Pete Buttigieg Tells 11-Year-Old Girl How To Stand Up To A Bully

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg reached into his own childhood experience to offer an 11-year-old in Iowa some advice on how to handle a bully.

Then, the South Bend, Indiana mayor revealed that standing up to a bully was one of the reasons why he was running to unseat President Donald Trump next year. 

Buttigieg told the questioner, identified only as Rebecca, that he had been bullied himself as a youth.  

Everybody who’s different can be bullied,” he said on Saturday in a video posted online by the Des Moines Register. “And the secret is, everybody’s different in some way.” 

Buttigieg said many bullies were bullied themselves and most have “something a little broken in them.” He suggested a way to “pop the balloon” and take the air out of the bully. 

“Turn to a bully and ask if they’re OK and they won’t know what to do with you,” he said, adding:

″[R]emember that you’re bigger than they are, that you have a bigger heart, and to try to find a way to show that. And to remember that there’s a person in there, too, probably a person who’s been hurt in some way which is why they’re turning around and hurting you.”

He also said that it took discipline not to return the bullying. 

“Sometimes you just want to give it right back,” Buttigieg said. “But you have control. You have control over whether that bully makes you into a worse version of yourself or a better version of yourself.” 

At one point during his answer, someone in the audience shouted: “Sounds familiar!”

“Sounds familiar, yeah,” Buttigieg agreed. “I think it really matters we have a president who doesn’t show that kind of behavior. It’s one of the reasons I’m running for president.” 

See his full answer below: 

Also on HuffPost

Michael Phelps

Often bullied about his lisp and his big ears, Michael Phelps said in an interview, "It's kind of crazy. When I do go up around where I used to live [in Baltimore], you still see the same people who were picking on me. They're still around, busing tables or whatever, probably still acting the same way. They'll try to talk to me and I'm thinking, 'Yeah, why are talking to me now? You were picking on me then.'" Yahoo Sports

Sandra Bullock

"I'd come back [to school] from Europe and I looked like a clown compared to the cool way the other students looked and dressed. So I got my ass whooped a little bit… Kids are mean, and the sad thing is that I can still remember the first and last names of every one of those kids who were mean to me!"

Megan Fox

"I was bullied and it's hard, you feel like high school's never going to be over. It's four years of your life and you just have to remember the person picking on you has their own problems and their own issues," Megan Fox told E! News.

Justin Timberlake

"I grew up in Tennessee, and if you didn't play football, you were a sissy. I got slurs all the time because I was in music and art . . . I was an outcast in a lot of ways . . . but everything that you get picked on for or you feel makes you weird is essentially what's going to make you sexy as an adult." From an interview on Ellen

Miley Cyrus

"These were big, tough girls, I was scrawny and short. They were fully capable of doing me bodily harm. They shoved me in. I was trapped. I banged on the door until my fists hurt. Nobody came. I spent what felt like an hour in there, waiting for someone to rescue me, wondering how my life had gotten so messed up..." From her memoir, Miles To Go

Tyra Banks

“People called me Olive Oyl, Lightbulb Head, and Fivehead, because my forehead was so big.” From an interview with GQ

Robert Pattinson

"I got beaten up by a lot of people when I was younger. I was a bit of an idiot, but I always thought the assaults were unprovoked. It was after I first started acting and I liked to behave like an actor, or how I thought an actor was supposed to be, and that apparently provoked a lot of people into hitting me." Parade Magazine

Victoria Beckham

"They were literally picking things up out of the puddles and throwing them at me, and I just stood there, on my own. No one was with me. I didn't have any friends. People would push me around, say they were going to beat me up after school, chase me. It was miserable, my whole schooling, miserable. I tried to be friends with people, but I didn't fit in. So I kept myself to myself." From an interview with Elle Magazine


Growing up, Rihanna was teased—to the point of fist fights—for having paler skin than her peers."I was cultured in a very 'black' way. But when I got to school I'm being called 'white'...they would look at me, and they would curse me out. I didn't understand." From an interview with Allure Magazine

Jessica Alba

"I was bullied so badly my dad used to have to walk me into school so I didn't get attacked. I'd eat my lunch in the nurses' office so I didn't have to sit with the other girls. Apart from my being mixed race, my parents didn't have money so I never had the cute clothes or the cool back pack," Jessica Alba told the Daily Mirror.

Chris Colfer

“I was very tiny... I spent most of my time stuffed into lockers. Thank god for cell phones, or I’d still be in there.” At a New Yorker Festival discussion

Howard Stern

In his book Private Parts, Howard Stern wrote, "A fat neighborhood kid named Johnny, who used to blow his nose into his Italian ices then eat them with a wooden spoon, used to beat me up so regularly that my parents made me go to judo school to learn to defend myself."

Christina Hendricks

“I had the worst high school experience ever. I went to a very mean school and was bullied like crazy… If I could go back and tell my 14-year-old self anything it would be, ‘Don’t worry. You’re going to be doing exactly what you want to be doing and those people who are a***holes now are still going to be a***holes in 20 years. So let it go!’" From an interview with the UK Mirror

Christian Bale

"I took a beating from several boys for years. They put me through hell, punching and kicking me all the time," Bale told People Magazine. Then he added: "If you can face the bullying at school and come through it stronger, that is a lesson for life." Via BBC News

Eva Mendes

"I became a victim of bullying. I was a gawky, skinny girl with big teeth and that made me an easy target. I had two bullies and they tortured me all through junior high school," Eva Mendes tells UK's Daily Mail.

Jennifer Lawrence

“I changed schools a lot when I was in elementary school because some girls were mean… They were less mean in middle school, because I was doing all right, although this one girl gave me invitations to hand out to her birthday party that I wasn’t invited to… Don’t worry about the bitches — that could be a good motto, because you come across people like that throughout your life.” The Sun

Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.