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Difference between teasing and bullying

(33 Posts)
plinkplankplonk Sat 01-Aug-15 19:26:12

I have a male friend who is often quite negative towards me but when challanged says he's only teasing, or only having a laugh. But last night we had a drunken conversation which made me think he's actually quite nasty. A few weeks ago we had a text conversation where he 'taunted' me by telling me he had a piece of gossip but wouldn't say what it was and then lied to me (telling me he'd spoken to another friend when he hadn't), only admitting the lies when challenged a few days later. As all this was by text I had no body language or way of identifying that he was lying or 'just teasing' and got quite annoyed by it.

Yesterday when I brought up the lying he said that he though winding me up and lying was ok as long as he found it funny. He didn't seem to be able to empathse with my feelings at all.

I'm an only child and an introvert and so not really into rough and tumble friendships, but can someone clarify for me, when does friendly teasing move into bullying?

RubbishMantra Sat 01-Aug-15 19:54:25

Friendly teasing moves into bullying if it makes you feel uncomfy. "Only teasing" is a classic passive aggressive's way excuse for attempting to make you feel like shit.

I had a friend who would do exactly this. He'd criticise everything from my cooking to my hair. But he was "only joking". When I began seeing somebody, he said he couldn't be friends anymore, because (his words) "one day the bloke will chuck you, and by then, I'll be friends with you both, and it wouldn't be fair, because I'll have to choose between you." (meaning it wouldn't be fair to deny myself or a bloke he'd never met of his friendship) grin

He also tried to get in my pants when I was pissed and emotional. Oohh, the list could go on.

Don't endure anything that makes you question yourself.

He's now an ex friend, and the man I was seeing became my DH. Actually, I've just remembered how much I'd like to jam a cocktail umbrella up his piss-pipe. grin

Wolfiefan Sat 01-Aug-15 19:56:01

Teasing is a lighthearted joke. It's two way and nobody is upset.
Bullying is one sided, spiteful and unacceptable.

pocketsaviour Sat 01-Aug-15 20:08:21

What happens if you "tease" him back? In my experience, bullies can never take it when it's pointed back at them.

But to answer your title, it stops being teasing when the person being teased gets upset.

paddymcgintysmum Sat 01-Aug-15 20:33:50

It's a very fine line between teasing/banter and abuse and sometimes it takes an onlooker to point it out. I'd like to hear from someone an example of "friendly teasing."

My daughter was going out with a guy who would repeatedly wait for her in the house then jump out to scare her. (When they used to visit for weekends) He saw that as teasing, I saw that as early abuse and was thrilled when she chucked him for cheating. I always felt he was a potential physical abuser.

You at least plink are astute enough to have spotted it yourself and that he isn't a good friend.

Introverts are very welcome at "Meet Ups" and "Spice" groups so go join, and ditch teasers like him.

WixingMords Sat 01-Aug-15 20:37:47

When it's repeated and sustained despite knowing it causes unhappiness.

pocketsaviour Sat 01-Aug-15 20:47:55

I'd like to hear from someone an example of "friendly teasing."

I have a good friend at work who is the clumsiest person I ever met. He knocks something over on my desk, or falls over, every day I've known him. When he offers to make a cuppa, I might say "Do you think you can manage without dropping it on the way back?" We both laugh about it and he teases me about some of my habits, like dropping accidental swears at exactly the wrong moment.

Or if I've got a bit of a crush on someone at work, a colleague who's in the know might say "You've been a long time going to the printer - did you run up to 5th floor to take a peek at Mr Sexy?"

My sister teases me about my ridiculously retentive memory.
Me: You know when we lived in Acacia Avenue, there was this woman who lived a couple of doors down...
Sis: I'm sure you can tell me her name, date of birth, and national insurance number?

I think the thing is, these are all non-consequential things that don't have any potential to upset the "target". My clumsy friend has a horrible habit of having disastrous ONS, including sleeping with his ex a few weeks ago, but I would never dream of teasing him about that, because he's come in to work really upset a few times. (He is gay and about my son's age... I tend to mother him.)

I'm really overweight (though losing weight now!) and I wouldn't expect a friend to ever tease me about that.

MiddleAgedandConfused Sat 01-Aug-15 23:09:45

My friend always taps me on the shoulder as he walks past so I turn to the opposite side and no-one is there. The same guy always takes the mick out of my northern accent and I return the favour about his southern one. That's teasing - taking the piss out of someone in a way that makes you both laugh.
Bullying is when one person is laughing at the discomfort they have caused another person and doing it repetitively. One event isn't bullying. It's the repetition that makes the victim anticipate the discomfort and worried about the next time it happens.
Your post doesn't sound like bullying - but it does sound like this bloke is an idiot and not a friend.

DonkeyOaty Sat 01-Aug-15 23:20:08

Plink this is no friend.

Lying about stuff, being nasty, taunting you - all ways he can get a rise out of you. He sounds an utter pig.

Get rid.

badtime Sun 02-Aug-15 00:10:11

TBH, if you tell someone that their 'teasing' is upsetting you and they say that they were 'only joking', then it's bullying. If it was just an ill-judged wind up from a decent person, they will apologise.

plinkplankplonk Sun 02-Aug-15 07:52:51

Thanks for all the replies and examples.
Pocket; if i attempt to tease him back he tends to get defensive and not see it as a joke. But when i point out that i'm only doing what he does to me, he will say he was joking about being upset.

Rubbish mentioned passive aggressive behaviour, which reminded me of a couple of other things he does which might fit that pattern. 1) if we are having a text chat and he doesn't like the conversation (e.g. bored or annoyed) he just turns his phone off (its not just me he does this to) so I'm left wondering if I did something to upset him or if he's just busy.
2) If I do something which annoys him, instead of telling me he will be 'off' with me (sometimes for weeks) and then a few months later i'll find out what I did.

TwoTwentyGowerRoad Sun 02-Aug-15 07:58:26

Bin the asshole.

Bohemond Sun 02-Aug-15 08:02:21

He is a twat. Turn your phone off.

TheDowagerCuntess Sun 02-Aug-15 09:38:05

As a result of writing out this these, surely you're really beginning to wonder why you're friends with this person...?

TheDowagerCuntess Sun 02-Aug-15 09:38:35

*this thread

Aoifebell Sun 02-Aug-15 09:51:10

Sounds a bit pyscopathic imo.

PADDY: my boyfriend jumps out and scares me all the time. I hate it. He also tickles me when I've told him numerous times how much I hate it. What would you make of that? I've never heard of/seen him do it to anyone else just me. He Hates It if I do it back to him and can't take a joke but will pretend it's funny and he's ok with me teasing him back then he'll change the subject. Is he teasing or is he cunt?

Sorry to hijack your thread plink smile

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sun 02-Aug-15 09:58:17

You either need to dump him, or change the way you react to him. Say `that isnt funny` `you`re being rude` etc. Turn away and ignore.

pinkyredrose Sun 02-Aug-15 10:02:30

He's not a friend. A friend would care about your feelings and have your best interests at heart. He's treating you as though he doesn't like you.

Summerlovinf Sun 02-Aug-15 10:09:22

Aoife...if you don't like it and you've asked him not to do it but he keeps it up then he's out of order. He sounds like a bully/prick.

plinkplankplonk Sun 02-Aug-15 10:09:58

Aoife: hijack away

Pinky: The problem is his behaviour is sporadic, sometimes he can be a great friend. I wondered if I was being oversensitive to the 'teasing' but from replies I don't think I am.

PuppyMonkey Sun 02-Aug-15 10:11:02

Why do you have text conversations with him, or even engage with him - I'd be changing my phone number?. confused

Finola1step Sun 02-Aug-15 10:14:13

Dump him. Life is too short to be friends with someone who actually isn't your friend.

chaiselounger Sun 02-Aug-15 10:48:58

Teasing and bullying are very different things.

SelfLoathing Sun 02-Aug-15 10:55:48

The difference is that teasing is properly and objectively amusing for both people; bullying is not funny.

It is not funny to say "your arse is so large you could squash a small child" - because it is insulting. The fact that the speaker subjectively thinks it's funny is neither here nor there.

The best response to this type of stuff is to stick to your guns and say "that is not funny. It is objectively rude. I am not going to let you pretend that I am being over sensitive." and repeat.

Teasing is more about light and gentle joking - most often about something that is not a sensitive topic for the subject of the teasing and something they accept about themselves - eg. that they are anally tidy or always are late or always have to be super early. That type of thing. The key is whether it is humourous and gentle rather than plain insulting.

SelfLoathing Sun 02-Aug-15 10:57:41

Teasing and bullying are very different things.

And the Oscar for the most unhelpful reply goes to...

Did you even read the OPs question? confused

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