How To Shut Down a Workplace Bully with a Tic Tac

A real life example by Sam Glenn
Sam Glenn is an Award Winning Motivational Speaker, Author and Performance Artist

(Please share this article if you believe in standing up against workplace bullies, egos and rudeness. You never know who may need some encouragement in this area.)

This may seem slightly humorous and I hope it makes you laugh, but the reality is there are workplace bullies who make life way more stressful than it should be and going to work incredibly miserable.

So, is it really possible to shut down a
workplace bully with only a Tic Tac?

Let’s just say, I am speaking from experience on this one. You don’t have to do this, but it will definitely give you something positive to think about or day dream about.

Understand, at some point, if a workplace bully doesn’t change their behavior or minimal effort is being taken to effectively deal with the situation, you are kind of forced to either lose your mind or get creative!

I say, “Get creative!”

Now imagine me switching into my infomercial voice….
Because it’s just more fun to share this technique in that voice.

Have you ever wanted a simple, yet effective way
to silence the office or workplace bully?

You know the person with high insecurities, a bloated sense of ego, always out for themselves, is often rude, sabotages other people’s success and believes speaking down to people is acceptable behavior. That person! The person who makes you fear Monday’s and pretty much every workday.

Do you know anyone like that?
Well, have I got an idea for you!

My training strategy only costs about $.99 cents —depending where you shop. There is no confrontation involved whatsoever, so don’t be afraid or nervous. In fact, there is fun built into this technique. All you need are breath mints and the ability to act a little bit.

Any breathe mints will do, but my personal preference are tic tacs because it draws attention when you shake them in the bottle and they are only 1 1/2 calories and come in many delicious flavors and colors. But, be careful, if the real J. Peterman catches you with them, you will be out on your can. (Can you guess what TV show that line is from??)

How it works:

The next time someone is being rude, disrespectful or talking down to you, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Create a weird expression on your face and turn away like you smell something insanely horrible and toxic. If you want, for better dramatic effects, make your eyes roll back a little as if you may pass out or possibly faint. You don’t need to be perfect, but set aside some time to practice in front of a mirror.

This is called the distraction. It should be distressing enough that it gets their attention and they pause their bully ways and ask “Whats wrong or what’s your deal?”

Step 2: Hold your hand up in a gentle and non threatening way – like your asking someone to stop or step back. Almost a pushing someone away motion, but don’t physically do it. This indicates you are trying to escape or get away from something pungent and gross.

Step 3: Use this this script I created:

“I am so sorry, I want to hear all what your saying, but would you mind taking a breath mint or something…pleassse? Do you not smell that??”

Then offer them a Tic Tac and encourage them to keep the entire bottle as a gift. Let them know you insist. Then ask, “Would you mind if we took a short break or picked this up later? I really need to get some fresh air or I may get sick.”

Optional sayings to include :

You can add on to the above script by saying any of these creative lines (below)…but don’t go to far over the top or you could mess up the whole process and you don’t want that. These just make it funnier.

“Please, I may get sick if you don’t eat a mint soon – for real! Did you have ketchup and onions for breakfast? Did something happen to you on the way to work? Do you not smell that – the plants look sad. Seriously, is everything okay…that doesn’t smell normal? I would get that checked out. Has anybody else said anything to you or are they just hiding? Do you need to go home for a bit and lay down?”

At this point, you have interrupted their negative pattern. This pattern is a behavior known as being a bully. Halting this pattern is huge and your goal.

At this point, take a mental picture because the look on their face will be priceless. They will look embarrassed, worried and perhaps confused. They may want to go hide and curl up in ball. There is nothing wrong with that.

Scoreboard time:
Bully: 0
You: +1

You have now knocked them off their high horse without being mean or saying anything bad. You were creative. You deserve a pat on the back or a trip to Starbucks at least.

Repeat the process as many times as needed until a boundary has been created and the bully just tries to avoid you at all costs. A boundary is important because it prevents them from making your life more stressful.

If they pop a Tic Tac likes it’s no biggie and continue to be rude or bully you, pause again and say, “Oh no, that didn’t work. You gotta go do something. For real. Please!”

Sometimes it take a second round to make the bully go down.

The benefits to you, less stress and you will actually enjoy going to work, work harder, get more done and not live in fear of someone trying to mentally push you around daily. All thanks to a tiny Tic Tac and some creative thinking.

Remember, what you permit is what you promote.

Do not empower bullies or tolerate their shenanigans. If you don’t do something, they will continue to push you around, treat you poorly and make your life miserable. Being a bully and allowing it in the workplace is unacceptable. They need to learn there are consequences to their attitude and actions no matter what role or what level.

Something to keep in mind, If you don’t want to wait for karma,
go buy some Tic Tacs and have some fun!


Sam Glenn is an award winning motivational speaker who kicks off big meetings and conferences with energy, engagement and enthusiasm. For speaking inquiries and booking information: email us: