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What do I do if one of my friends is being bullied?

Getting bullied yourself is one thing, but it can feel even worse when it happens to someone you love, like a younger family member or your best friend. You probably believe that it’s your responsibility to look out for them and protect them from any harm, and while that's not totally true or false, it's natural to want to defend them at all costs. If your feet are in those shoes right now, here are some things to keep in mind.

Know that they might not want your help

As much as you might like to storm into your brother’s or your bestie's class and have a word with these bullies yourself, you can’t do that. You might get yourself into trouble or make the situation worse for them. They might want you to do anything at all, including tell an adult, but what you need to do is remember that being a bystander is never the answer. An adult will need to know what is happening no matter what. 

Ask what you can do to make them feel better

The best thing you can do is remind them that you are always there for them. Give them a day that's all about them. Your little sis has always wanted to play "Minecraft" with you? Join her for a while. Or maybe your bestie is always trying to borrow your clothes? Give her free reign of your closet. Do whatever it takes to put a smile on their face and remind them that you're always there for them. 

Tell them to do their best to avoid the bullies

While we’d all like to say either “stand up to them” or “ignore them” when talking about bullies, sometimes neither is possible. Standing up to a bully can sometimes lead to an unsafe altercation, and totally ignoring someone who is harassing you is something only a perfect person can do. So advise your sib or friend to do their best to avoid situations without adult supervision that involve these bullies. Tell them to unfriend the bullies on Facebook, unfollow them on Instagram and delete them off Snapchat, too.

Tell an adult

This is the most important step and also the most difficult. Bullying often causes feelings of self-loathing and fear in the victim, and this can deter them from telling an adult. So while they might have told you details on the sitch, they might also be begging you to never tell their teach or parents. Bullying is a serious issue, so that is not an option. No matter how angry they might be at you, an adult has to know. You can offer to come with them yourself when they tell their parents or a teacher, but in the end, if they don't do it, it’s down to you to make an adult aware of what’s going on.

Remind them that they are loved

Don’t let the bullies keep a frown on your friend's face. Counteract anything that they have made your loved one feel by telling them how amazing they are.

Have any of your friends or siblings ever been bullied? What did you do to help? Sound off in the comments! 

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by Amy Garcia | 2/8/2017
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