What to do if you’re accused of bullying

If someone calls you a bully, it's a sign that how you've acted is not okay. Owning up to negative behavior fosters integrity and accountability. Consider the situation an opportunity to mend relationships with those you may have hurt.

Know how to apologize for bullying.

The best way to apologize is with sincerity. Spend time reflecting on what you said or did, and why the other person felt upset. If you’re unsure about why the things you said were hurtful, apologize and ask for help understanding. Let the person know you’ll be more careful and won’t repeat the bullying behavior.

If you’re afraid to apologize or uncomfortable with repairing the relationship on your own, ask a trusted adult or friend for guidance.

Be patient.

Don't expect to be forgiven immediately. The other person may need time to think about your apology. Or they may have trouble trusting you.

Change your behavior.

Give the person you hurt time and space by focusing on improving your behavior. Be mindful of what you say or do and how that will affect others. Continue to treat both yourself and others with respect.

If you witness someone being bullied, take steps to intervene or support the person being targeted.