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Types of Bullying: Exclusion

No Entry Sign, Representing Exclusion. One of the many types of bullying.

In this series of blog posts we’re exploring different types of bullying. By learning the tactics that bullies use, we’re better prepared to identify bullying behavior.

Today, we’re looking at a particularly sneaky type of bullying: Exclusion.

Put simply, a bully uses exclusion to make their target an outcast. Not only is the target excluded from the bully’s own social circle, but they use their influence to make sure the target is excluded from other’s social circles as well.

Here are a few examples of what this looks like.

  • Everyone is invited to Jose’s really awesome party this weekend, except for you.
  • When you sit down at the lunch table with a group of other people, they all get up and move to another table.
  • When you try to join in the conversation, everyone ignores you and continues talking as if you weren’t there.
  • Several people create an exclusive “club” which you’re not allowed to be a part of.
  • In a workplace environment, your entire team goes out together for lunch, but doesn’t invite you.

Exclusion is a particularly powerful form of bullying. It’s very hard to identify and even more difficult to take a stand against. This is because it’s not what the bully DOES, but what they DON’T do.

You can’t make someone like you. You can’t make someone do anything they don’t want to do.

The bully’s line of defense here is “It’s my life. Why should I be expected to spend time with someone I don’t like?”

This type of bullying is very prevelant in the workplace. “It’s my lunch hour, you can’t tell me what to do with it!”

Exclusion approaches the thin gray line between morality and legality. You can force someone to follow rules. You can’t force them to do the right thing.

The bully uses this to manipulate their target. By simply exlcuding them from being part of the “in crowd” they can manipulate their feelings of self worth without ever having to do a thing.

We’ll revisit this type of bullying in our next series, which will deal with how to take a stand.

Image by Ell Brown licensed under Creative Commons.

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