Or Maybe Not All Bullies Are The Same

This Hacker News thread is a general referendum on bullying from a population of users who were fairly likely to be at least mildly bullied.  The interesting thing to me is that you see a lot of:

“Bullies will stop if you ignore them.”

“No, they will stop if you fight back.”

“No, they will stop if you conform.”

“No, they will never stop.”

With basically all the responses implicitly backed up by what that poster experienced in school.

Two quick notes:

  1. I this kind of conversation, I feel like a lot of talk is implicitly aspirational.  People say, “If you do X, you will stop being bullied.”  I think that often (not always) translates to, “I was bullied and never really figured out how to stop it, but since then I’ve done X, and I like that, or I want to do X in my adult life, and I will backwards project that into being the solution to my problem in high school.”  That is, I think that a significant portion of the people advocating for X have never seen X work, even once in an anecdote.
  2. But many people probably have solved their own case of being bullied with solution X.  And now they prescribe X for everyone else.  Because all bullying is the same?  Why would it be?  I know that we all look down on bullies and think negatively of them, but given that there are people who confidently assert all those solutions, and similarly confidently assert that all the other solutions don’t work, isn’t the natural synthesis that different bullies have different psychologies, and what works in one case may not work in another?  Why does there have to be one answer?

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