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I was just reading an article someone posted about how an employee of a television show was constantly teased and berated at work. It got me to thinking about how people engage in “good-natured ribbing” and “innocent jokes” that are anything but.
Insulting how someone looks, what clothes they wear, their accent and other things like that are not fun. They’re not cute. They’re not good-natured. They’re mean and unnecessary. There are some small occasions when you have a really close relationship with someone and you can make jokes and they know for certain that there’s no harm meant, but in most cases, it’s not a good idea.
Why do you think so many people commit suicide? Often it’s because of bullying or comments that are made to them by their peers. If you’re constantly downing people, it’s going to hurt them. Not everyone out there has evolved to the point that they can brush those things off. Many people can be deeply hurt, especially when what you’re harassing them about is beyond their control, like being gay or having cheap clothes because they’re poor.
Don’t tease people. Just put that into your mind and make it a way of life. Even if you are tough enough to handle it, don’t assume that others are. Really think about how your words might hurt someone. You can cut people so deeply with words. Your “joking” may end up costing a life. Think about that.
Also, don’t tell people that they just need to “toughen up” or whatever. Yes, people need to learn to put less value in the words of others and have their own self-esteem and self-respect. That’s something we all need to learn. However, it is still your responsibility to not treat people badly. It isn’t funny or cute to verbally abuse people. And yes, calling someone “Big Bird” or “four eyes” is verbal abuse.
Do you stop and think about how your words affect others? Do you think teasing is harmless or harmful?