When Teasing Is Loving, and When It’s Not (NYTimes)

Our peer mediators at Alexandria Country Day School design and enact skits each year for the full school on good teasing, bad teasing, and unintentional bad teasing. The quote below is extremely helpful in recognizing when teasing crosses the line.

You can call some teasing starter bullying, or even bullying outright. The teasers may laugh, or even mean very little by it, but the teased don’t always see it that way. Research (which Gretchen pointed me toward) shows that while teasers describe the interactions as lighthearted and fun, those teased often described the same situation as malicious and annoying.

But some teasing, called “prosocial teasing” by those who study these things, has benefits. It can be playful, reveal affiliations and help both the teaser and the teased feel closer. After all, only someone very close to you, or someone very mean, will tell you that your feet have a certain unappealing jungle quality. But teasing isn’t positive unless both parties perceive it as positive…

via When Teasing Is Loving, and When It’s Not – NYTimes.com.