“Kill Them With Kindness”: Does it Actually Work Against Bullying?

We are often told to “kill them with kindness” as a way to respond to bullies or disrespectful people. But does it work?

Redditor @CampForTheKillStreak asked people, “how has “killing them with kindness” in response to disrespect worked out for you?”

I Don’t Want to be Like Them

Some people do not want to be known for disrespectful behavior, so they are careful with how they respond to a bully.

@Independent_Tone8605 shared, “Having a clear conscience and no regrets concerning my actions. Anytime I’ve lashed out I’ve regretted stooping to their level. I don’t allow them to steal my joy any longer- let them have their own misery, I am not open for bad business.”

And another agreed with them “chaos and conflict-free is the way to be!”

Another person felt like responding with kindness might makes them the better person. “They’re still ungrateful. Sometimes, I regret it. I should just eat them alive. But sometimes I think, well I’m better than them, since I’m the bigger person.”

Ignoring Them May Be Better

While others felt like ignoring them is the way to go. @EmmelineTx stated, “It works but pretending that they don’t exist in my universe works better. But, to answer your question – being exceedingly polite steals their payoff. If you give them no reaction it takes all their fun away. So go for it. Stooping to their level doesn’t work.”

However, the OP (original poster) did not agree, “this has never really played out in a similar way you’re describing in my experience, spectators have looked down on me and the person disrespecting me has only returned to do it again, only stopping when i say something mean back.”

A Bully At the Workplace

@kilsekddd shared a detailed story about how he left job because a manager disrespectfully disagreed with him in front of the team. “He got visibly angry, turning red and shouting in my face that I was a contractor and better start acting like one, in front of the entire team.”

Instead of retaliating directly, the person finished their contract while finding another employment opportunity.

The company lost a valuable employee due to a rude, unprofessional manager.

Managers should show their employees appreciation whenever possible.

Read: 31 Genuine Thank You Note Messages for Employee Appreciation

Kindness Didn’t Work For Me

A couple of others shared that the kindness approach didn’t work out for them:

  • “It didn’t, people treated me worse because they figured I was a pushover.”
  • “Not well. They think you’re weak and continue bullying.”

You can read all of the responses here.

Bullying is a Huge Problem

Bullying statistics are depressing, especially in schools.

Education Corner reports that 70.6% of students have witnessed bullying at school.

The Panda Security’s long list of cyberbullying statistics includes one in five students have skipped a class because of cyberbullying.

What Can You Do

Learn more about what you can do when you see bullying.

United States government has set up Stop Bullying with resources to help parents, school stuff, and other concerned adults.

Harvard has a guide for how to confront bullies at work.

Whenever possible, choose to spread kindness! You browse Random Acts of Kindness Ideas.

Author: Heidi Bender

Title: Writer

Expertise: Thank You Notes

Heidi Bender is a writer and author who founded Tons of Thanks. She aims to help people write thank-you notes by providing examples and tips. She is the author of She is the author of A Modern Guide to Writing Thank-You Notes.