Passive Bullying is a Particular Problem in High Schools on Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day provides a perfect opportunity for passive bullying by those high school students who use bullying tactics to improve their mood or personal sense of self-esteem. Because the holiday focuses on couples, singles are often alienated from the gatherings and festivities of Valentine's Day, causing this holiday to turn schools and offices into hotbeds of depression. Bullying is a leading cause of depression and depression a leading cause of suicide at Valentine's Day, so the prevention of passive bullying is an imperative, particularly in our school systems. But what can you do to help to prevent passive bullying, and moreover, what do you do if you encounter someone who is feeling depressed -- or worse?
The purpose of this article is to teach readers what passive bullying is and how it pertains specifically to the Valentine's Day holiday, plus assist with prevention techniques to aid teachers and classmates in keeping the bullying to a minimum.
What Is Passive Bullying?
Passive bullying occurs when a body of people intentionally or unintentionally exclude an individual from their group or events relating to the group. Excluding Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer from the "reindeer games" was one form of intentional passive bullying, for example. At Valentine's Day, people experience passive bullying when their peers receive Valentine's cards, gifts or flowers but they do not, as they are left out of the Valentine's Event. This is particularly common in high schools, and is a form of unintentional passive bullying. The bullied party feels bullied even if the peer group has no intention of excluding the individual. Most passive bullies only want to be part of the main group, and aren't intentionally hurting anyone.
Most passive bullying at Valentine's Day is unintentional. This is not an article about how to punish bullies for bullying, but an article about supporting people who feel bullied at Valentine's Day.
Have you ever felt left out on Valentine's Day? Unless you've spent your lifetime being one of the most popular people at any institution you were affiliated with, you probably have. While the bullying on Valentine's Day is unintentional and often endorsed by large companies and schools alike, it still leaves people feeling left out and alone, and this is why the term "passive bullying" applies to this situation, regardless of intent. Passive bullying occurs because the people involved aren't considering the way that those around them feel. For obvious reasons, this is most common in high schools where teenagers are wrapped up in themselves.
Unintentional Passive Bullying on Valentine's Day: What is It?
Most of the passive bullying that occurs on Valentine's Day is entirely unintentional. While there may be some people (usually teenagers) who use this day as an excuse to point out the friendless status of some of their classmates, all in all this type of bullying happens by neglect and not by intentional abuse. For this reason, it may be confusing as to why this is being termed "bullying" in this article. The key is to understand the components of traditional bullying and the way that the term is used in modern language to describe the alienation of high schoolers in particular.
Bullying involves three different groups of people, in the traditional sense.
Three Persons Involved in Bullying
|The Bully||The Victim||The Bystander|
May be Physically Attacked
Doesn't Stop Attacks
Gossips about Victim
Alienated by Peers
Passively Involved in Attacks
Makes Victim Feel Vulnerable
May Feel Helpless
Why is Passive Bullying Worst at Valentine's Day?
Valentine's Day isolates singles in institutional settings such as high schools and places of work. Even grade schools that allow students to give valentines to only some of their classmates may promote bullying of less popular students. To emphasize that one person is less popular than others is a way of singling them out and isolating them from the herd. Schools, in particular, are made up of a herd to which everyone wishes to belong but to which the sick and lame are weeded out. High schoolers define what makes a person "sick" or "lame" and then weed these members out of the herd. Valentine's Day emphasizes the herd and makes the "sick and lame" (the singles) more separated from it.
Many high schools support the students celebrating Valentine's Day by using the sales of roses or candy-grams to raise funds for various school projects going on during the Spring months. This supports passive bullying by giving the teenagers (who are already inclined toward bullying one another in the first place) the opportunity to show off their relationship status by sending roses or candy to their sweethearts. These flowers or messages often arrive during class time. While it's obvious that this singles out the recipient, it also emphasizes to singles that they aren't the ones receiving the flowers or candy.
In short, Valentine's Day supports the singling out of the individuals at the top, thus alienating the individuals at the bottom.
How Do I Stop Passive Bullying at Valentine's Day?
Quite frankly, you're never going to be able to stop unintentional passive bullying except through education. Make sure that your students (if you are a teacher) understand that the single kids at school feel left out when their friends get roses or chocolates during class times. If you're part of the administration, consider cutting down on the fundraisers that supply roses and candy-grams to students during class-time. Parents should make themselves aware of their child's status and ensure that they're prepared to supply an alternative to the traditional Valentine's holiday if their child isn't currently dating.
But if you can't stop passive bullying at Valentine's Day, what can you do? Start by doing some Random Acts of Valentine's Kindness. If you're single, you may wish to celebrate self-love this Valentine's Day instead.
Everyone should get involved. Support your friends in Single's Awareness Day (or host an Anti-Valentine's Day Party) or make sure that you're sending roses or Valentine's Cards to people who haven't gotten any this year. Make everyone feel included and everybody wins!
The best way to prevent bullying is to support singles, and don't forget that Valentine's Day is on a Friday this year! If you know somebody who's going home lonely, keep in touch with them over the weekend! Loneliness causes depression, which can lead to Valentine's suicides!
© 2014 Becki Rizzuti
Becki Rizzuti (author) from Indianapolis, Indiana on January 23, 2014:
Over several hubs, I've tried to make the point that Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about romantic love. It can be about self-love, or about platonic or fraternal love for somebody else. If people pay enough attention to what's going on around them, they'll have an easier time preventing the feelings of being left out at Valentine's Day.
John Fox from Richmond, VA on January 23, 2014:
High School was a bad time for me. I had this happen a lot but the thing I realized is that having another person love you doesn't have to mean a relationship. If you have friends period you are better off then nobody at all. I have had many girlfriends in the past and let me tell you they made me crazier then the idea of being single for years. The fact of the matter is "having someone" can be more detrimental than being single. Some people take high school as "the best time of their lives"
I took it as "Screw everyone else, i'm going to work on myself, get me to a level which I am more successful with or without someone." As said I've had many girlfriends or girls I was "talking to" but they went nowhere. A lot of times later on I found that was a good thing as some people out there can make you absolutely miserable and people feel they can't escape. I think people should focus on themselves and furthering themselves first then worry about the girlfriends and "one night stands" after you get somewhere. If you focus your mind on relationships before success you fail in both ways.