Bullying, and Bad Advice


“If everyone has a issue with a person, the problem probably lies with said person. But if you’re the only one with an issue with this person, then the problem most likely lies with you.” 

It’s a common phase found in self-help articles on Psych Today, ‘advice’ from YouTube strangers in too much eyeliner that you’ve never met, or a caption emblazoned on the bumper sticker on some random persons car that you spotted on the road, probably as a giant “F*** YOU” to other randos on the road with bad driving etiquette.

This sentence, though popular, is far from serving its assumably intended purpose of making you reflect and adjusting your attitude and outlook on life accordingly.

What. Utter. Rubbish.

This sentence is the essence of bullying. 

I recently heard this sentence, and was thinking about how insupportably untrue it is.

Ever heard of being singled out? Check with Uncle Google, and its 4.3 million instant hit results. And what about being mistreated unfairly, or subjected to sexism at its worst? What about rape culture, unfair and unethical practices, or being excluded from a group? How are these situations where we blame the victim and tell them that it’s probably all in their mind and a manifestation of their actions and attitudes?

Isn’t that the same thing as blaming the girl for being assaulted if she wears something deemed “too revealing” by others? Just because we don’t see other girls getting touched inappropriately, does that mean said girl should be blamed for the assault?


Ask your children, ask your wife, ask your closest friends – even ask yourself – if any of them were ever bullied, and how they felt during the emotional aridity of it all. Speaking from experience, people who are bullied feel singled out, their bullies two-facing them with humour and compassion in a crowd filled with the ‘more important people’, yet are treated with disdain, cruelty and ridicule when alone.

So what if everyone else doesn’t have a problem with a single someone, and yet you do? Couldn’t it just mean that this individual has a vendetta against you and seeks to do you harm – just not in front of watchful eyes? What, A person has the prerogative to be nice to whomever he or she chooses, but the same cannot be said to being rude/offensive/sexist/exclusive?

I get reasonably indignant and pissed off whenever someone receives this advice as a ‘remedy’ to their people-problems.

This is not a one-size fit all piece of advice, and even so, I believe there are much better ways of making someone introspect and come clean with themselves. As for this piece of advice, it should be utterly forgotten, banished to the farthest regions of logical humanity.

In fact, I’ve taken the liberty to come up with a more fitting piece of advice:

“If everyone has a issue with a person, the problem probably lies with said person. But if you’re the only one with an issue with this person, then be honest with yourself and take some time to find out what’s causing the root of your conflict. Could it be jealousy? Inferiority? The need for mutual acclimatisation? Competition? Personality traits? Someone having a bad day? Don’t assume anything, and realise out of a global population of 7.6 billion people, some personalities just weren’t meant to gel, and that’s perfectly normal, and that isn’t your fault.”