Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bullies and Nice Don’t Mix

Now, be nice! After all, you don’t want to burn any bridges behind you!

How many times in childhood did you hear the statement, “Now, be nice”? As an adult, how many times have you heard or thought, “Don’t burn your bridges behind you” —another way of saying, “Be Nice”?

Generally, when people are nice, they are treated nicely in return, but that’s not the case when you are the target of a bully. In my personal and professional experience, behaving nicely, pleasantly, or kindly to your bully simply elicits more bullying behavior directly aimed at you, the target. Bullies can view your pleasantries and niceness as yet another way that you surpass or threaten them, or they may see your behavior as a weakness. Regardless, your behavior fuels their desire to be rid of you.

Remember, bullies and psychopaths rarely think and respond as their targets would. More likely than not, reasoning won’t work and niceness will aggravate the situation.

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