The easiest way to deal with a bully is to never have one in the first place. Although this may seem like common sense, most people don’t know how to keep themselves from becoming a target. The key is to project confidence.

Bullies look for easy targets; those who look like they won’t fight back or challenge their authority.  They look for targets like this by paying attention to how other kids carry themselves, how they speak and how they respond to adversity.



The easiest thing for a bully to pick out is the body language of a potential target. Several factors combine here that display what the person is feeling about themselves or their surroundings. Someone showing weakness or a feeling of intimidation is going to be much more likely to attract a bully than someone who shows that they feel self-assured.

Here are the body posture cues they look for:

  • Head and eyes – are they looking at the floor or scanning the area ahead for potential trouble?
  • Shoulders – slumped shoulders typically indicate submissiveness. Hold your shoulders up and slightly back.
  • Chest – when your shoulders move back, your chest moves forward
  • Back – slouching or walking slumped over indicates that you are unsure of yourself or your surroundings. Stand up straight and the rest will feel more natural



In many cases, displaying more confidence will help to deter some bullies but others may still decide to test your confidence by verbally interacting with you to gauge your response. Here it is important to speak assertively and decisively.

  • Volume – imagine a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being a whisper and 5 being a shout. Your volume should be at a 3.
  • Tone – talking loud but sounding unsure won’t help your cause. Speak with confidence and assertiveness.
  • Speed – too slow and it sounds like you’re stalling, too fast and it sounds like you’re in a hurry to run away from the conversation. Speak at a natural, even tempo.
  • Preparedness – have a preplanned practiced response to what a bully might say about you.



Looking and sounding the part is a great start to displaying confidence, but if you fold at the first sign of resistance all that work will have been for nothing. This doesn’t mean that you should be ready to get into a fight, instead knowing how to quickly and appropriately respond to situations will show bullies that you are well prepared.

  • Scan your surroundings – stay out of harm’s way by looking out for potential trouble. If you can’t avoid it, scan for the nearest exit in case something does happen.
  • Self defense – martial arts training is a great way to learn to keep yourself safe
  • Know who to speak with – if something serious happens to you or someone else, knowing who to report the incident to can put a quick stop to it.