Everyone deals with jerks and disrespect but not everyone gets bullied. Jerks and disrespect are a normal part of life. Bullying, on the other hand, is a whole other animal. Although the behavior of a jerk is hurtful and negative, it does not mean that it can be classified as bullying. So, when is hurtful behavior classified as bullying and how do we tell the difference between bullying and disrespect? What is the difference between a jerk and a bully?
When a person is “just being a jerk”, his/her bad attitude is random, sporadic and directed at anyone at any time. When you encounter a jerk, you’re just in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong person but not a target. With jerks, everyone is fair game.
Bullying, on the other hand, is when the ill treatment becomes a habit or pattern and is directed towards one person in particular. Bullying requires a target! It is systematic, deliberate, vicious and always escalates over time. Bullying involves smear campaigns, witch hunts and is relentless. Bullying seeks to destroy.
A jerk is afraid you might want something from him/her.
A bully wants something from you.