Although Hammond thinks that there are some differences between childhood and adult bullying, they are still quite similar.
“It is important to help people recognize that differences in opinion (conflict) is not the same as bullying,” Hammond said. “Often children, and adults, repeatedly joke inappropriately with an underlying message to humiliate or degrade a person, and pass it off as ‘just joking!’”
Women also tend to be less physically aggressive when involved in acts of bullying in professional settings like the workplace, she added.
Savage said that women may use other tactics more than men, such as gossip, taunting, shunning, ignoring and excluding.
They may also spread rumors, tell secrets, and use more dramatic motions such as eye-rolling, pointing, giggling and whispering. Cyberbullying is also very popular.
As a former mediator and conflict resolution expert, Hammond knows firsthand that bullying does not just happen to children.
“I believe that there is increasing awareness about bullying and harassment, and I see more businesses and organizations investing in training and appropriate interventions to create safe, respectful workplaces, which is a very positive shift,” Hammond said.
Some common methods of adult bullying according to Hammond include:
1) Spreading malicious and harmful rumors, gossip and innuendos that aren’t true.
2) Using intimidation, physical threats, yelling or profanity.
3) Making hurtful and offensive jokes.
4) Sabotaging someone by set impossible deadlines that will guarantee failure.
5) Undermining or deliberately impeding another person’s work.
6) Withholding important information, or deliberately providing the wrong information.
7) Using technology to do any of the above, including via email, texting and social media.
So adults can just brush all of this off, right?
In some cases maybe. At the very least, bullying can cause stress, Hammond said.
Bullying can actually be quite harmful in many cases, especially because it often goes unreported.
Savage added that bullying may lead to anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, and tension.