Helping You Cope With & Stop



Understanding Unfair Conversations: Knowing Bully Tactics

When it comes to workplace bullying, we can and will be confused. Have you ever felt bewildered right in the middle of a conversation, wondering to yourself ‘what on earth is happening here?’ or ‘I want to work this out in a fair way, but I feel the other person is acting unfairly’?

You will want to Bully Proof Yourself. Fair conversations occur when both parties feel honored. Unfair conversations occur when one person does not display the respect and honor to connect.

Here’s how you can tell what is fair and unfair in terms of a conversation:

1. Facial Expression:
Fair Conversation: Responsive and interested, eye contact.
Unfair Conversation: Closed and passive.

2. Focus:
Fair Conversation: Concentrates on your issue and is present (paying attention). Makes time to discuss problems.
Unfair Conversation: Over-generalizations; dumps many issues at once in order to deflect and defend.

3. Rapport:
Fair Conversation: Shared purpose, empathetic, and is committed to listening to you.
Unfair Conversation: One-way and no direct response/feedback with little regard for your needs.

4. How Information is Handled:
Fair Conversation: Realistic and authentic with probing for challenging issues.
Unfair Conversation: Distorted lies, and avoidance of the issue or demanding you to apologize.

5. Responsibility to Successful Conclusion:
Fair Conversation: Willing to resolve and change, is able to apologize if necessary.
Unfair Conversation: Denial, justifications, avoiding, blaming and an absence of taking responsibility to resolve.

Knowing what an unfair conversation looks like will help you to realize that you are not crazy when you meet up with a bully. Keeping a realistic perspective will help you to distance yourself from being drawn into the bully’s power.

Remember, great communicators will “seek to serve and help”. Not everyone is aware of the principles of being a great communicator – knowledge is power. Now use your power to protect yourself, instead of going to self doubt and trying to ‘jump higher’.


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One response to “Understanding Unfair Conversations: Knowing Bully Tactics”

  1. Cherie says:

    I work for an insurance agent who has been bullying me and even threatened to hit me because she was so mad. She continues to threaten me verbally and refuses to take responsibility for things she does. When someone complains about her not stepping up to the plate and taking care of them, I am end up being the scapegoat. I am a top producer in the agency selling many policies despite how awful she treats me.

    When I went to our local AFO for assistance, they told me that they do not offer any kind of support to an agency team member. They only offer support strictly to the agent. That is a major problem because my agent is the one who is the “office bully.” I have no one to turn to for support and she has a history of a very high turnover in office employees. What can I do?

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Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of "Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now!" which has been distributed in over 100 countries worldwide. For presentations and consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation, go to

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