How to Know Whether You're Being Teased Maliciously or If It's All in Good Fun

It's one thing to be lovingly teased by your friends, but how do you know when they're crossing the line?

There's a fine line between having fun and being bullied, and you need to be the one to speak up if it's getting too intense.

First off, what exactly a tease? Is it a lesson with laughter, or perhaps a joke or insult sent with love? When you boil it down, yes teasing is basically playful insulting, but here's how to know if you're being teased maliciously, or if it's just all in good fun.

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Repetitive Teasing

Okay, so you might always be the last one out of class for lunch, or maybe you have a few little quirks that your friends like to poke at—that's all in good fun. However, if you're constantly feeling like your friends are beating you down for every move you make and you can't catch a break, they're crossing the line and being mean.

Quinn fighting back with Santana

(Glee via Fox)


You're Forcing Yourself to Laugh

No one really likes being teased, but learning how to accept your flaws is a big part of growing up. Learning to laugh at yourself and the jokes thrown your way is vital for later success, but if you can't seem to shake off what your friends are throwing your way, chances are it's no longer just in jest.


They Continue When You're Obviously Upset

Teasing is a form of "friend-flirting" in a way, and there's never an intention of someone getting hurt. If your friends back off when they see you're getting frustrated, then they didn't mean to upset you. But if the jokes keep coming, or get even worse when you start to get upset, you need to ditch these nasty people stat.

Friends yelling at each other

(via Shutterstock)


There's a Power Imbalance

This one is key to figuring out what's going on. Typically when being teased, both parties are on an equal playing field, and the teased party could easily joust back with a comeback tease. But in bullying, there is a clear victim. If it feels like you're being ganged up on or being talked down to, then you're being bullied.


It Feels Personal

It can be tricky to distinguish what's too personal, because when you're being teased, you're probably being made fun of for some physical attribute or habit. If you're being picked on for the way you look, sound or dress (and you no longer think it's funny or you can't control it) then you need to ditch them for some new comrades.


And while we're talking about boundaries, HERE'S how to set healthy boundaries for your friendships.