wikiHow to Avoid Getting Beat Up by a Bully

You wake up, go to school, and next thing you know, a bunch of stuck-up bullies insult you and shove you around like a ball. You feel intimidated. What should you do? This situation is not normal but it is not uncommon. Almost everyone has experienced it in some form. Eventually you'll have to find a way to "stand up for yourself" but what does that mean? Read on.


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    Watch your back. Be aware of your surroundings and the people you are with. Bullies typically have friends following them or rely on bystanders (people who do not tell the bully to stop). Place yourself around friends who care about you and support you. If necessary, ask them to protect you. If you ever feel unsafe you should tell a responsible adult about it.
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    Avoid the bully. If you are not near the bully, you will not become a victim. Many bullies rely on setting up their victims for embarrassment. Be mindful of what you are doing when near a bully so the behavior does not repeat itself. If a bully seeks you out, you should tell a responsible adult like parents or teachers about it.
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    Make eye contact. Eye contact is more powerful than any speech or stance. Don't shift your gaze down or look around as if afraid. (Looking away is like an invitation to get hit.) Look straight at a bully or—if it's too difficult—focus on their eyebrows. Make the bully see you as an equal by communicating to the soul of the bully what is happening is not fun, not good, not acceptable. It is natural to feel fear or have tears. Most bullies respect the real courage that comes with eye contact.
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    Speak confidently with intimidating people. Don't be timid or whiny. Speak assertively or with assurance. Practice this skill in the mirror. Sometimes it helps to be loud and firm. Use assertive body language, looking them in the eyes. If you can't shake the bully, you might be able to convince the people watching not to be bystanders.
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    Change the subject. Discharge and redirect the tension that's feeding a potential fight by changing the subject to something else. You might crack a non-threatening joke. The best thing is to ask a question. Try to keep it relevant to your interactions; you don’t want your tactic to appear too obvious. Afterwards, tell a responsible adult what happened.
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    Persuade with words. Some bullies can be talked down from a fight. Say something that might make them think that you're not worth the effort, like “Why are you picking on me?” You might appeal to their ego to avoid fisticuffs: “Everyone knows you’ll beat me easily if we fight.” If all else fails ask "What do you want?" and finish with "I don't want to fight you." Remember to be assertive and make lots of eye contact. If they don't seem to listen, you need to walk away. (Be prepared to defend yourself if necessary.) Make sure to tell a responsible adult about it.
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    Attempt to leave. Walk away from the situation with as much calm as you can muster. Most bullies are playing to an audience and it is in your best interests to get them to sympathize for you. If the bully pushes or corners you in an attempt to provoke you to fight, then make escape your top priority. Sometimes it helps to back away so you are always facing the bully. Don’t let a crowd keep you confined; tell them assertively (the louder the better) to let you leave. Be sure to tell a responsible adult about the situation.
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    Tell a responsible adult. After ANY experience with a bully you should tell a trustworthy adult like a parent or teacher. It is their job to make sure you are safe. Most of the time it will be your role to stand up for yourself, and responsible adults will give you good advice or help you strategize about your problem. It is important that you establish early on what is happening in case it escalates into something serious.
    • A bully has to answer to someone in authority over them. You'll come to know how different teachers or other people in authority react to bullying situations. Their attitudes vary, so don't look to just one in particular, especially if they seem too busy. Of course, make sure your situation is genuine. It is natural for people in authority to be fair and impartial at first. If after two serious events (such as a fight, real threat, or severe humiliation) they do nothing to prevent or reconcile the bullying, explain everything to another responsible adult.
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    Get into a fighting stance. When a fight seems imminent, body language is your best weapon! Don’t overact the role and appear silly. Tell the bully you are not joking or playing. If you appear serious in defending yourself, the bully will think twice about fighting or physically harassing you. More importantly, at this point bystanders should be watching and hopefully realize the bully is being mean. Look the bully in the face. Focus on how the bully moves and adjust your position confidently. You are essentially committing yourself to fighting so be prepared to give one! Even if you don’t exchange blows, tell a responsible adult afterwards.
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    Don't lie about your prowess. Exaggerating how strong or fast or tough you are is an invitation to fight for any bully. Stand your ground, face the bully, and let them make the first move. Sometimes the unknown is just enough to shake a bully's confidence. Maybe just enough.
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    Smile. Act like you are going to enjoy what is about to happen, though more than likely it will be the opposite. Usually, if you look at a bully and smile, s/he will think something is up. It is an easy way to start to psyche him/her out and may be that little extra nudge to dissuade. And if the bully asks why you are smiling don't say anything; keep smiling and just relish in the thought that the bully is now a little scared.
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    Brace yourself. If you are forced into a confrontation and feel that a fight is going to happen, as a last resort there are several things you can do to protect yourself:
    • Put your hands up by your face, like a boxer. This will protect you, especially the nose and eyes. Good sight is important in a fight, obviously. Always return to this “ready” position.
    • Tighten your stomach in case the bully tries to punch you there.
    • Turn a little sideways so your body is not as big a target.
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    Think about consequences. Your life is not set in a movie. Fighting will undoubtedly get you into trouble with parents or the authorities. You should also think about how the bully’s friends will react to you afterwards. Fighting people in real life has consequences. Don't get involved in something you aren't ready to justify adequately. You might be expected to apologize later to the jerk.
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    Defend yourself. If fighting is imminent with a bully, act and fight like you've got nothing to lose! You do this only to prevent future bullying, not for revenge. A few fast and hard punches to the stomach or the face should be plenty to stop a bully. Sometimes all you have to do is knock a bully down to the ground. Be sure to do it in a public place with witnesses. Even if you get embarrassed or beat up, in the end you’ll have proof you need for the bully to eventually get punished and your problem solved. Don’t dare to forget to tell your parents you were in a fight.


  • Know your bully and what his intentions are. Is he looking for a cheap laugh or does he want to see you hurt? If he wants a cheap laugh, odds are he is no better than you as a fighter so it probably won't come to that. But if he constantly tries to push for physical conflict, make sure your guard is up, because he is confident with fighting.
  • If you are a bully or have bullied others YOU NEED TO STOP IT. Otherwise, you'll keep repeating the behavior until you get into too much trouble. Also, people won't truly respect you because you don't respect others. Bullying is the fastest way to end up with no friends.
  • Chances are you are angry about something and taking it out on an innocent person. Are you repeating behavior that has happened to you? Most bullies, deep down, don't like being a bully. (It takes more energy to be mean than to be decent.) If you talk about your feelings with someone you trust, you'll feel better about it.


  • Rarely will bullying escalate into a life threatening situation. Most bullies aren't trying to seriously hurt you. However, if you experience more than pushing, wrestling, or a few punches fight back so you can escape. Your life is in danger, for example, if you receive kicks to the head, suffocation, or your attacker has a weapon. (That is a FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE; telephone 911 or other emergency number as soon as possible.) Use a nonfatal fight finisher, like a kick to the groin or making the nose bleed. If a weapon is being used against you, use your fingers to gouge out the eyes. This sounds extreme, and it is. Therefore, it should only be used if you have no other choice. The moment your attacker goes down, RUN and call for help. Don't stop running away or calling for help until you get some.
  • Understand self defense, but know its limits. It is protection from harm. Sometimes it is physical; sometimes it is running or evading a problem in other ways. Its purpose, is nothing more than to stop yourself from being physically hurt. It is not for revenge. Self-defense can sometimes incriminate you (make you seem like a criminal, which may require a judge to decide). You should report every incident when you use self-defense.
  • Keep in mind that somebody purposely touching you without your permission (or the permission of an adult who has true authority over you) may be a crime, even if the perpetrator is a child, and should be reported to an adult you trust.
  • If a parent or other adult is bullying you, it will be more difficult to present your case because they have power over you. It is okay to feel scared. Don't let feelings of fear, shame, or guilt stop you from telling another responsible adult such as a teacher, counselor, or parents of your good friends. If you keep it a secret, no one can help you.
  • Bullying is harassment; it is a crime. Report every crime when it is safe for yourself to do so, but understand that it is not easy to go through that process. Some police, parents, teachers, and other responsible adults may not take you seriously. You may have to abide by their instructions. If that be the case find another responsible adult to help you. Be completely honest in reporting to adults, including all the self-defense you used. It is the best way to build trust with them. Reporting makes you heard, and creates a paper trail that give evidence that you are law abiding person. Will bullies not like this? Of course they will not like it. Do not give in to their psychological pressure. Reporting to authorities will eventually create a wall of support around you that bullies will respect.

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Categories: Dealing with Bullying | Self Defense