Sometimes we underestimate the power and influence our words have on other people and their lives. We fail to see how we speak things into existence, and we mark people along the way with the words we speak to them. When we think of bullying, we can imagine a highschool student picking on a person much smaller than them and that’s where we think the definition of bullying ends. The truth is, bullying is a lot more discrete and it takes place in many forms. Bullying can be physical, verbal, relational, and virtual. If we don’t know the different kinds, we can easily engage in bullying, or be a victim of it, without being aware of the repercussions.
Different forms of bullying:
The most obvious and most widely understood form of bullying is the physical kind. Physical bullying is using one’s body or physical power to threaten or injure someone else.
This kind of bullying is the most common kind. It makes its way into classrooms, homes, and workplaces. Some people may think that the effect of physical bullying is worse than verbal, but verbal bullying also causes a lot of damage. Verbal bullying entails emotional manipulation and the use of sharp words to attack someone’s identity or self esteem.
The most discrete but common form of bullying is relational bullying. Not only does this form take place between teenagers at schools, but also with adults in social settings and work environments. Gossiping, spreading rumors, and ruining someone’s relationships with others falls under the umbrella of relational bullying. It aims to isolate people and tarnish their image and reputation.
Older generations have not experienced cyberbullying, but with globalism and the fast-growing access to technology cyberbullying came to be. Cyberbullying takes place online through text messages and comments on social
media. Websites and apps with an anonymous feature led to the rise of online bullying because anonymity gave people a chance to express themselves without concern for the consequences.
Name-calling or physical fights are rare in adults, but there are other discrete ways that adults use to bully others. The most common forms of bullying in the workplace are verbal and relational bullying. When they are present in a workplace, it creates a toxic work environment. There are several ways you can prevent these forms of bullying:
- Report any racist or sexist slurs you hear from coworkers
- Shut down gossip and rumors
- Create boundaries with others that discuss the treatment you expect
- Confront and create an intervention for a coworker that is actively playing a role in creating a toxic work environment
- Use constructive criticism rather than negative and discouraging words that don’t build
- Have reasonable expectations rather than pressuring coworkers by setting unrealistic goals and tasks for them
- How have your words impacted your relationships with friends and family in the past?
- Do I constructively criticize my coworkers or do I discourage them instead?
- Do I witness any forms of bullying at work that i’m silent about?
- Was I a victim to bullying? How did that make me feel? How has it shaped me now?