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How to Cope With an Office Bully: 7 Ways

Drew is a professional pharmacist who has experienced firsthand how the corporate world works.

If you’re working for somebody to earn your pay, surely you’re going to one day come across an office bully. A hot-tempered potato that simply loves to yell and berate somebody as if they’re not human. A few bosses or colleagues who can’t keep their temper. Sure, mistakes happen and you have a hand on it. Some might have a valid reason, but not all.

What’s worse is when these yelling episodes turn too frequent to handle. And before your know, it's already taking a toll on your mental health. Now you’ll ask yourself why the bully only targets you and not the others too. The whacko had set its sight on you for some unfathomable reasons.

So why?

This might hurt, but one of the reasons may be because you don’t know to handle them. And that’s why you're reading this how to cope with an office bully article of mine. Some employees think that a boss or a colleague shouting is something normal. Let me nip that thought in the bud. It’s not.

Anyway, as you scale up the corporate ladder, you’re bound to encounter at least one bully or more. That’s why it's incredibly important to equip yourself. And know, how to handle and cope when face with these tormentors.

Here are a few pieces of advice that may help you against an office bully. A few useful tips on how to manage these office bullies along with the awkward situation they bring.

  1. Do Not Appease
  2. Bullying Is an Abnormal Behavior
  3. Distance Yourself From the Situation
  4. Intensity for Intensity
  5. Take the Challenge but Mince No Words
  6. If the Bullying Continues, Walk Away
  7. Practice Self-Reflection

1. Do Not Appease

The most common response of people, when faced with a furious boss or colleague, is to placate. Calm the monster down. Then apologize. There’s nothing wrong with that. It only becomes wrong when you apologize but had not done anything worth saying sorry. The primary thought behind this is the wish to end the confrontation as soon as possible. After all, no one wants to spend their day facing an angry boss.

Regrettably, any attempt to appease a bully might soon backfire on you. They might begin to think that you’re someone easy to deal with. The bullies will think that what they’re doing is something acceptable. And that’s farther than the truth.

Tolerate them and they’ll take a few more inches. Before you know it, it becomes something normal for the bully to bully you. And you don’t want that to happen. Do you?

2. Bullying Is an Abnormal Behavior

You turn and catch sight of your angry boss shouting at one of your colleagues. You sigh and think that it's something unpleasant but normal. After all, your boss had done it a few times to you already. Let me tell you. That’s not normal.

Regardless of how tense the situation, bullying is not a solution. Shouting, yelling, venting on others in the workplace is unprofessional. It's something immature. impolite and won't solve the problem. Even the bottom if you’re on the bottom rung, you have the right to be treated with civility and respect. Don’t tolerate others bullying you to calm their fears and worries. Hell, you’re not their punching you know?

3. Distance Yourself From the Situation

When the office bully refuses to back down, things are going to end on a bad note. And that’s his problem. It’s now your turn to do something for yourself. After the confrontation, you might feel bitter and angry. It’s wise to avoid interacting with your co-workers until you cool down. Walls have ears. You don’t want to say something that’ll you’ll regret.

Go somewhere private and handle your emotions. Take a short walk or buy yourself a coffee. You might want to call your family or trusted friends for moral support. Then chill.

4. Intensity for Intensity

Cowards are bullies. Heard of this adage before?

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Office bullies, whatever kind they are, know the scent of danger. And they know when someone before them reeks of danger. Have you seen a bully strong-arming a tough person? Don’t wimp out and be dangerous.

I’m not telling you to shout back or punch the hell out of them. Or trade barbs with the bully. That’ll only end badly for you. You won’t need your muscles for this. What I am telling you is to raise your intensity to his level or even greater. If the bully is glaring, glare back and prepare to toughen your tone. Be sure you’re listening to them. People love to have others listen to them. It helps. Answer their questions whilst keeping respectful boundaries but with intensity.

Show them that you are taking responsibility and not backing off. You don’t want the bullies to feel that you’re someone who’s easy prey.

5. Take the Challenge but Mince No Words

Show the office bully that you’re ready to help and resolve the problem. Still, make it clear that you won’t tolerate any of their abusive behavior. Mince no words and speak out your thoughts. Tell the bully that you’re expecting them to behave in a civilized and professional manner.

Make sure that you’re also sending the message to the bully. Watch their reactions. Most of the time, people lose their tempers. That’s life. It happens to everyone. Even so, it's wise to call the bully out for their poor behavior with respect. And when they calm down, if they’re reasonable, you might even earn back their respect.

6. If the Bullying Continues, Walk Away

During their episodes, bullies can become too self-absorbed in their spittle-spree. To the point that they won’t accept any explanation, not an iota. All they want is to vent out on someone. Unfortunately, that will be you. If so, tell that you’ll be keen to talk about the matter once the bully treats you with the respect that you deserve. Then immediately leave the area. By doing this, you’re teaching the bully a lesson of a lifetime while also avoiding a probable clash of egos.

Learn to walk away with grace.

7. Practice Self-Reflection

Now you have reached the last part. But also, for the many, the more difficult part. Time for a brief self-reflection. Why did it happen? You might have touched the wrong nerve of the bully. Or you failed a very important job. Or you’re repeating your mistakes while feeling that the bully is the only one wrong. I’m not telling you that bullying is right. It’s damn wrong. What I’m insinuating is that you might have done something bad that you need to avoid. Something to make the bullies stop their bullying.

Were you late? Always. Did you forget that you have to meet this client? Yes. Did you make some mistakes in the financial report? A lot. Again and Again? Yes. Now, you’re stumped. Maybe the bully is not a bully, but only a frustrated and stressed-out being.

See? This is what self-reflection looks like. It’s not all flowers but it helps a lot. It allows you to see where you can improve on.

Try to also ask yourself, “Was this a one-time thing? Or is this happening all the time?” If the event was a rare one, then let it go. People make mistakes. Yeah, like you. When face with the ills of the world, they lose it too.

Is it’s happening all the time? Then it may be high time to seek better pastures. A perfect time for you to craft that escape plan.


Having a bully after your ass is not a flowery experience. It’s something abnormal and wrong. Handling bullying situations will never be easy. That’s for sure. That’s why you need to learn how to handle it like the pro that you are.

You need to learn to stand up to a bully with civility, professionalism, and respect. After all, you’re going to meet a lot of them in your life.

More on How to Handle Workplace Bullying?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Drew Agravante

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