From bullying bud back to bestie
Friends don’t become frenemies over night, and they certainly don’t become bullies for no reason. Take heart, though, babe, ‘cause we’re here to help solve the sitch of the sweetie-gone-sour.
What’s causing the behavior?
Take a moment to consider what was going on in your bullying bud’s life when this bad behavior started. Are her parents splitting up? Did her BF dump her? Is she suddenly struggling in school or sports? Any number of things could be contributing to her sudden turn around. Remember: Whatever is causing her behavior doesn’t excuse her behavior. Figuring out the likely cause will simply help you choose a tactic for talking it out.
People of all ages and genders bully each other because for whatever reason, they want to feel superior to someone else. Instead of achieving that feeling through personal success, they create it by making those around them feel bad. Your bud wants to be in control, the alpha friend who dictates what’s going on in her social group…and that includes bossing and bullying you around. Whether you stand for it is up to you.
You’ve tried to speak up once with poor results. The next time you do it, you’ve got to be assertive. When she reaches over to grab your tray at lunch, snatch it back, look her in the eye and tell her to please knock it off. If she persists, tell her to stop. And if she still tries to torment you, get up and walk away. There’s no reason for you to allow her to behave badly. Later, take another tactic. Pen a letter from the heart that explains what you’ve been thinking and feeling about her behavior. She won’t be able to walk away from it, and unless she wants to kiss your best friendship goodbye, she’ll read it and take it to heart. Hand it to her after school and let her read it in private.
Give her space
If she still persists, start to back off. Sit with different friends at lunch and stop making plans. When she asks you to go do something, say you’d rather not. And when she asks why you don’t want to go, be blunt. “Look, Sarah, we’ve been friends since grade school, but lately you’ve been really mean to me. I don’t want to go to the mall with someone who steals my phone and hits me. Sorry.” Feel free to quickly end the convo…then keep yourself open to an apology.
Once the air has cleared, you two do need to talk this out. Make sure she knows that you are there to support her, to listen when she’s having a bad day and love her when she’s feeling lonely. But you won’t allow her to bully you anymore. And that’s that!