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November 14, 2013

photoIn a good friendship light hearted teasing can be fun and funny. You might kid your friend about her germ phobia when she washes the outside of a banana before peeling it, but you BOTH think it’s funny. Teasing becomes mocking when it doesn’t feel like it’s coming from a place of solidarity but rather from a place of contempt.

Mocking can take many forms and is usually designed to take someone down a rung and assert superiority. In toxic friendships mocking is often transmitted through a technique called “kidding on the square” or “HaHaOnlySerious.” For instance you make a mistake and your friend says with a wry smile, “Wow, I guess it doesn’t take a lot of smarts to graduate from Stanford.”

Other forms of mocking can be more direct such as insulting your character, actions, or physical appearance and then laughing (a little too hard). Sometimes a friend’s good natured teasing can be hurtful, though when confronted they will often be genuinely apologetic. When you bring up your grievances about teasing to a toxic individual they might put it back on you with statements such as, “Can’t you take a joke?,” “Geesh! I was just kidding!,” or “You’re so sensitive!”

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