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How to help if your friends are being bullied

Here's the sitch: Everything at school is going great—for you. Good grades, your teachers like you, you even have people to sit with during lunch. But for your friends? Well, things aren't going great...and everyone you tell keeps on advising you to take the higher ground. That's nice and all, in theory, but it's not helping your buds when the mean kids turn up and start pushing them around. Here's what to do to make a difference right now.

Taking matters into your own hands
One thing you can and should do is to make this problem YOUR problem. In other words, don’t just be the third party giving advice to your friends. Find ways to stop it yourself. Yep, once a teacher or administrator at school knows about the issue, you can follow up with them and remind them what's going on. And you can find other friends to help support your pals who are getting bullied.

Insider support
This leads to our next point: Be a bodyguard for you bullied buds. The most common time a student gets teased is when he/she is in a small group in the hallway or by herself, in sitches like a walk home alone. That puts your pal in a vulnerable position so they're easily victimized. So, get your buds together and make a pact to travel in packs. When you're in a large group, it'll be way easier to face off with a big bad bully.

How to handle
If the meanie dares to say anything in front of all of your friends, stand up as a group and don't be nasty back. Something like, "Lauren's not a loser, and we're all her friends," is a good enough quip. You could also try ignoring the bad guy as a group. When he/she makes a crack, just keep on talking and act like they don't exist. Bullies are just looking for a reaction...and when they don't get the one they want, they're likely to leave you and your friends alone after a while.

Get outside help
Another big step is to involve an anti-bullying group. There is so much that they can do—from helping your friends find personal solutions to overcoming bullying to even stepping in and confronting the bully one-on-one. You can easily find a group online (psst! Check this out: pacerteensagainstbullying.org) or through your school (counselors usually have the info).

I know it may seem hopeless right now, but don’t give up! One person can bring a huge change, so keep on keeping on.

Have tips? Experiences to share? Write about 'em in the comments.

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by Jean L. | 10/23/2017
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