Today authors are coming together to blog against bullying. Non-authors have also been invited to participate, but although I have been a victim of bullying in the past, I have nothing much useful to say about it.
It's a horrible thing to experience.
It's a horrible thing to do.
If you ever feel tempted to do it, don't.
That's pretty much the sum total of my wisdom on the subject, except to say that sometimes bullying can come from very unexpected sources.
You may realise one day that your best friend is bullying you, but you hadn't spotted it before because, well, she's your friend, right? So it must be your fault that she sometimes says things that make you want to cry, right? You're just too sensitive, that's the problem. Maybe you can Google 'being less sensitive' and find some useful hints!
If that ever happens to you, step away from Google and consider that you may not be the problem.
From there, though, I can't advise what's the best thing to do. Which is worse, loneliness or being bullied? I can't answer that. I couldn't when I was bullied by friends when I was a teenager. Eventually, in my case, loneliness won (it just looked less crap) and I spent a lot of time on my own, writing bad story ideas in a notebook with a mottled green cover.
Which led to me being bullied by a whole new bunch of people. Seriously, they're everywhere! I'm now a working adult and I still meet them. I have no useful advice on how to deal with them either, except to run like hell (literally or metaphorically) when you realise you've met one. Put as much distance between you and them as you reasonably can.
One of the most damaging and pervasive myths of our time is that bullies will go away if you just stand up to them. I've met a few of that variety in my time but I don't think it's a good idea to assume that's the case, any more than it's a good idea to assume every other driver on the road is sober, alert and smart. Saying that bullies will back off if you stand up to them is also a nasty form of victim-blaming - if the victim just reacted right, then the bullying would stop. How about if we worked on modifying the bully's behaviour? Might that be a smart plan, since they're the one with the problem?
If you ever encounter a bully, whether at school or at work or in your private life, don't feel bad that you're not 'fighting the good fight' and 'sticking up for yourself' and 'teaching them a lesson.' That's not your job. Your job is to protect yourself and do what's best for you. You're not there to train other people to be reasonable human beings.
One final point - when you know what it's like to be bullied, you really, really appreciate fun, welcoming, warm, safe spaces like the ones I've found on the blogosphere. Not everyone's online experience is so good, sadly, but it's nice to be able to fully appreciate what we have.