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Nerds Still More Likely To Get Bullied 480

trashbird1240 writes "Reports on a recent meta-analysis of bullies and victims found that bullies and victims have similar personality traits, but that bullies tend to do poorly in school, as opposed to those who get bullied. Both bullies and victims are poor social problem solvers, but they resort to different tactics to handle their social ineptitude. To me this represents a huge leap forward in understanding nerd psychology."
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Nerds Still More Likely To Get Bullied

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  • by colinrichardday ( 768814 ) <> on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:20PM (#32888842)

    That makes me feel so much better about being beaten up.

  • It's pheromones!
  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:22PM (#32888876)

    So basically, if you can't develop social skills you do what every other animal does: Become a predator. And if you fail at that, you're dinner.

    • by AnonymousClown ( 1788472 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:31PM (#32889028)

      So basically, if you can't develop social skills you do what every other animal does: Become a predator. And if you fail at that, you're dinner.


      Victims share much of same, negative attitude, conflict in the family.

      It looks as though the victims are the other side of the same coin.

      And what's not mentioned in the article is how the ramifications of bullying stick with someone for the rest of their life - there the "mousy ones", the ones without "self confidence", the ones that "don't fit in", etc....

      It wouldn't surprise me the least if many of the permanently unemployed are part of this group. So, I think it costs society too.

    • So basically, if you can't develop social skills you do what every other animal does: Become a predator. And if you fail at that, you learn to write code.


    • Not necessarily... they fail to take into consideration the little known 'nerdserker'. I was into D&D and comics and computers and the art club and the science club but the second anyone picked on me or what, I berserked on their asses and wouldn't stop until they were crying or I came out of my blackout. Few people messed with me unless they didn't know that I would go apeshit crazy on them if they fucked with me.

      Hence, the 'nerdserker' (copyright me)
      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        Or you're just so freaky you scare them.

        No Berzerking necessary...

      • Re:Animal psychology (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @04:54PM (#32892920) Journal

        This is actually interesting from an anthropological perspective. Most pack mammals use a form of mock combat to establish position with the pack. They fight until one individual is defeated, then the winner takes the higher position in the pack hierarchy. This same behaviour is common among children (and some adults, although the 'combat' is typically less physical - adolescents typically do it by trading insults), and is incorrectly diagnosed as bullying.

        When two animals from different pack meet, the combat is more serious. The loser must be completely defeated, rather than just back off. When you see this behaviour in humans, it is real bullying. The aim is not to establish dominance within the pack, because the aggressor does not see themselves as being in the same pack as the victim, so does not have the evolved responses to avoid permanently damaging members of the same pack.

        I only ever encountered the first kind of conflict at school, but I responded as if it were the second kind, which is probably why I never had a problem with bullying. It sounds like you had a similar reaction.

  • WHAT?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Itninja ( 937614 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:23PM (#32888896) Homepage
    You means those with little physical prowess and poorly developed social skills are often victims to those with pent-up anger and limited intellects? My god. This is quite a revelation?
  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:23PM (#32888904) Homepage

    Work out. A lot. Throughout middle school and high school, I was a huge geek (and dressed like one)...but I was also huge. In high school, at only 5'6", I weighed around 200 pounds, and could lift what the varsity football team lifted in the weightroom (and, in some cases, even more.)

    I was a dork, but no one dared fuck with me. A good thing, too...I had no idea how to fight :p

    • Oh yeah? Well my dad could beat up your dad!

      • by Pojut ( 1027544 )

        I remember getting into one of those kinds of arguments in kindergarden, and my response was "my dad would turn your dad inside-out!"...which grossed out both of us, lol :)

    • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:33PM (#32889044)

      Playing the borderline psycho route is also good. (Although these days you'll probably end up on some watch lists.) I can't really point to any single thing I did nor do I remember why they actually thought I was. (I guess critiquing what previous school shooters did wrong in an English paper was one thing...)

      But when I skipped the senior photo in the gym, I guess one of my friends told me some people were joking I was in the rafters with a rifle.

      Top of my class, BSME, going back for my MSME. I think >90% of my class is still at home drinking at the one bar in town and partying like they're still seniors. It's sad, but if they're happy, what ever.

      • I used that tactic too.. I actually was in HS when the Columbine thing happened, so I did get called in for questioning a few times because I would discuss things like explosives with my friends. The other nerds got bullied, but nobody even tried anything with me. It might also have something to do with the fact that I carried a hammer in my backpack, just in case.
      • You both completely failed at learning jack, and resorted to the threat of violence. NERD FAIL.

        Learn social skills. THAT'S the lesson. They aren't hard and a handful of social cues makes all the difference.

        • Give this man an Internet! You've made my day.
        • You both completely failed at learning jack, and resorted to the threat of violence. NERD FAIL.

          Learn social skills. THAT'S the lesson. They aren't hard and a handful of social cues makes all the difference.

          Wouldn't this also apply to the bullies?

        • I didn't resort to anything. While ACs method would work. I didn't wear all black. I didn't talk about visions. I didn't get my fists bloody. I just had one paper on a topic and I liked to blow things up on my farm. (Who doesn't?).

          Most people have no clue how to debate or what a "devil's advocate" is. The second I state a fact or a side on a subject. They instantly that must be my position on the subject. My back to back papers in one class one Pro-Abortion and one Pro-Life confused the hell out of some of

        • Yeah, when someone wants to beat you up just tell something funny, if it's a joke that the idiot bully can understand and like you'll probably have a new guy to protect you from other retards or at least not hit you.
    • by selven ( 1556643 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:38PM (#32889126)

      I was a dork, but no one dared fuck with me

      I'm confused. Is this good or bad?

      • by Pojut ( 1027544 )

        I have to admit, it was great to know that I could walk around the halls nerd-snorting about something with impunity. Since I hung out with both the "popular" nerds as well as the "reject" nerds, many of them were protected simply by proximity, which they appreciated.

        I found the whole thing to be amusing, personally.

    • by SirGeek ( 120712 )

      You weren't the only big geek. I was 5' tall in 5th grade and was around 6' by the time I was 14. Still, I was picked on until, that is until the time I flipped open a locker door into someone's face. Best of all was the fact that they got in trouble for starting the fight. Nothing happened to me because I was the one being picked on.

      After that no one hassled me or my immediate friends, they knew that I wouldn't start anything but I would finish it.

      At least it wasn't like when a "bean pole" (MAYBE 120lbs

      • by Pojut ( 1027544 )

        My buddy Mike used a similar tactic. 6 foot by the time he hit 9th grade, had horrible acne (ironically, he now has model-like good looks)...basically, a punching bag for a lot of people. He got tired of it one day, and as a kid was pointing and laughing at him, he grabbed the kid's finger, bent it back (obviously breaking it), then hit the kid in his face with his own hand, breaking his nose.

        People left him alone after that.

        It's just like prison...either you mess someone up, or you become a bitch. The c

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Verteiron ( 224042 )

        You're lucky you didn't try that today. You'd be expelled and probably have criminal charges brought against you. Kids today aren't allowed to defend themselves thanks to zero-tolerance crap.

    • We never really had the "nerds get beat" up thing going in our high school anyways. Maybe it's an inner city thing. Who knows. I went to a rural high school, where just about everyone's free time (even the nerds) involved some form of outdoor activities. I was probably the biggest Star Trek fan at our school. I played Magic the Gathering. I was 2nd in our class at graduation. I had the highest SAT score of our graduating class. I attended various academic competitions for the school.

      I also hunted, f

      • by Pojut ( 1027544 )

        In our school, the jocks were actually really cool people (as evidenced by the fact that a short dork who was as strong or stronger than them was still allowed to work out in the same weightroom at the same time). The people that did most of the bullying were the true outsiders...the "cool" rejects didn't want them because they were assholes, and the popular kids didn't want them because they weren't popular.

    • Work out. A lot. Throughout middle school and high school, I was a huge geek (and dressed like one)...but I was also huge. In high school, at only 5'6", I weighed around 200 pounds, and could lift what the varsity football team lifted in the weightroom (and, in some cases, even more.)

      I was a dork, but no one dared fuck with me. A good thing, too...I had no idea how to fight :p

      Sometimes working out can have the opposite effect. I was quiet, tall and muscular in school and was attacked a lot because of it, the bullies figured I'd be a fun challenge. It wasn't until I literally threw the biggest one over one desk and into another that I was left alone.

      I've never been in a fight since and I hope I never am again but I don't regret my actions in those moments. And honestly, I think if you're getting beat up for no good reason (i.e. didn't instigate) and you're going to get in trou

  • TFA said

    We might think that bullies are quite different from the victims of bullying. But those who become either a bully or a victim actually share similar outlooks and have similar difficulties dealing with their environments. ...

    Typical bullies have negative attitudes toward others, feel badly about themselves, and most likely grew up in a home with conflict. Victims share much of same, negative attitude, conflict in the family.

    But the dividing characteristic: bullies dislike school and tend to perform w

    • Did that link utterly break, or were you meaning to link back to this article?

    • by Itninja ( 937614 )
      You were lucky. I tried beating down a longtime bully once. I did pretty well too. Until two days later when him and three of his friends jumped me and nearly put me in the hospital. In this litigious and delicate age, I tell my kids not to open a can of whoops-arse, but rather take the issue to the principle. If that doesn't work I call the cops.
  • Nerds are still more likely to have a better job.

  • Perhaps... (Score:5, Funny)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:31PM (#32889030) Journal
    We should just issue handguns to everyone over a certain GPA... That seems like a good, solid, American solution to this bullying problem.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:40PM (#32889154)

      Hey, they call us software pirates, right? Give the nerds flintlock pistols. This solves several problems:

      a. They can defend themselves from jocks
      b. They can't go on a rampage and massacre the school
      c. They will have a realistic accessory for their pirate cosplay!

      Somebody give fffungus a metal! And a handgun! :D

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Traegorn ( 856071 )

      Yes. Let's make jokes about bullied kids bringing guns to school.

      Because things have turned out so well when *that's* happened.

      • Re:Perhaps... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:02PM (#32890512) Journal
        I find the tendency of spree killers toward taking out a bunch of random bystanders along with their intended targets deplorable in the extreme; but I can say completely seriously that if more instances of bullying ended in murder, and fewer in suicide, the world would be a better place.

        Seeing how far you can push somebody wouldn't be such an attractive hobby if the risk of being the guy who pushed them just a little too far were there in the back of your mind...
    • I live in Texas, could I use a shotgun instead?
  • Um... what about NerdBullies?

  • I think ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:38PM (#32889140) Journal

    That the problem is that people are so hard-wired to find social ineptitude a problem.

    There are times where I wouldn't want to hang out with people because I didn't like the people. At one point (it was between grade 8 and 9) I realized that I could be whoever I really wanted to be, and was not relegated to any kind of social outcast or nerdy clique for the rest of my days. I went out, bought some clothes, got a haircut, and emailed someone I didn't usually hang out with, and asked if they wanted to go Skateboarding. I - however - had never been great at skateboarding. However, this new friend of mine took my motion as a kind gesture and proceeded to teach me a bit so that I could hang out with him and his friends more. He understood that I had wanted to get out of any antisocial tendancies I might have had and wanted to have fun with more friends. Obviously, he was not the bullying type.

    However, after a year or so of this, I began to miss the old things. Playing LAN Starcraft till 5 am, reading Fantasy Novels, and programming. Things I never had time for when there was a party that weekend, movie night at a friends house, or hanging out after class. Eventually, I went back to my old tendancies, and I really didn't care if I was labelled a nerd because I liked being alone a bit more.

    • Fantasy novels? I'm reading Age of Misrule (and subsequent series) and I'm getting ridiculed by all these freaking nerds who can only babble on about Ender's Game and some dude named Heinlein.
    • by OG ( 15008 )
      I think you're conflating a solitary nature with social ineptitude. It sounds like you do fine in social situations but prefer alone time. When I think of social ineptitude, I picture people who can't recognize social cues, respond appropriately to a social situation, lack of ability to help defuse a potentially volatile situation, etc. This is what can be a problem. Simply liking activities that are more solo or preferring large amounts of alone time aren't in the same category, in my opinion.
    • Re:I think ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @02:47PM (#32891270)

      That the problem is that people are so hard-wired to find social ineptitude a problem.

      Social ineptitude is a problem. You are confusing being an introvert (preferring not to spend time with other people) with being socially inept. Not all introverts are socially inept. Sometimes people are labeled "nerds" because they choose to be socially uninvolved. However, the term originally (and in this context) referred to people who wish to be socially involved but are outcasts because they do things that are socially viewed opposite of the way they intend.

  • I don't even know how to get laid. Got a girl grabbing at it and crawling in my lap and I'm like, wtf do I do? Is this right? I haven't studied for this, I know some of the basic theory but I don't think I can get it right!
  • by omar.sahal ( 687649 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:46PM (#32889232) Homepage Journal

    poor problem-solving skills within social situations

    What does this mean, bullies not knowing how to interact are pent up with rage, and take it out on others. There’s one problem with this bullies are very good at reading people. Quite often they can bully under every bodies nose without arousing suspicion. They even have good mechanisms to handle tense situations (like being investigated), they can even lie effectively under these tense situations. How do you think they can get away with it.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      very good at reading people.

      no, they are good at recognizing a stereotype. No better the chipmunks, really.

      "How do you think they can get away with it."

      parents and teacher don't want to address the issue. That's how they get away with it.

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @01:57PM (#32890418) Journal

        parents and teacher don't want to address the issue. That's how they get away with it.

        More strictly(at least in my experience), parents and teachers, and admins are actually very interested, with occasional exceptions, in addressing the issue(When I was in school, they were constantly emitting pious anti-bullying PSAs, having observed administrators in an occupational context, their bookshelves and seminar schedules are packed with mentions of the issue, written by assorted well-meaning education Ph.Ds).

        The problem, though, is that they generally aren't willing to face the reality of the issue. They cling to the illusion that, with the right magic words and social niceties and apologies and shit, everyone will just be able to get along and be nice to each other. The fact that "X is a bully" implies "X is a sadistic bastard who derives pleasure from inflicting pain on those weaker than him" was just too unpleasant to enter their analysis of the situation. Oh, no, if we just call in one of X's victims and have them talk over their differences(nice way to let X know who squealed on him, assholes, that isn't going to go badly), we can all come together and sing "kumbaya" in joyous harmony. This basic failure made all their well meaning efforts utterly futile, and not infrequently counterproductive.

        The trouble is, the sort of well-meaning softies who care the most about bullying are the ones who have the greatest difficulty wrapping their minds around the fact that they are dealing with genuinely crafty, vicious people. A bully/victim dynamic is not a "misunderstanding". There is no "talking over" to be done. It is an application of power and violence, just because they can, and because they enjoy it. The sort of person who is all empathic and becomes a guidance counselor or whatever just isn't very well equipped to understand that. They have such a long(and vicerally immediate) history of caring, and feeling other people's pain, that they have difficulty imagining the inner lives of people who don't care, and who enjoy others' pain. Even if told, the abstract model is so alien to their emotional experience that they just can't take it seriously and grapple with its implications to a useful degree....

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by the_one(2) ( 1117139 )

          I'm amazed that this got modded up so highly. I guess people on /. really were bullied quite a bit. Bullies are not sadists, they just prefer being the bully to being the one being bullied and belonging to a group, even if that group is not really based on friendship or anything stable.

  • by Drakkenmensch ( 1255800 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:48PM (#32889250)
    Still busy coughing back up my own glasses.
  • If people are nice to you, they can borrow your homework. If not, they don't get to. And don't present it as a deal or quid pro quo, either. There are enough nice jocks to protect you from the bullies. More importantly your social status will escalate above being an acceptable bully target.
  • To me this represents a huge leap forward in understanding nerd psychology.

    Really? Bullies don't attack the "cool" people, so they bully those that don't manage to turn popular opinion against them. Well doh of course neither bully nor victim have huge social skills...

    That's not the whole story though, because there's definitively people that were not smart, not popular and not bullying. Being a bully is a choice all of its own.

  • by MetricT ( 128876 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:52PM (#32889336)

    I was the typical introverted high school nerd (5'4 at the time), and had a 6'5" upper-class psychopath following me around and finding new ways to harass me.

    I talked to my principal over it (God bless you Roger Hood!). He told me next time it happened, kick his ass and he (the principal) wouldn't punish me.

    A few days later at PE we were playing soccer, and whenever I had the ball he would "accidentally" kick me in the leg as hard as he could. For days, it felt like a knife every time I put weight on that foot. Hurt so bad it took my breath away.

    Two days later I spotted him in the hall. I kicked him in the jewels, and laid him flat on the ground. I proceeded to spend the next 3 minutes kicking and punching him in the balls, the sides, the head, anything I could hit. I didn't feel any pain in my foot at all during this. Eventually he was bawling so loud that the girls in a nearby classroom came out and rescued him (and had the gaul to ask why I was picking on the poor psychopath and being such a mean person).

    Two things happened: the psychopath transferred out of the school a week later, and *no one* ever messed with me again.

    I wish we could all get along. But some whack jobs only understand the language of violence, and you have to be willing to speak their language to teach them a lesson.

    • by Killjoy_NL ( 719667 ) <> on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @01:45PM (#32890202)

      I don't know how our dutch schools compare to high schools, but for this story, it is comparable enough.
      I was in my 2nd year and for the first 6 months a group of kids kept teasing, annoying, harassing me, etc. It was horrible.

      I remember being in shop class reaching out for a tool that I needed to continue my work. One of the kids grabbed it after I did and tried to pull it out of my hand, I told that person that I was using it, then the kid spit on my hand.
      That was the moment something snapped in my head, everything went dark, I was smart enough to drop the tool and I said one little thing: "Run."

      The kid knew I was serious and started running, as did I. I jumped over chairs and desks while in pursuit only having one goal, to destroy that person.
      It took 6 people to grab me and hold me against a wall until I calmed down.
      That experience made sure that they didn't bother me anymore but it scared the fuck out of me.
      I have learned more patience, more forgiveness and more understanding since then since I do not want to repeat an episode like that.

      You are correct when some people only understand violence, I wish that was different.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Testify brother! I had two bullies back in my school days. Nothing I tried helped at all. I was a target and would always be nothing but a target.
      One day at a school assembly one of my personal bullies pushed me just a little to far. I saw red (I am color blind) and set about beating him to death in front of the whole school. Fortunately I came to my senses before that happened, but not before breaking his nose, and jaw. Also breaking 3 ribs of the, very large, PE teacher who tried to stop me.
      Word got aro
  • When I was a kid, I was somewhat socially inept*. Quite definitely a nerd from a science, math and other geek pursuits. But I didn't like getting pushed around. Get in my face and you'd get your head pushed through the wall. But I never sought out victims.

    * I think it comes down to the school social structure attempting to pigeon-hole everyone into some sort of pecking order. In their eyes you either rank high or low. But that sort of tribal culture has a problem dealing with people who just don't want to p

  • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @01:03PM (#32889536) Homepage Journal

    Interesting interview on NPR a few weeks back on a woman (who had been raped as a teen) who had studied middle eastern terrorists and came up with the thesis that many had been seriously sexually abused as children in the training camps. Pointing out that the common thread with terrorists and other people who went postal or Columbine was that they had been subjected to some form of grave humiliation and didn't really have a support group or other form of outlet.

    Not excusing their means of retaliation, but it was interesting to draw the connection between humiliation and people who eventually snap violently. If the world had less humiliation going around and bystanders who are complicit with it, we'd all probably be better off, bullies and nerds alike.

    • no self-worth (Score:3, Insightful)

      Investigate Columbine and you'll find Eric and Dylan were badly bullied, including specifically by some kid who went by, I think the name was, "Rocky".

      Humiliation can be a big part of it. More fundamentally the issue is feeling devalued. Ruin someone's sense of self-worth and they become a serious danger.

  • Of course, that's because I spent most of my high school years stuffed in my locker...

  • f the pack (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sixtuslab ( 1130675 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @01:35PM (#32890060)
    The grey uncreative mass is neither smart nor dumb. It packs up like wolves and feeds on the dumbest among itself to feel minutely superior. This causes violent outbursts in the weakest of the mind since its the only way for the feeble minded to protect their deteriorating selfimage. The smart ones are also rejected by the pack. The highest minds seem odd and incomprehensible to the pack and need to be made apart from the maingroup to keep it coherent. While the pack dwells happily in its dull mediocre harmony, the lowest of the mind try to attract the interest of the pack by attacking the other outcasts, the high minds. The smartest ones should somehow make it seem profitable for the pack to guard them or just endure since the relieving outcome is that the high minds shouldn't have any incentive to attract the pack, who are just the right kind of average consumers for the next vc backedup startup to exploit :)

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser