What are barriers?
It is human nature for people to want to help out when they see someone in trouble. Barriers are the things that may stand in our way to making the choice to step in and they are part of being human, too! No matter who you are and no matter what your barriers are, there are always green dots you can put on our campus map. Working with your barriers (instead of trying to change them) is what makes Green Dot a good fit for all members of our community.
Have you ever walked by a distressing situation and thought “that’s not my problem” or “someone else will take care of that”? Us too. Green Dot reminds us that as members of a community, the safety of those around us is our responsibility. Any small act to step in helps, and remember you have the support of an entire campus behind you.
Personal and relationship barriers
Personal barriers are personality traits or experiences from our past that might make it more difficult to step in. Perhaps it’s a bad experience with confrontation, shyness, anxiety about conflict, or you simply get nervous talking to the opposite sex. Green Dot helps us remember that direct intervention is only one of the many ways you can step in. Texting a more extroverted friend or calling the Department of Public Safety are just as legitimate ways to intervene and are just as, if not more, helpful than getting directly involved. It’s important that you always feel safe when making a green dot.
Relationship barriers have to do with how well or how little we might know that people involved in a situation, who we are with at the time (a friend? a parent? a professor?) and how those relationships affect which of the 3 Ds might best for us. Sometimes being direct is easier when we are close to the people involved and sometimes that might feel extra hard. Sometimes causing a scene or drawing attention to ourselves may not be ideal and delegating to someone else with more training or time is the right way to go. It doesn’t matter what green dot you choose – just that you do something.
“I say when in doubt, check in. Go up to the person and simply ask “are you okay?” I used to be afraid of stepping in because I thought I’d embarrass myself, and then I realized the worst thing that can happen is they’ll say, “Yes, I’m fine,” and we’ll both move on with our days.”
– Green Dot bystander training participant
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