Have you ever been in a situation at school, work, or with friends that made you feel uncomfortable or afraid?

While we can’t turn back the clock, we can identify if the interaction was conflict or bullying.

Conflict can be a healthy and normal reaction to people disagreeing or voicing frustrations but bullying isn't healthy and shouldn't be accepted as normal.  

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Though conflict is stressful, it's a normal part of relationships.

Conflict happens when one or both sides want to express frustration or different opinions.

A conflict has a power balance where both sides feel equal and are able to express their views.

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It may take time and space, but in a conflict, both sides want to find a solution.

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The intention is to express an idea and solve a problem.

What Is Bullying?

Bullying is more than a conflict between two people.

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Unlike conflict, the intention of bullying is to do damage to the other person.

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Bullying is a pattern of aggressive behavior. It has a power imbalance where one side feels unequal and unable to contribute.

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Conflict Vs Bullying

Bullying is more than a conflict. Bullying can do lasting damage.


During a meeting, Steve tells everyone about John's mistakes this week and says, "He is lucky to still have a job." Is this bullying or conflict?

When In Doubt

If you are unsure if a situation is conflict or bullying, get help. Getting another person's perspective on the situation can help you to correctly identify it.

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  • Tell a friend, a classmate, or report it to an authority. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Take Action

While conflict and bullying might look similar, they have significant differences that are important to recognize and identify.

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This week, see if you can identify conflict or bullying at work, school or even on your favorite TV show. The more comfortable you are identifying the differences, the faster you can respond and get help and act.


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