I remember the first time I was bullied.
This kid had just joined my boy scout troop.
We were on a backpacking trip.
It wasn’t serious bullying, but it bothered me.
There was about a dozen kids and three or four scoutmasters.
Like most bullies, he knew how to delivery the taunting when nobody was looking.
Even NFL players know to do this strategically.
They slam an opposing player, verbally or physically.
But they do it strategically.
When the ref isn’t looking.
And the initiating player is HOPING for a response from the other player.
And THAT response is usually much BIGGER than the initial response.
And THAT response is the one the ref’s see and penalize.
But that is a strategic offense.
When I was in boy scouts, the guy was taunting me knowing I wouldn’t do anything in return.
This is the usual operating procedure of bullies.
They know to taunt you JUST ENOUGH to punish you, but not so much that they suspect you might do something.
Kind of like a cat playing with a mouse before eating it.
In my case, it went on for a couple of days.
Until I blew a gasket.
The whole time I was terrified that if I did anything back, it would get worse.
So when I acted, I wasn’t really thinking.
We were lying in our sleeping bags, all in a row.
And he had chosen the spot just next to me.
So he could mess with me during the night.
But I finally had enough.
After the third or fourth time, I sat up, angry, and scooped up a handful of dirt and through it into his sleeping bag.
I was prepared for a vicious response, but it never came.
And he never bothered me again.
People that throw subtle insults are very clever.
They say things in a very subtle way.
Even if others are watching, and know what just happened, nobody usually says anything.
After all, sticks and stones right?
If they say anything, they might invite the same subtle digs.
The good news is there is a way to put the spotlight IMMEDIATELY on the person throwing the subtle insult.
And it works by asking a VERY innocent question.
One that will give you one hundred percent plausible deniability.
But will make the offender feel VERY MUCH on the spot.
And just like throwing dirt in their sleeping bag, they’ll never bother you again.