteristic used to tease someone and use a sense of humor: “You know Bobby and I both have big ears, sometimes we feel like elephants. Don’t we Bobby?” or “You know, Bobby and I both are pretty stupid. Come with me Bobby.” (walk off confidently with Bobby)
- Make an asset of the characteristic used to tease someone: “Well, I guess _______ ______ (a famous popular person) and Bobby look alike, they both don’t have a lot of hair. I wish I looked like Bobby. Hey Bobby, come with me.” (walk off confidently with Bobby)