Be an Active Bystander

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Bystander intervention strategies are ways we, as members of a community, can step in to prevent problematic behavior we witness and help the situation from getting worse.


Asking for assistance from another person when intervening.

  • What to do: Reach out to a supervisor, a colleague, a friend or ask help from people around you.
  • What to say: “Hey, did you hear what that person just said? We should do something.”


De-escalating the situation by drawing attention away from the problem.

  • What to do: Drop something on the floor; people will turn around and look. Start a conversation with the person who is being affected or causing harm to create a distraction from the situation.
  • What to say: “Sorry to interrupt, my phone just died. Do you happen to have a charger?”


Putting yourself into the situation and confronting the problem.

  • What to do: Get involved. Ask the person who is causing harm what they mean by their comment.
  • What to say: Ask the person who is being impacted: “Hey is this person What to say: bothering you?”

There is not a single right way to intervene. Find the style that works for you, given the situation. The 3 D’s of bystander intervention are adapted from Green Dot:

View the Be-an-Active-Bystander (PDF)

MSU Prevention, Outreach and Education Department,

Return to Well-being at Work guide – Workplace Bullying page.

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