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Bully is trying to befriend me

Hi Sam,

I have been bullied multiple times by two girls on my class both face to face and over text. It’s all stopped now but I don’t know what to do. One of the girls is getting really friendly with me and wants us to be friends and I don’t know what to say to her. I don’t want us to be friends in case she takes advantage of it and begins bullying me again but I don’t know how to explain that to her. She is also trying to befriend all of my other mates that she honestly knows nothing about which is making me pretty angry. So that’s another thing.

Thanks

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

It can be difficult to trust someone who has bullied you in the past. Even after the bullying has stopped you might feel hurt, have painful memories of what happened or your confidence might be affected. It can take time to rebuild your self-esteem and bounce back from bullying.

Sometimes the person who bullied you might be sorry for what they did and want to make up and be friends. It’s natural to feel anxious about why they want to be your friend, and you might be worried that the bullying could start again.

When you’re uncertain about a situation it can help to follow your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable when you’re with this person then it might be best to keep a distance and be polite but not too friendly. If you decide not to be friends again, you don’t need to explain why. Try to be assertive when you say no to things they ask you to do and continue to spend time doing activities you enjoy with your other friends.

While it can be good to have a few close friends, it’s also helpful to have a wider circle of friends as well so that you don’t need to rely on just one or two people. And having several groups of friends will mean that you’ll have other friends to turn to if things aren’t going well with one group.

You can’t stop someone from being friends with other people - it’s their decision whether to be friends or not. It’s likely that they’ll remember how this person treated you in the past and that might help them to decide what they want to do.

Remember, being friends with them or not is a separate thing to whether you forgive them for what they did in the past. You can move on from the bullying with the right help and support even if they don't apologise or want to be friends again. Forgiveness is all about you letting go of your feelings of hurt.

Thank you for your letter and I hope this advice has helped. You can talk to a Childline counsellor for more advice and support about this or anything else that’s worrying you.

Take care,

Sam

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