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Can teasing be subtle bullying?

(101 Posts)
Nanamar Fri 24-Jun-22 17:31:27

I understand that the intent of bullying is to harm while teasing is typically meant to be a friendly way of communicating. Have any of you encounters someone in your life who consistently teases you to the point that you’d sometimes receive it as criticism and/or an attempt to “one up” you? If so, have you let it go or have you spoken up? The maker of the remarks may not intend to hurt and the receiver is responsible for how they interpret the remarks but should the teaser be called on it?

VioletSky Fri 24-Jun-22 17:42:13

I have a very simple way of dealing with inappropriate comments, sarcasm or jokes at my expense which I learned having the sort of brain that took a few extra years to understand that sort of thing.

Now I just say I dont understand what they mean and make them explain till they feel awkward and go away..

It works perfectly for something discovered by accident

Grandmabatty Fri 24-Jun-22 17:43:44

I was teased by my ex husband and it definitely was bullying. A joke is only funny when both sides find it so.

rafichagran Fri 24-Jun-22 17:44:06

Could these people be passive aggresive? I loathe people like that, they are harder to call out, and if you do they are hurt and offended, and they play the victim.
My friend and I used to tease each other, but it was just banter and we enjoyed it. I would not do it to someone I did not know well as it could cause offence. I also find some of these people sly, they can give it, but cant take it.

lemsip Fri 24-Jun-22 17:46:21

yes. they should be called out on it! you maybe able to laugh first few times then....bite back....teasing is what you may do to a child not an adult! not that it's right for a child either.

dragonfly46 Fri 24-Jun-22 17:52:37

I always think teasing should be two sided. Otherwise it is a form of bullying.

Chestnut Fri 24-Jun-22 17:53:41

What I hate are people who say things as if they are true and when you believe them they say it was a joke. It makes you feel like a fool for believing. I knew someone who did that all the time which is a type of teasing but not in a nice way. I wouldn't call it bullying though.

MissAdventure Fri 24-Jun-22 17:54:58

It was officially classed as bullying in the charity I worked for.

MissAdventure Fri 24-Jun-22 17:58:09

It's pretty obvious that some people are more robust, in terms of what they are able to tolerate, with regards to being teased.
So, tone it down or don't do it to someone who doesn't like it.

Aveline Fri 24-Jun-22 18:11:30

In the past an ex boss and friend began to say some pretty passive aggressive things to me in public. The first time I let it past as I thought it said more about her chip on her shoulder but the second time enough was enough. I dumped her. Not having that sort of thing. Real friends don't do that.

StarDreamer Fri 24-Jun-22 18:16:02

Chestnut

What I hate are people who say things as if they are true and when you believe them they say it was a joke. It makes you feel like a fool for believing. I knew someone who did that all the time which is a type of teasing but not in a nice way. I wouldn't call it bullying though.

I call it bullying.

It puts the focus on the victim.

But alas, if Joe King or Jo King is told that, the victim is likely to be told he or she is "too sensitive ha ha ha!"

Instead of just being a person who is there, suddenly the focus is on the victim.

And then there is awkwardness, it polarises people or people say nothing.

If the victim retaliates, then the victim is likely to get the blame.

Look at the aftermath of what happened at the Oscars for example.

I wonder what the aftermath would have been if the response had just been the sedentary shouting..

Chewbacca Fri 24-Jun-22 18:16:27

Could these people be passive aggresive? I loathe people like that, they are harder to call out, and if you do they are hurt and offended, and they play the victim. I agree that passive aggressives are manipulative pains in the ass, but I'm not sure they're the same as teaser/bullies; they have a different modus operandi. Teaser/bullies aren't usually as sly and manipulative as passive aggressives; teaser/bullies are usually convinced that they're hilariously funny and any one who doesn't agree (usually their victim) is lacking a sense of humour and "can't take a joke" when they get upset. Both equally unpleasant to be around though.

Kate1949 Fri 24-Jun-22 18:17:54

A member of our family thinks he's hilarious by making supposed 'jokes' about the rest of us - our appearance, age etc. He isn't. He needs to take a look at himself.

M0nica Fri 24-Jun-22 18:18:53

It can be, but doesn't have to be.

Pantglas2 Fri 24-Jun-22 18:31:38

I’ve been toughened to this sort of thing by having three brothers and I’m pretty quick with an equally jokey reply which, like the original jibe, can be taken two ways!

I haven’t often had to go down the ‘quiet word’ route but have advised colleagues to do that when they didn’t feel able to give a robust response.

This sort of stuff needs nipping in the bud or else it does develop into bullying - they almost can’t help themselves when they think they’ve got an easy target who’ll suffer in silence.

StarDreamer Fri 24-Jun-22 18:31:59

Years ago, 1990s, where I was working, a circular came round about sexual harrassment.

Some way down the list of what constitutes sexual harrassment was something like

> Unwanted comments about a person's physical appearance

I wondered if people making comments about my height would be thus regarded as sexual harassment or would I be told "oh, that's different".

rafichagran Fri 24-Jun-22 18:34:18

Oh, one of them, seems every family has one. boring, not funny pains in the arse.

rafichagran Fri 24-Jun-22 18:35:16

Sorry that was to katie49

Germanshepherdsmum Fri 24-Jun-22 18:47:27

Saying that you are (as I recall) tall is hardly sexual harassment SD.

Chewbacca Fri 24-Jun-22 18:58:09

I wondered if people making comments about my height would be thus regarded as sexual harassment or would I be told "oh, that's different

Possibly not sexual harassment StarDreamer but any unwanted comments about one's appearance could be considered harassment in the workplace; hair colour, size, clothes etc, if those comments are unwanted, and you've requested them to stop making them because it makes you uncomfortable, it should certainly be escalated to HR.

StarDreamer Fri 24-Jun-22 19:00:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarDreamer Fri 24-Jun-22 19:07:31

Ah, they had altered the article later, so the title in the link is wrong. I will ask for the post to be deleted as it is misleading.

MawtheMerrier Fri 24-Jun-22 19:14:54

I wondered if people making comments about my height would be thus regarded as sexual harassment or would I be told "oh, that's different. “".
Only if 1) being tall is exclusively gender related
Or 2) if 1) being tall was something you felt disadvantaged you
made you feel inferior .

However, nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.

eazybee Fri 24-Jun-22 19:18:24

Teasing is affectionate; bullying is not.

MissAdventure Fri 24-Jun-22 19:22:30

I think it can be.
It's just more insidious and nasty, if that is how it's intended.