Bullies are always on the hunt for targets. Therefore, they look for signs in a target person that screams “victim.” Bullies will study their quarry’s body language first and foremost. They also note their emotional reactions to certain stimuli. In other words, they watch how the person handles conflict and adversity. But first things first. Let’s talk about body language, particularly, body language you should always avoid and ways to correct it.
1. Lack of Eye-contact (Looking down or away)
Lack of eye-contact signals either dishonesty, or a lack of confidence, which is exactly what bullies look for.
Many targets get nervous in social situations, which is understandable. When people have bullied a person for long enough, that person no longer feels safe in social interactions and will often avoid them altogether.
A little nervousness is normal. However, when you’re nervous to the point of avoiding eye-contact with others, bullies may notice and peg you for a victim. Also, even people who aren’t necessarily bullies may mistake you for being deceptive.
Therefore, the best thing to do is to relax and look others in the eye when socializing. Realize that not everything is about you. Make the interaction about the other person or people in the conversation. Smile. Act confident.
Yes, acting confident may seem fake. However, personal experience has taught me that if you act confident, you will soon feel confident. And confidence is the best way to get through any social situation. Also, it lessens your chances of attracting bullies.
2. submissive body language
This includes poor posture, such as slouching and hunching down. Also, people-pleasing is another form of submission. Behaviors such as shying away from saying what you want to say and not seeking to achieve your needs are forms of people-pleasing.
You must stop this behavior right now. Begin standing and sitting up straight. Stop trying to please other people and instead, start achieving your own needs for a change. Remember that you deserve, just as much as the next person, to have your needs and wants met. Start working toward your own goals.
3. self-protective behaviors (closed body-language)
Crossing of the arms in front of you, crossing your legs, and hunkering down into the shoulders and hiding the neck are all self-protective behaviors. Bullies will instantly notice this behavior from a mile away and think, “fresh meat!” when they see it.
Instead, open up and allow yourself to take up some space. Lengthen your neck and hold your head high. Relax. Always relax!
4. Having a Sheepish Look On Your Face
That includes downcast eyes, holding your head down, and looking bashful. Again, hold your head high. Look people in the eye and smile. I guarantee you they will appreciate it when you do and think more highly of you.
5. trying to stay motionless to avoid drawing attention
This almost always gets you opposite results. Staying motionless won’t keep you from drawing attention. It just might get you the wrong attention- from bullies. You must move freely and I’m going to say it again… relax!
In closing, you must watch your body language if you don’t want bullies to spot you as a potential target, it’s imperative that you watch your body language. In other words, if you catch yourself looking down, correct this by looking people in the eye or looking ahead. If it’s slouching you find yourself doing, sit up straight. And keep doing this until it becomes second nature, no matter how long it takes. Because body language speaks louder than words ever will. Not only should you mind your own body language, you should also watch the bullies’ nonverbal cues as well.
With knowledge comes empowerment!