If there's one thing that high school has thought us, is that bullies come in all shapes and sizes. And different ages as well. Should you ever be faced with a situation in which you have to deal with an adult bully, here's a handy guide that you can refer to in finding a way to stand up for yourself:

Ask yourself, "how is this impacting my life?"
Consider how it's affecting you when deciding whether to ignore or take action against someone. If they nothing more than a minor annoyance then leave it be. However, if someone's belittling, humiliating, or insulting you at work or in your friend group, and it's making you upset, it's time to address it.

Write it down.
Evidence is the best kind of defense. To keep your side-of the story consistent, you should note every single detail from every encounter involving your bully. Document EVERYTHING. Even a simple journal entry works. If you are being cyber-bullied, print out all correspondence and keep it in a file.

Keep track of when, where and how it happens, along with who is present." This is important so that you can present an objective, coherent case either directly to the bully, or to an authority figure.

Seek help if necessary.

Once you've decided to do something about a bully, ask yourself whether you have the skills and inclination to handle the situation yourself.

If you can confront the bully personally. If not, or if you just feel that someone else's help would be beneficial, you have a number of options. If you're being bullied at work, talk to an HR representative. And if the bully is someone in your personal life, recruit "an ally or an advocate" to stand by your side.

Often sharing your problems and speaking them out loud helps you put things into perspective. It's also a great way to get input from others." But remember, there's always a catch if you do decide follow through:

If you are going to complain about someone who is bullying you or your boss or workplace that isn't helping you out, just make sure that you realize that what it put out there on the internet is there FOREVER. Don't trash your co-workers or your boss because you never know who will see it. The same goes for putting your negative thoughts into an email. Once you hit the SEND button, your private thoughts are now basically in the public domain.

When confronting the bully, be assertive, not aggressive.

The reason why it can be nerve-wrecking to confront an aggressive person is that they're already insecure. It's wise to prepare ahead of time, try rehearsing your lines in the mirror.

Once it's time to talk, choose a neutral, private place (a conference room or coffee shop). Consider starting with a few positive things about the person before progressing to talking about the facts. Present them with your evidence (see 2nd point above). Discuss the behavior you've observed from the bully, and then give him or her a chance to respond. From there, have an open-ended conversation. Don't back down or let yourself be cowed, but "don't get carried away with emotions" either.

Always remember that your ultimate goal is to get the behavior to stop and to avoid unwanted drama.

If you're a bystander, step in.
It might not seem like it, but bystanders really do have the power to help change the situation. One example is observing what happens when children are bullied. Almost half of all bullying situations cease once a bystander gets involved.

You don't necessarily have to take a stand or get into the bully's face. Just the simple act of not giving the bully an audience or just taking the side of the victim is enough to get your point across.


Get out of the situation.

While this isn't always possible, it might be your last resort if the bullying persists despite all your attempts to stop it. Removing yourself from the situation is by then the best option.

Unlike children, adults have more choices in their disposal: If that means getting a new job, moving to a new apartment or even a new city, it's still a better alternative removing than remaining trapped in a toxic situation.

Obviously it's not fair for a bullying victim to have to move because of a bully's behavior, remembering that you're a grownup and have some choices does make bullying seem less scary.

Remember it's not about you.
When someone experiences constant bullying, the first thing that comes to mind is the "why me?'" mentality. What you need to understand is that most bullying is directly caused by a bully's own issues, and not from any characteristics of the victim. So you shouldn't feel embarrassed or ashamed. The bully's the one with the problem, not you.

If you need more online resources about dealing with workplace bullying, then check out The Workplace Bullying Institute or Bully Free At Work.