October 25, 2017


Dear Nikki,

There are these girls in my class who bully my best friend. My friend is pretty shy and won’t stick up for herself, so I try to stick up for her. But whenever I do, the girls are mean to me, too! My teacher told me to ignore them and let my BFF learn to stick up for herself, but it’s not that easy. I can’t just let them bully my BFF! What should I Do?

Bothered By Bullies Bullying BFF

Hi Bothered By Bullies Bullying BFF,

You DEFINITELY can’t let them bully your BFF, that’s for sure! The only way I’ve survived MacKenzie for so long is because I knew I had Chloe and Zoey for backup!!

I get what your teacher’s saying, though. If your friend always relies on YOU to deal with bullies, what’s she going to do when you’re not around? What if you’re not in the same class next year? Or she rides a different bus? Or she just runs into them at the mall or the pool or wherever? So, I DO think it’s important for her to learn to stick up for herself.

But it’s NOT your responsibility to teach her. And WHILE she’s learning, you can for sure be there for her. That’s what BFFs are for!

I think one of the best ways to be there for someone who is getting bullied is NOT by confronting the bully yourself. Like you said, that just makes them turn on you. But whether it’s your BFF or someone you don’t even know getting bullied, here are a few steps you can take (only if it’s safe for you to do so):

  1. As long as the bullies aren’t physically blocking your way (or you’re not stuck somewhere like a school bus), move your friend away as you talk to her and ignore the bullies. If this is someone you don’t know, once you’re removed from the situation, ask them if there’s anything they need or anyone you can call for them. Stay with them until you’re sure they’re okay.
  2. Continue to ignore whatever the bullies are doing or saying. It might be hard, especially if they’re saying mean things to a friend. OR if they’re saying things you know are really wrong! But bullies WANT the power they get out of confrontation. By ignoring them, you’re denying them that power.
  3. Be sure to talk to the person being bullied like the bullies aren’t even there. Talk about something TOTALLY normal. Like the weather. Or, “Oh, did you watch that show last night?” or “Have you read this book yet?” Make eye contact with them and physical contact, if that’s comfortable for both of you—like a hand on their shoulder.
  4. With your BFF, just be sure she knows you always have her back. Be sure she knows that you appreciate her just the way she is, whether she’s shy or whatever, because DORKS RULE!

It sounds like you’re a really good friend. Your BFF is so lucky to have you!

How do you feel when someone picks on your BFF? How do you handle it?