The art of the comeback

Knowing what to say to a bully is half the battle.Bullying Tip #40: What to do about bullying? Learn what to say and how to say it.

There is this really cool article about 9 comebacks for arrogant people.

Comebacks are important when dealing with a bully. In order to get a bully to stop you have to remove the reward. The reward may not be coming from you. It may be coming from the bystanders who see the bully controlling you in some way or making you fear them.
In order to show you aren’t afraid or controlled, it’s a good idea to have something you plan to say in advance.

Once you know someone is going to say something mean to you – plan for it. Decide what you are going to say to them if they do this again and then practice saying it out loud so that when they do it again – you are ready with your “comeback.”

The ideal comeback is polite but pointed. Something that won’t get you in trouble for being rude, but lets the bully and everyone else know – what they just did – didn’t work. In behavioral terms, we call this a delta. A signal that what just happened was wrong and no reward is coming.

Examples of this are “so?” “No.” “Stop” issued as a command – not a request. Or – my son’s favorite – “thank you for that information, it’s very helpful.” The point is – you don’t insult them back – you just don’t accept the insult – publicly.

No one is good at coming up with comebacks on the fly. You have to think of them in advance and practice them – out loud – using your vocal chords and in front of a mirror so you can also practice confident body language that goes with this. All of this requires practice.

We all get caught off guard by bullies. We all wish we could have come up with a comeback in the moment. So – decide in advance what you are going to say to the next person who bullies you and be ready for them.

To learn more – join the website and get the book. If you are dealing with a chronic bullying problem, sign up for the toolkit.