Busting the Bullying Myth: Ignoring a Bully Doesn’t Work

 Let’s bust a myth: Ignoring a bully doesn’t work.

Ignoring a Bully Doesn't Work! What does? Get the Bully Vaccine and Find Out!

We know people mean well when they say, “Ignore a bully, and they’ll leave you alone.” But this advice doesn’t work. 

What Actually Works?

What works? Simply put: science. Specifically, behavioral science.

For over 70 years, researchers have explored how we learn and unlearn behaviors. There is a way to cause unlearning, but it’s not easy.  You have to remove the reward bullies get from bullying. 

To make bullying stop, you need to remove the reward. This is incredibly hard to do, especially when a bully is in your face.

Why Ignoring Them Doesn’t Work

When people tell you to – “ignore a bully” what they are really trying to say is don’t reward the bully. 

The main reason ignoring them doesn’t work is because most bullies see your silence as submission—and they view that – as a reward! 

The Process Explained

To get them to stop – you have to remove their reward.

In theory – this is pretty simple. Don’t reward the bully. Repeat until they stop.

But like all simple things, it’s not that easy in reality.

How do you remove the reward without ignoring them? 

Answer: You need to find something to say that shows you heard them but aren’t bothered by them. 

And then, you need to repeat it every time they hassle you.

The Crappy Reality

The other issue with “ignore them and they will go away” is that even if it worked, it wouldn’t work immediately. Ignoring them often leads to an initial increase in their attempts to provoke you before they eventually give up.

How long will this take? Not too long, but it won’t work on the first try. Removing the reward requires repetition and patience.

The unfortunate reality is that when you remove the reward, bullying can get worse before it gets better. This is backed by 70 years of research.

Any anti-bullying program that doesn’t prepare you for this reality sets you up to fail. To stop bullying, you need to know what works, how difficult it is, and what to expect when you start using these techniques.

Resources To Stop Bullying

I offer free materials on my website, www.bullyvaccineproject.com, that teach these methods. I also have a book detailing the science and practical steps you can take. Plus, worksheets and exercises to help you develop effective responses to bullies.

If you are looking for harassment training that teaches how to make harassment stop – please consider using my online courses for your staff training needs: https://humanistlearning.com/category/bullyingharassment/

Take Action

If you are struggling with a bully, stop. Find out what actually works according to science and take control of the situation. 

Visit my website, get my book, and learn what it takes.

Please, share this information with others who are struggling. Together, we can finally fix this problem.

Thank you. Let’s make bullying a thing of the past. Please share this with others. 

FYI – I also offer this book in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese – ¡Ignorar a las acosadoras no funciona! ¿Qué hace?

¡Ignorar a las acosadoras no funciona! ¿Qué hace?