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Subtle is still bullying

Bullying Okotoks

I know, the issue of bullying has been beat to death, so why haven't we stopped?

Just look how the word has trended over time!


While bullying is said to be

"force of some sort or the use of superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants."

What about coercion through behaviour or treatment, this must just apply more to adults. Bullying does not stop in school, it just changes.

Old School Bullying

When I was younger, the bullying we had was making fun of someones shirt or pants, their fancy bowl cut and bad breath. While it was still bullying, it does serve you to grow a bit of a thicker skin and overall it was relatively harmless. It hurts feelings, isolates and disappoints - all of which are things it is better to learn at 6 than at 18, 25 or 30!

If you had a funny bike, well it prepared you to know that one day, you will have a geeky car. There will always be people who have shinier things than you have, fancier clothes and bigger houses, you accept it and move on.

If Jane got the newest toy and you didn't well, you know what, your family could not afford it. It was that kind of living with disappointment that makes you less materialistic.

Once the scars of our harassed childhood fade, we are left stronger. We did not get the awards for showing up. We accepted being picked on for being the losing team, bugged by the winning team, made fun of... thats life.

Bullying has come into the limelight because it is more visible. Videos have been done, public recourse has been shown highlighting the tragedy of bullying gone too far.

Silent Bullying

But what about the silent bullying? Yes, the quiet inside jokes that the bully and victim only know, these are happening online. The private messages that are short little jabs. The comments, the innuendos.

The blatant invites that are never delivered leading to gossip -heck, isn't gossip a form of bullying that the victim does not always hear?

Passive aggressive notes left on fridges at work, doorsteps at home or 'blanket' insults that we know only affect one person laid out publicly. It is using influence, one person believing they are superior enforcing their ideas onto another person or group.

We think because these are not shoves into lockers that somehow they are ok. Fact of the matter is that it is still bothersome.

No emoji will cover it

We think that we can deliver a 'jab', insult or make fun of something and as long as we finish it with '' or an emoji, we protect ourselves from thinking it could possibly be taken offensively.

We block people on social media accounts (and think they wont find out). If any of you have been to a 'Rant & Rave' Facebook Group, you will quickly see how people are ready to call people out publicly (using their influence) in hopes to change a behavior (do what he or she wants) - this is in fact bullying - but yet it somehow seems ok if it is anonymous enough.

We would not comment or share face to face like we do online, we feel somewhat more entitled to voice our comments since we are not using our actual voice but a combination of words and text.


Just be nice >> treat people how you would want to be treated.

Julie Boake

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