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Thrown Under the Bus Blog

You never look good trying to make someone else look bad.

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To throw (someone) under the bus” is an idiomatic phrase in American English, meaning to betray a friend or ally for selfish reasons.  It is typically used to describe a self-defensive denial and separation of a previously-friendly relationship when it becomes controversial or unpopular.

It is also an utterly worn-out phrase that should be removed from our lexicon.

Thrown under The Bus

The phrase “throwing someone under the bus” doesn’t literally mean putting them in harm’s way in front of a moving vehicle.  People use this expression to discuss unpleasant situations.   It is also used as an excuse for poor personal judgment and action.

Though it can apply in several situations, you may hear this phrase at work.  Knowing how to address this type of situation can help you better navigate a challenging scenario and help prevent it in the future.


The term “thrown under the bus” means to blame, punish or criticize another person, especially when attempting to seek personal gain or avoid blame for a situation.  For example, if someone makes a mistake at work and blames another person, you may consider this as throwing someone under the bus.  This term most often refers to situations where blaming occurs in public.  Following the previous example, the employee who blamed the individual for their mistake may report this to their supervisor to avoid repercussions related to their own error.

How to Respond

If you find yourself in one of these situations at work, there are steps you can take to remain calm and fix things to the best of your ability.

  1. Take a moment for yourself Give yourself time to process your feelings by walking outside, sitting in your car, or otherwise removing yourself from the office for a period. Consider taking deep breaths, counting to 10, or using other calming strategies.
  2. Reflect on the situation Try to remember the details and understand what happened.  Review different scenarios and other people’s perspectives to see if the situation could be misunderstood.  Consider other likely explanations for the occurrence or why someone would blame you.
  3. Propose a solution – Though you can’t change past events, you may be able to fix, repair or improve the situation. Creating a plan will help you feel more confident and prepared to enter a discussion with your coworkers and your supervisor.
  4. Defend yourself – If necessary, you can defend yourself to your supervisor or the appropriate party. Tell your version of the story and present any solutions you’ve developed to fix the situation’s outcome.
  5. Commit to honesty – When you consistently tell the truth, it builds trust between employees and management. In unpleasant situations, be honest about what facts you know and those you don’t know.  Avoid making accusations or suggestions about sensitive subjects until you have all the details.

The Bible

Being thrown under the bus is a message about the accuser, not the accused.

In typical workplace environments, the person looking the worst when the dust settles is the person doing the “throwing.”

No one has been thrown under the bus more than Jesus.

It started when He first returned to his hometown in Galilee to preach.  At first, it went well, but later they became furious.  Luke 4:24 says,

“Truly I tell you,” He continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.”

The people who knew him as a child refused to believe Him.  And they have continued not to believe Him through his earthly ministry.  And we have difficulty believing Him today.

Our culture today is a culture of unbelief.

We do not believe the message of Christ, who would never condone lying, fabricating a story for personal advantage to throw someone under the bus.

Deuteronomy 5:20 says,

Do not give dishonest testimony against your neighbor.

Psalm 34:12–13 says,

Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous?  Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies!

And Proverbs 19:5 says,

A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free.

The concept of being thrown under the bus is a personality deficiency of today’s culture.

Business leaders and entrepreneurs need to take action to stop the use of lies for personal gain in the office environment and simultaneously minister to the victims to restore their faith in the office culture they are building. 

Follow the example of Jesus and let the truth win out in the end.