Bullying: 4 Types and Best Solutions

Table of Contents


Bullying is any intentional act aimed at making another person feel uncomfortable, isolated, fearful. The four most common types of bullying are verbal, social, physical, and cyber. Bystanders should help the person being bullied. Bullies should take steps to stop their behaviors and mend the relationship with the person they hurt.

What is Bullying?

Types of bullying

Sometimes we tell jokes about each other and although it may seem funny, it may be hurtful or harmful to others. Whether it’s happening in social media, someone spreads a rumor around the school, or someone is physically intimidating, bullying is any intentional act aimed at making another person feel uncomfortable, isolated, fearful.

If you have been bullied, you may feel hurt and alone. Bullying is not okay, it is not your fault.

Verbal Bullying

Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things about someone. 

This can occur both in person and online.

  • Name-calling
  • Teasing/Taunting
  • Inappropriate sexual comments
  • Threatening to cause harm

Social Bullying

learn about social bullying

Social bullying happens when a bully tries to hurt another person by affecting their relationships. 

This can occur both in person and online.

  • Telling people not to be friends with them
  • Excluding or ignoring them on purpose
  • Spreading rumors
  • Trying to embarrass them

Physical Bullying

learn about physical bullying

Physical bullying means hurting someone’s body or their things.

  • Destroying others’ property
  • Hitting/punching
  • Tripping
  • Pushing


Learn about cyberbullying

Cyberbullying means using technology and messaging services to be mean to or intimidate/embarrass someone. 

  • Sending mean text messages
  • Making mean posts about someone
  • Spamming their wall/photos with anonymous hate comments
  • Taking photos/videos of a person and posting them without their permission 
  • Creating a fake profile or photo of someone 
  • Pretending to be someone that you aren’t online as a means to hurt the person (catfish)

Why Do People Get Bullied?

Bullying usually has nothing to do with you. Instead, it has more to do with the person that is bullying. 

If you are being bullied, you may be feeling sad, alone, frustrated, isolated, anxious. Being bullied can have long term effects on your health and wellbeing. 

Because of the bullying, you may start to think that hurting yourself, killing yourself, or hurting others is the only way to respond to the bullying. Bullying is serious and you do not deserve to be bullied.

What If I'm a Bystander?

If you have witnessed or heard of bullying but not responded to address the bullying, you have been a bystander to bullying. It’s scary to not know what to do when witnessing another person being bullied. Being a bystander puts you in a position to help someone from being bullied. 

Here are a few different things you can do to help: 

  • Be a friend or an ally to someone that may be feeling alone and isolated from being bullied
  • Stand-up to the bully and ask them to stop harassing the person
  • Reach out to a trusted adult and let them know what is going on with the person being bullied and try and get them help

What If I'm The Bully?

There can be many reasons that you may bully someone. Something may be going on at home and you feel the need to take it out on someone else. Maybe, you want to control someone else, because you feel like you have no control in your life, or you were bullied. It’s okay to be feeling frustrated, angry, lonely, depressed or all of the above. If any of the above describes how you are feeling, bullying others will not give you long-term relief. 

Here are some quick tips for you to use to stop bullying:

  • Stop any behavior that causes someone harm
  • Know that it is never alright to purposely hurt someone
  • Understand that everyone deserves respect
  • Recognize that everyone is different, and these differences make everyone a special part of the world
  • Talk to someone, such as a teacher, parent, or an adult you trust. Ask that person for help 
  • Think about new ways to respond positively to others

After you realize why you bully and have decided to stop, here are some steps to take with the person that you have bullied: 

  • Apologize – Apologizing is an important first step with those that you may have hurt. When you apologize, remember that the person may still feel hurt or confused and may not accept your apology, that’s okay! Your job is to be honest and apologize for what you have done and try to make it right. If they aren’t ready to accept your apology that is okay too.
  • Explore New Activities – Now that you have made the choice to stop bullying, it is important to find new skills and hobbies that teach you more about yourself. For example, trying new sports or after school activities.
  • Develop New Relationships – Finding people who support you during this change can be helpful in remaining bully free. Having positive friends can help you feel better about yourself and make better choices. 
  • Talk to Someone About the Problem – Even though it may be difficult, talk to your parents, school counselor, teacher, or another trusted adult to get the support or advice you need to make better choices.
  • Advocate for Change – Instead of being the bully, you can now advocate for those that are still being bullied and encourage other bullies to stop. Bullying is terrible for those that are bullied and those that bully, no one wins when bullying occurs.

Bullying Wellbeing Strategies

Stop Bullying bullying wellbeing strategies

Respond To The Bully

You can ask the bully to stop, walk away, tell someone about the bullying, report the bully to an adult, or avoid the bully.

Talk to a Counselor or Therapist

It can be difficult to address your emotions and thoughts, experiences, and life challenges. Reaching out to a counselor or therapist can help you feel better and less alone.

Talk to a Trusted Adult

Parents, mentors, school employees, and religious leaders can provide you with additional support and guidance to work through your life challenges.

Take Care of Yourself

Exercise, sleep and eating healthy can have a big impact on your overall mood and how you feel about yourself. You can also do something you enjoy, such as yoga, art, sports, writing, listening to music, playing an instrument, etc. Finding time to do things that you enjoy can help you feel better.

Meditate, Prayer, Mindfulness

Connecting to your breathing and your abilities to calm yourself can help positively increase your mood. Spending time in nature can help improve your mood.

Further Reading

What is Bullying? – StopBullying.gov

Effects of Bullying – StopBullying.gov

11 Facts About Bullying – DoSomething.org

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