Curb the bullying behavior

I feel like a lot of people do and say things that aren’t very nice, yet it doesn’t occur to them how their words and actions may affect others. What most of us don’t think about too often is how bullying is not just a direct act. If someone makes a mean remark about one of your peers, and you laugh along with them, the targeted person understands that you find humor in degrading him or her. If you badmouth someone even when he or she isn’t around, that person might still hear about what you said. In such case, that person may feel badly about him or herself due to what you said and ta-da, you’ve become the bully.

It is important to remember to speak with a purpose, and your purpose should always be positive or progressive. It’s hard to find a positive way to tell someone that they’ve aggravated you, so at least be progressive and communicate your needs to them without degrading them in the process.

Two areas in particular strike me as likely spots for inadvertent bullying in college:

  • Speaking in anger: We say ugly things when we’re angry, but there’s a difference between getting angry and calling someone stupid/lazy/ignorant/annoying/etc. when what you really mean is that they’re irresponsible, inconsiderate, etc.
  • Making snap judgement: Commenting negatively on shallow aspects of a person’s character can be harmful. Try not to allow your preconceptions of something like an individual’s appearance put a damper on how they feel about themselves.

The point is this: always be conscious of what you’re doing and saying. I am just as guilty of being mean, sometimes unintentionally, but sometimes on purpose. I encourage everyone to try to be better. Being mean can only do harm and being nice can only do good, so do better. Rid yourself of negativity and spread positivity.

Melanie Kesler HeadshotMelanie grew up around Savannah, Georgia, moving around the area before her family settled down in Rincon, Georgia where she graduated from South Effingham High School with small business management and French pathways under her belt. Now, Melanie attends Georgia Southern University pursuing a degree in Writing and Linguistics with a minor in Biology. Outside of school, Melanie can be found at the barn or volunteering in the surrounding equestrian community.