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Used to be a bully

Hi, I used to be a bully. At the time I didn't think of it as bullying. I was angry and I took it out on others who I found annoying. I found myself being very lonely. Still, no one wants to be my friend because of my past bullying. I do genuinely feel bad, and want to make things better (I am not in touch with the people I bullied, but I still know some of their friends), but nobody likes me for what I've done. I can't force people to like me, especially after what I did, but I feel very guilty and lonely.

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Sam

Hi there,

As we get older we all grow and can become different people. Everyone makes mistakes and hopefully we try to become better. While it was wrong to bully people, it's good that you're not like that anymore and have become a better person because of it. We have advice to help if you’re struggling with feeling guilty about doing something you regret.

Unfortunately reputations can be made very quickly but take longer to change. The impressions that people make about someone early on can last a long time, even if their view was wrong or that person has changed. This means that mistakes you’ve made so far might take longer to undo than you would hope. But it's definitely possible to change people's opinion of you.

The best way to change how someone sees you is to get to know them better. It’s important to spend time with people so they can see the real you. You won't be able to spend time with everyone but if you try and become closer friends with several people, things will change. Changing how people see you can take time and effort. The first thing you might want to do is join some social groups - sports teams, clubs and hobbies that you’re interested in. When you’re around people and you're sharing an activity it's a lot easier for people to get to know you.

The second thing you can do is show people that you've changed by acting or behaving differently. Encourage people, say nice things about them - go out of your way to be kind to people. If you see someone who’s alone or maybe even being bullied themselves, perhaps you can stand up for them. These kinds of actions will change people's opinion of you over time.

You have already become a better person, you should feel proud of where you've come from and who you are now. It takes a lot of courage to admit when you've made mistakes in the past.

Thanks for writing to me, I hope this has helped.

Take care,

Sam

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