Friends in unlikely places

Many kids in school don’t realize that students are being bullied and feeling worthless everyday. This is a worldwide problem, and when students are in middle school, they are more likely to look to peers for advice and opinions. In middle school, the average student is willing to change because of what someone else says is cool or acceptable.

This topic may seem old and covered too many times, but it is still a subject that should be discussed. Lots of kids say on the outside that they are accepting of everyone and will be friends with everyone. But really, are they willing to? People try to accept others, but most of us want to fit in, and to be popular we “shouldn’t” socialize with certain people. This is a problem because to be yourself, you have to learn how to listen to others while still remembering who you are and what your morals are.

Learning that someone is experiencing bullying or in a scary situation can be off-putting, but there are several sites and resources that are helpful. The I Am A Witness organization has a few quiet ways of saying to a friend that you are there for them, and stopbullying.gov is another site where you can learn about bullying and how to stop it. But then there’s the problem of bullying when it’s not obvious. Like when in person someone refuses to talk to you, but over text is nice and seems caring.  How do you address these problems in the moment? And how do you distinguish arguing from bullying?

There are many ways to help someone who is being bullied, and not all of them involve you helping the person. You can always go to another friend and ask them to help or an adult if the situation is serious. Even if you’re just worried about a peer, a simple caring gesture like texting them to say hey want to talk will make a difference. But if you don’t want to be very involved in this, that’s okay too. Sometimes taking care of a friend is a lot of work. They may want all your time, or you may feel like you need to give them your time, but if they have resources and help, (which they do), it’s okay.