Making gentle teasing remarks- How do you maintain a balance?

@kalav56 (11502)
India
January 8, 2010 1:13am CST
In the circle of friends or our near and dear ones, we do tend to make some gentle teasing remarks, poking light fun. Once my sister-in-law told me that when she was abroad she had a friend of a different nationality and that girl remarked “you Indians think that teasing is a mark of showing affection.” She obviously did not like it too much. Do you do this to friends? Have you overstepped some time or the other? Do you think that it is a mark of affection? How do you maintain a balance? If you feel that someone has crossed boundaries, how do you gently make it clear without hurting their feelings? Some are termed “teaseable” [forgive the slang;] and I am one of them... But I try to be careful with people lest I overstep sometime or the other and I also try to sense a person’s mood. Please share your thoughts; I thought this may be an interesting topic for discussion.
7 people like this
14 responses
@dpk262006 (49176)
• Delhi, India
9 Jan 10
Indeed it is fantastic topic to discuss. I would talk first about real life situations. I love humor and fun and would make some 'funny' comments to make others laugh and smile and in the process if I have to make comments on me too, I do not hesitate.. I feel life without laughter is boring and tedious. However, I make the humorous comments only when I am doubly sure that people/friends around me will take it sportingly and would join me in the laughter. I see to it that I do not overstep my limits or offend anyone in the process of making fun. If by chance I exceed my limit, I immediately apologize to the other fellow explaining him/her simultaneously that I never wanted to hurt him/her. However, when we are on-line or on mylot, I restrict myself from teasing others because it is difficult to assess/guage about other fellow's mood. S/he may not be in good mood and my light teasing comments could be taken otherwise, which I won't like to. I invariably put 'lol' sign after my sentences to make myself clear (that I am joking). Those about whom I know very well and have an idea about their nature (here on mylot) I tease them only occasionally with light remarks and I dare not tease any user, who is not known to me. Excellent Post! Have a nice day! Deepak
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@kalav56 (11502)
• India
9 Jan 10
Thanks Deepak for the excellent response and the compliment about the post.It is a great thing that you can make funny remarks and make people laugh.You are wise in not teasing people online because I too feel that we cannot sense a person's mood wihtout being face to face.As you have pointed out just gently teasing people when you are sure that you are not overstepping a line, is alright.I am normally a bot careful because I feel relationships and friendships are most important and when we are friendly with thta tiny bit of guard, things may not go wrong.
@vandana7 (51252)
• India
9 Jan 10
Hi baby face. That answer from you doesn't go well with the avatar. :) I agree with everything you said though. :) But I do tend to tease you a lot, isn't it? :) I am not going to say sorry. :) Tell me when I am overstepping. I think as a friend I am entitled to that. :)
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@dpk262006 (49176)
• Delhi, India
9 Jan 10
Hi Kala! I feel honoured and humbled to read your comments about my response. I refrain from on-line teasing, as I said earlier, I only do, when I know a friend quite well. I do not want to take any chance or for that matter hurt any of my friends even jokingly. Yes, relationship are delicate and should be 'handled with care'..........lol! (I know about you that you always put up decently in your posts).
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@balasri (26577)
• India
8 Jan 10
We are comparatively very talkative and become sentimental with the people we like at the first meeting very much. You might have seen many people who readily make friendships with the co passengers in a train journey taking note of their addresses and phone numbers. How many of them really sustain that relationship is a big question mark. We tend to over speak and want everything rosy and up to our expectations. We are not prepared to take criticisms in the right spirit and the same time we readily jump into criticize others and give advice freely left and right where it is least warranted. Crossing the limits and substantiating it with several excuses without realizing that it is bad manners is the in thing here. I think that we have to go a long way in improving our social etiquette and manners. I value my privacy very much as I respect the privacy and personal life of others. I know teasing is like prodding and tail twisting which may bring nasty results which is not at all necessary in any relationship.
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@kalav56 (11502)
• India
8 Jan 10
Absolutley true that we are comparatively very talkative and become sentimental about people [whether it is in the first meeeting or subsequent meetings I agree that many of us do show a lot of affection to people]And regarding this 'criticism" bit Bala, I have always noted that people who keep criticising indiscriminatley are not really sporting enough and would be very sensitive to criticism.I cannot accept the justice in their behaviour. I also sometimes do feel that we should not allow outsiders to tease us.
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@kalav56 (11502)
• India
9 Jan 10
Absolutely right Bala.I too feel the same way; I would allow this teasing only if it is done by my son and husband.Slowly, my dear daughterinlaw is also entering the circle, becasue she is also a child and in the closest circle.
@balasri (26577)
• India
9 Jan 10
You are always been a good wife and mother.No wonder you will make a great Mother in law too.
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@drannhh (14856)
• United States
8 Jan 10
I do NOT like teasing, so I very seldom tease others. To me it is not a sign of affection at all, but rather an invasion. I do not like familiarity, preferring more formal relationships. I never thought of it as a cultural difference, though, because many of my relatives and neighbors are big teasers. I just think of it as an individual difference. It is impossible to deal gently with teasers in my experience because if you let them know you do not like it then they want to do it all the more, so one can only avoid those people, which is not usually possible, or out-tease them until they back off. My uncles, especially, liked to "win" so if they got teased back, they would withdraw. With them I think it was a power trip.
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@kalav56 (11502)
• India
8 Jan 10
Sometimes these uncles and aunts tend to overdo this in the name of familiarity liitle realising thta their' baby' nieces and nephews have 'babies' of their own and are fully grown individuals.I just do not like it and could well understand what you had written.And "power "trip is a wonderful word in this instance.
@vandana7 (51252)
• India
9 Jan 10
Kala I am just realizing what people dont like. For instance you mentioned that people dont like to be treated as babies any more. I have tendency to treat others as kids. So far nobody objected at my workplace. In fact, many encouraged and so I thought it was just fine. My fist mishap with this tendency was about 9 months ago, when I accidentally addressed a grown up as child. That word was used for us in hostel by nuns, so it has become an inseparable part of my vocabulary. It just slipped in and there was a lot of harsh words that followed that left me very sad. I thought that that person took offense unnecessarily. But now that you point it out, I am beginning to relook at my behavior.
1 person likes this
@drannhh (14856)
• United States
9 Jan 10
That is another interesting area. We have what we call terms of endearment such as "sweetie" and "honey" that are sometimes used with strangers, coworkers, and other people who are not family or close friends and even within my own culture there are cultural differences as to whether that is accepted. In one community where I live part of the time, use of these terms is highly frowned upon, and some people will become angry if they are addressed that way. But the rest of the year I live in an area where practically everyone used these terms practically all of the time. So it gets very confusing.
@tawny_24 (351)
• United States
8 Jan 10
To me this is soo not funny. I always think that all humor is based on truth, so when you are 'joking' with a person about some flaw that they have or some difference you are basically critcizing them, and also enjoining others to laugh at them. This is humiliating. I can see how some things are harmless, however as the ones making the joke we have no idea what someone may be secretly insecure about, and the socially acceptable response to being teased like this is to laugh, even if it was hurtful. So the person who is joking is allowed to "tell the truth" which in terms of joking is always that the subject is somehow inferior, or stupid, i.e. laughable. But the person being teased is required to pretend that they enjoy being berated. Has anyone ever teased you lightly and you ended up protesting, what happened? Everyone told you to be a "good sport". In other words the whole thing is just a civilized way to control the social heirarchy. Our social status whithin a group is partly determined by this action of teasing. If you do the teasing you are acheiving a higher status by undermining the inate traits of a rival. And being teased can either raise or lower your status in a group depending on how one reacts to it.
@drannhh (14856)
• United States
9 Jan 10
Very well put!
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@vandana7 (51252)
• India
9 Jan 10
I agree with most of what you said tawny. But I do tease - light heartedly. :( I think there are somethings to which ego should not be attached. As I mentioning elsewhere, may be we should have this as a subject. This is because home environments differ. If there are people at home who indulge in teasing then the person gets equipped with a way to tackle it, by watching others do it. But if there is no such environment, then the skills dont come easily.
@vandana7 (51252)
• India
9 Jan 10
fending skills.
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• India
8 Jan 10
Hi Kala, Yes, it’s a typically Indian style of teasing our friends and near ones and yes, in most cases it’s a case of showing affection and closeness. I too am teased and I love teasing too and I think the trick lies in not taking offence when I am teased by others. I have to take it lightly and in true spirit only then will the others accept my teasing. Ego should not have its place among friends and teasing is just a way of testing that and also our own maturity.
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@kalav56 (11502)
• India
8 Jan 10
I agree with what you have written though I wish to add that there are different kinds of gentle teasing.I have not much liked it if someone tries to put you down by this gentle teasing.Some casual funny remarks by people who are able to laugh at themselves as well as others are always ok.But these people who tease ina vindictive manner do it so badly that you feel like running a mile from them.This is typical of some old folks as drannh had rightly pointed out.Thanks for the participation and happy new year .
@dpk262006 (49176)
• Delhi, India
11 Jan 10
Kala - Sudipta knows very well how to take teasing commetns lightly and she does not mind and take the comments in the right spirit.
@paula27661 (15900)
• Australia
13 Jan 10
We had this very discussion at home just the other night. My daughter and my husband often play games with each other and tease one another a lot, my daughter will jump on her dad, playfully hit him and so on…But how much is playing and when does it become disrespect? We had a difficult time explaining the fine line to our child. I think that, for a start we generally know who we can tease and who will not tolerate it and the trick is to know how long before we become obnoxious with it and that too is a fine line. I admit that I am not a fan of too much teasing a little every now and again but people who do it constantly can wear me down after a while.
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@kalav56 (11502)
• India
13 Jan 10
Very true Paula.There is a thin dividing line and sometimes it gets out of hand. THat is why I too feel that it is better not to do this but with familiarity a little bit of gentle affectionate teasing does happen.
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@kawalnarang (1095)
• Trinidad And Tobago
8 Jan 10
Good to tell her when she is looking special,,best to sense the person's mood,,as trouble comes very EASY for me
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@kalav56 (11502)
• India
8 Jan 10
It is always better to sense a person's mood ; at least an honest effort must be made because we should not take other people for granted.
@mimpi1911 (25467)
• India
8 Jan 10
I do not approve of teasing, neither do I do it myself. Most of the times the teasers cross the limit and they have no idea what's they are talking about! I agree, that there is a time and situation but hardly the chronic teasers follow it and without knowing they tend to hurt people. I am a person who is gentle and have been brought up in a fashion that does not quite practise insinuations and negative allusions, which are considered as improper. Teasings fall in that group too. However, having said this, they are some gentle teasers who never could hurt or be improper with their dispositions. But it's also important to know about the subject. You never know, who you are going to hurt! I would rather not tease.
@kalav56 (11502)
• India
8 Jan 10
I agree mimpi that chronic teasers do tend to hurt people.I know some people who are very acidic in their comments and they just do it as naturally as they talk. I too do not like vindictive teasing and sometimes feel that there tends to be ovrstepping.I had aloowed many people to tease me though I will just be bubbly and exuberant but not indulge in any clever witty remarks at another person's expense.And insinuations are something which I just cannot tolerate.Some people say outright that they would not be teased in their matter of fact remarks.
@dpk262006 (49176)
• Delhi, India
9 Jan 10
Kala! I can vouch for Mimpi, she knows her limits and whatever she has written is absolutely true and she is always very gentle and polite in her communication.
@vandana7 (51252)
• India
9 Jan 10
I have to with agree with what Deepak has mentioned here. :) Deepak I wish you had such compliments for me as well. :)
@williamjisir (22912)
• China
9 Jan 10
Hello kalav. I agree that sometimes we love to tease some people familiar to us. I think that it is because we have a very good relationship that we think of teasing. But it all depends on the person's personality as to tease. If it happens to be one who is introverted, then it is not proper to tease him or her, but there is no problem for someone extrovert so long as we don't hurt them.
@vandana7 (51252)
• India
9 Jan 10
How do you really know who is an introvert or extrovert? I have seen introverts desperately trying to behave like extroverts, to fit in the group, and then being hurt. :(
@kalav56 (11502)
• India
9 Jan 10
That is why Vandana I restrict this to a very limited set of people [if at all I do it];it is better to be safe than sorry. I refrain from teasing because , as I said earlier one can never predict how it will be received. Moreover, sometimes familiarity makes us also overstep a boundary.
@kalav56 (11502)
• India
9 Jan 10
Williamji sir I do agree that we tend to tease when someone is very familiar ; but even here at times, I have found thta someone has not liked it much.THankfully I am quick to sense a person's reaction and after thta I would always be careful with that particular person.
@liquorice (3903)
8 Jan 10
It is an interesting topic. Some members of my family are big on teasing other family members, and some people take it well, some people don't, and some don't realise when they're being teased! Most of my friends now aren't so into teasing, although I used to have a friend who took it too far, and she offended a lot of people without realising it. I think it's ok as long as the people being teased aren't too bothered by it. It's when the teasers don't realise the bad effect they're having on people that it really becomes a problem.
@vandana7 (51252)
• India
9 Jan 10
I think many times I come under the third category - "some don't realise when they're being teased!". LOL. Just a thought - why don't we have teasing and counter teasing as a subject under humanities. LOL. Frankly, it would be good because many people would learn how to ward off the bullies. :)
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@liquorice (3903)
9 Jan 10
Lol! Yes, I think I could probably benefit from doing that course sometimes!
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@vandana7 (51252)
• India
8 Jan 10
Hi kala, I have been visiting some of the discussions of these foreigners. They truly do not indulge in personal level teasing. They indulge in repartees, and rejoinders, but never will it be aimed at any personal aspect. It is not as if they are enjoying any less than us. :) A little bit of teasing is just fine. But this cloak is cleverly donned by those with malafide intentions. The litmus test is the reaction of the person. If the person apologizes adding that he or she meant it as joke, then the intentions were not innocent. This is because if the person understands why it hurt, then the person also realizes it is not something about which anybody should be joking. This is not my original thinking. I read it somewhere on net. I merely putting it in my words and presenting it here. :) What can we do? We just have to bide time and expose such a person. God gives opportunities. He doesn't really like such bullies. Other than this of course, I think teasing is healthy enough. :)
@kalav56 (11502)
• India
8 Jan 10
Yes Vandana. Teasing is healthy but it has to be minus the vindictive element.Some people are very hurtful in the name of humour.Some people do not care if they hurt people.They just say anything and everything unintentionally.On the other hand harmles teasing is always taken in the right spirit by close friends and dear ones.What you had read and shared here has also brought in a new aspect.But occasionally, I have also reaised that when we get too familiar with some people we tend to take liberties and it may or may not be taken in the way it was intended.This would depend on a person's mood too.In a way, I feel at times that it is better to be safe than sorry.As for myself , I get more teased than how I do tease people.
@tawny_24 (351)
• United States
9 Jan 10
I totally agree with your assessment vandana. The litmus test is correct. I actually posted a topic a few days ago about this exact experience, from someone I recently added on Facebook. If someone doesn't act surprised that they offended you and instead starts groveling it is because they know they are wrong. I always see people as having the same body language as a doggy that got caught digging in the trash when noone was looking. Tail between the legs trying to look pathetic in order to gain sympathy. But with people it is just a front. At least a doggy can be corrected and improve. Most people with the issue of belittling others need to take several large doses of thier own medicine in order to learn, if they do at all.
@srganesh (6349)
• India
11 Jan 10
Yes!We like to tease and get teased among best friends circle.That really shows the intimacy of any relationship.it is quite natural to tease our relatives too in a function or festival gatherings.but we should always know the limits and should not exceed that.A person who use to tease without awareness of the environment will be disliked by all.
@kalav56 (11502)
• India
11 Jan 10
Definitely.Knowing one's limits is very important srganesh and not only others would dislike this it would spoil relationships .THanks for the participation.
@Buchi_bulla (8299)
• India
9 Jan 10
With close people, who understand us properly, we can joke but I do not think anyone will like teasing. Evenif we take it lightly, others may think bad and degraded about the person on whom teasing was made. So I never tease anyone, even for fun.
@kalav56 (11502)
• India
11 Jan 10
It is a very valid point Buchibullah.Soemtimes, the same thing said by someone not too close to us is likely to hurt us though we won't mind hearing it from our dearest ones.
@kiran8 (12839)
• Mangalore, India
8 Jan 10
Hi kala, I too like to tease some one I feel very close to. I am constsntly teasing my son about his friends esp girls and also my younger daughter...they too tease me a lot, my son teases me about my weight. He in fact calls me chubby mummy LOL,no matter how much they tease me I never get irritate or angry and it is the same with them....I do it with my sister as well. But I can never do it with others because I do not feel that close to anyone else....I guess it is the comfort level that is important....all the best kala, your discussions are always intersting and something to look forward to, have a great evening
@kalav56 (11502)
• India
8 Jan 10
With children it is always different.My son and husband keep teasing me; I do not do it too mch to outsiders becasue as you rightly pointed out we do not feel close to many.EVen wiht siblings, I have found thta maintaining a respectable distance is still healthy with all the closeness and friendliness.As we grow older we tend to become more sensitive and if we are younger the problem is even greater.Thank you Kiran for that sweet compliment.