We’ve been discussing the various types of bullying. Understanding the tactics bullies use enables us to identify bullying behavior when it happens.
The type of bullying we’re discussing today is: Rumors.
Rumors are a fact of life. People talk. Eleanor Roosevelt once said:
“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
So long as there are people in this world with small minds, there will be rumors. If there is one subject people love talking about, it’s each other.
Some rumors are harmless. Who’s dating the guy in second period English? Other rumors are sinister and have a nasty bite!
The problem with rumors is that people believe them. In fact, many people would rather believe a rumor than the truth!
A bully uses this to their advantage. Instead of confronting their targets directly they spread nasty rumors about them behind their back.
This makes it very difficult to track down who the bully is. Once the rumor is started it spreads like wild fire! It passes from person to person like a virus.
All the bully has to do is come up with something juicy enough to get passed around and vicious enough to be hurtful.
The problem with rumors is that the damage they do goes far beyond hurting the target’s feelings. Rumors directly affect your reputation.
This is hurtful in the school environment, but absolutely devistating in the workplace. At the end of the day your opportunities for advancement are more tightly linked to your reputation than your actual job performance.
This type of bullying is difficult to stand against. The more you deny a rumor, the more inclined people are to believe it.
We’ll discuss how to handle rumors more in our next series in which we take a look at how to take a stand against bullies!