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Relational Bullying Guide

Use the above links to explore the relational bullying guide.


Recongnize Bullying

To stop bullying, you have to know what it looks like.

Relational bullying is a different than other types of bullying because the actions are usually quiet and hidden from others and it often happens between friends.

Relational bullying can be:

Exclusion: When someone is left out of activities by their own friends and other social circles as well.

Here is an example of relational bullying involving exclusion. Watch as Steve and Jake purposefully exclude Mark.


Gossip and Rumors:Information, stories, or details about a person that are spread around behind their back.

Here is an example of relational bullying showing how a rumor is started and quickly spreads about Noah.

Relational bullying can also be:

Think you know?

The following questions are to help you better understand relational bullying. Work by yourself or with a friend and try to come up with your own answers before looking at our answers.

Questions about the video:

Mark, Steve, and Jake:

Why do Steve and Jake exclude Mark instead of directly asking him if he was talking about them?

  • People usually prefer to avoid conflict. So it can be hard to confront someone if you are mad at them.
  • To Steve and Jake, it is easier and meaner to exclude Mark than to ask him if he was talking about them.
  • Because they are mad, they want Mark to feel bad so they are “punishing” him for the perceived friendship violation.

What could Steve and Jake have done instead of excluding Mark?

  • They could directly ask him if he was talking about them.
  • If they didn’t feel comfortable talking to him, one of them could have written Mark a note or sent him a text message asking him if he was talking about them.
  • They could have considered other reasons why Mark was laughing and looking over at them instead of jumping to the assumption that he was talking about them.
  • They could have decided not to get upset in the first place and dropped it. They know Mark better than that and he wouldn’t talk about them in a mean way.

Why is excluding someone considered bullying?

  • This is bullying because the intention was to make Mark feel bad, confused and upset.
  • Excluding him sends the message that they don’t want to be around him anymore and that they are mad at him.

Noah and Taylor:

Can you see how easily a rumor can start, even though Noah’s friends were not trying to start a rumor?

Do you think Taylor meant to start the rumor? Why or why not?

  • Yes, Taylor meant to start the rumor.
  • People like to hear rumors and gossip because it can be entertaining. They are not usually thinking about the consequences.
  • Knowing the most recent gossip can be used to a person’s advantage because other people can be attracted to hearing what they “know”.
  • To ensure they know the most recent gossip, people will sometimes start rumors on their own, just as Taylor did.

Why is passing a rumor considered bullying?

  • If the rumor is negative, false, or derogatory towards someone then passing the rumor on is considered bullying.
  • Every time a rumor is passed, it hurts the victim over and over again.

Other things to think about

Can you think of some other ways people use relational bullying?

  • Making sarcastic comments
  • Ignoring
  • Spreading rumors
  • Excluding
  • Making “mean” facial expressions
  • Talking to someone in a cold or hostile tone of voice
  • Teasing, Eye rolling, Taunting
  • Three-way calling
  • Withdrawing friendship or threatening to withdraw a friendship out of anger
  • Accusing the victim of trying to be better than everyone else
  • Questioning the victim’s actions or decisions
  • Revealing secrets
  • Writing mean notes or slam books

Have you see these types of things happening? Did you recognize it as bullying? Why or why not?

Let's take a look at what happens next in After The Bullying →