Bullying

“This one girl at my school says she’s my friend, but whenever I’m not around she says mean things about me. What can I do?”

Standing up to a bully can be incredibly difficult, especially when the perpetrator is a so-called friend. Here are some signs that this person isn’t friend material and some suggestions for how to deal:

1. They see you as a benefit instead of as a buddy.

If a friend seems more interested in what you have or where you’re invited than who you are, then he or she is not the real deal. Some signs to watch out for: the only want you to help them with their homework; they only call when there’s a party coming up, then cool off for a while.

How to Deal:
Remember, it takes two to make a friendship work. Try talking to this person and tell him or her that, if this friendship is going to work, then you both need to make an even effort.

2. They always call you out when other people are around.

No one likes to be made to feel stupid, especially not by their own friends. Don’t excuse your friend for criticizing you. Being a true friend doesn’t mean pulling down someone’s self-esteem.

How to Deal:
Whenever this person says something nasty, repeat it back to them when the two of you are alone. If they apologize, forgive them and let them know that you two are still friends. Everyone has a bad day now and then and says something they don’t always mean. However, if they have no regrets about offending you and keep doing it, it’s probably time to move on.

3. They tell your business to the world.

They’re called secrets because we don’t want everyone to find out.

How to Deal:
If you find out they’re sharing things you told him or her in confidence, don’t let it slide. Instead, tell him or her that it really bothered you that they shared a secret. Let them know that you two can still be friends, but try to be cautious about what you share for a little while afterwards.

4. They don’t wish you well.

Is this friend constantly telling you that you can’t do something? Do they call your opinions or ideas dumb? Then you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t have much respect for you. Friends should respect us and help us accomplish our dreams.

How to Deal:
Next time he or she doubts you, ask this person to be specific about why he or she disagrees. If they can’t explain,tell them that you’d like them to be more supportive of you, just like you are with them.

Remember, at the end of the day, no one has the right to bring you down or tell you that you can’t be yourself. A friend who is mean to you or doesn’t care about your feelings probably isn’t your friend at all. It may hurt to end a friendship, but remember somewhere out there waits a new friend who will respect and support you.