What does bullying look like?

Bullying can take a variety of forms, including physical, verbal, non-verbal, and relational aggression.


  • Hitting, punching or slapping another
  • Pushing another intentionally
  • Kicking another individual
  • Stealing or taking someone else’s property
  • Destroying another’s property
  • Typically believed to be a predominately male behavior, but females are increasing rates of physical bullying and are starting at a younger age.
  • Male bullies are likely to have a family history of violence.


  • Name-calling
  • Gossiping
  • Spreading rumors about another
  • Sarcasm
  • Verbal attacks
  • Raised voices/shouting at another
  • Threatening another
  • Whispering about another individual
  • Condescending language
  • Ethnic slurs

Non-verbal innuendos:

  • Making faces
  • Rolling of the eyes
  • Raising of the eyebrows
  • Deep sighs during conversations with another
  • Ignoring someone

Relational aggression:

  • More subtle and harder to identify for both the victim and bystanders.
  • Attempts to ruin relationships through rumors, gossip, exclusion, silent treatment, harassment, secrets, etc.

This information was provided by Maria Cuddy-Casey, Ph.D., an associate professor and chair of the Psychology Department at Immaculata University, as well as a clinical psychologist specializing in children and adolescents.