Bullies and introverts do not mix.
How Bullies And Introverts Are Different
Bullies and bullying can be a troublesome challenge for highly sensitive people, who are most often introverts and there are many reasons why that is the case:
- HSPs are usually not very aggressive and usually do not have an aggressive agenda. Bullies often have an aggressive agenda. So the goals of bullies and introverts are usually in conflict and they often lack common ground in their interactions.
- Bullies are very territorial; HSPs not so much – they are more holistic and complex.
- HSPs are not necessarily the greatest fighters. Bullies may sense that and that may be one reason that bullies go after them. HSPs have a more poetic nature which bullies may not be able to relate to.
- HSPs are not the fastest people at most activities. Because of the volume of information that highly sensitive people process, they cannot be fast. It takes time for HSPs to arrive at opinions and conclusions. Conscientiousness is one of an HSPs best qualities, but it means that they can be taken advantage of by an aggressive person.
- Bullies often use pressure to obtain a result; introverts do not respond well to pressure.
- HSPs tend to have a holistic and sometime fairly complex worldview which is the antithesis of a bully’s us vs. them thinking.
- HSPs often dislike competition because they are less adversarial in their viewpoint; a bully may see life on more competitive terms.
- HSP’s tend to be introverted by nature (although 30% are extroverted) and for self protection. As a result, they may not be well known to their social peers, and may even seem standoffish. Therefore, their social support may be weak and it may make it harder to obtain assistance when dealing with a bully.
How HSPs Can Handle Bullies
Handling a bully is a difficult challenge for highly sensitive people. Assuming you need to put up with a bully in your life, here are some things you can do to make your life easier in dealing with the bully:
- don’t expect to change a bully. They are not likely to appreciate your sensitive nature.
- let your sensitivity help you by enabling it to increase your perceived value in others. High perceived value will translate into greater respect and make you less of a target for bullies.
- bullies often look for easy targets. So make it hard for them to see you as a target. You may not be friends but you don’t necessarily have to be enemies.
- if a bully is hard for you to handle directly, try interacting with associates and developing your relationships among people who interact with the bully. A bully will not attack someone if in doing so they lose face.
- make your perceived value as public as possible. The less visible and known your value is the easier it is for a bully to take advantage of you.
It is extremely important for highly sensitive people to attempt to create a social presence and counteract the isolation that can make them vulnerable. Cultivating a social role that creates the perception of value among peers can be great insurance. A bully and an introvert may not make great natural friends, so social self-protection can be a good investment.