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What's the difference between bullying and teasing?

264 Answers
Last Updated: 11/10/2021 at 6:41am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Jill Kapil, PsyD


I have over 8 years of clinical experience, specialize in anxiety, and am passionate about my work. My approach is collaborative, empathic, supportive, and goal-oriented.

Top Rated Answers
March 31st, 2021 5:03pm
Verbal bullying is different from teasing. It’s not done to make friends, or to relate to someone. Just the opposite: The goal is to embarrass the victim and make the bully look better and stronger. The tricky thing is that bullying may start out as teasing. But when it’s done over and over and is meant to be hurtful or threatening, it becomes bullying. Verbal bullying includes calling a victim names, taunting, and sexual harassment. It can happen in person, through texting, and online through social media and email. Bullying also involves an imbalance of power. Bullying victims usually don’t provoke it. Rather, kids may not be able to defend themselves because of their physical size, or because of their social position in school or in a group. And if a victim gets upset, bullies typically don’t stop. The bullying may even get worse. Unlike kids who are being bullied, kids who are being teased can influence whether it continues or ends. If they get upset, the teaser usually stops.
April 22nd, 2021 2:03pm
Teasing is poking fun at someone, calling them a name maybe once or twice, saying something negative about them one time. Teasing can also be friendly such as a joke between friends. Bullying is consistent, and persists over a long period of time, have a very negative impact on the person being bullied. This would be being called names every day, despite asking people to stop, being told you are fat or ugly all the time. If you are being bullied, please go to a teacher or other trusted adult so that it will stop. Teasing can quickly turn into bullying if it continues. If someone is teasing you and you don’t like it, ask them to stop, and if it continues, go to an adult.
May 8th, 2021 12:45pm
With bullying, the person's goal is to inflict pain or some form of harm on the victim. Also, there is a power imbalance between the victim and the bully; the bully is seemingly more powerful. However, this is not the case with teasing. With teasing, it is more playful and there is no power imbalance; you are both on the same level. Sometimes with bullying, manipulation can be involved but this is not the case with teasing. Overall, with bullying, the victim would not like it and would not want to be in that situation. However, with teasing, both parties are okay with it. Additionally, most times bullying occurs frequently however, teasing doesn't need to be as frequent as bullying and harmful.
May 9th, 2021 5:09am
Teasing is something that occurs among friends while bullying is something that hurts the other person. Teasing is playful banter among friends but bullying involves negative feelings and attitude against something. Sometimes a person may think they are teasing another person but it may result in bullying if it continues in a negative situation. It is important to make sure the other person isn't feeling negative about themselves or the other person isn't abusing the other person. Teasing although is playful can lead to bullying which is always important to make sure that your friend or colleague isn't being hurt by your words
May 12th, 2021 8:32pm
I think it depends on both the bullier/teasers intention as well as the victim's experience. Is it bullying if someone just wanted to tease and make a bit of fun but it crosses a limit for the victim that feels bullied by it? Or is it bullying if the person doing it wants to make the other person feel bad but they still think it's just a joke? It think it definitely is bullying if someone wants to make others purposely feel bad and achieves that by their action but it is a fluid transition from teasing to bullying and it can be bullying even if just one of the two is given.
May 19th, 2021 1:15am
the difference between bullying & teasing; teasing is a form of communication, whilst bullying is meant to hurt others. various people tease one another to build a strong bond & to make new friends. bullying CAN start off as teasing, which can then lead to hurtful messages. bullying can occur through either face-to-face, or online ( cyberbullying ). several kids have trouble making friends, which can then end up w/ them putting up w/ teasing that hurts to 'fit in,' or, 'be noticed.' overall, you have to ask yourself whether or not you're comfortable w/ teasing. if not, politely to ask them to stop. you'll figure out that they've been doing it to get to your head if they continue.
May 19th, 2021 10:01am
Teasing is meant to be playful and harmless in a petty or annoying way but bullying on the other hand is meant to hurt you and intimidate you because you are perceived as little or vulnerable and unable to fight back. I have been teased playfully in a way that was funny to me but I have also been bullied and made to feel endangered. If you feel like someone is tormenting or oppressing you because you are seen as a minority. Sometimes, teasing can be frustrating and hurtful when it is a personal joke that you don't find funny. People bully because they are hurt and want to inflict pain on others and because you have something they don't have.
May 28th, 2021 11:58pm
The most important difference, in my experience, between bullying and teasing is how the person who is being targeted is taking it. For some people, certain behaviors might be brushed off as teasing and simply an annoyance, while it may cause genuine harm to some others who are more "sensitive". Of course, sensitivity is entirely relative, so it is important to always keep in the back of your mind that you have not lived anyone else's experience, and that what you think is fine could easily cross a line into bullying without you realizing. That's why it is vital to respect anyone else's boundaries, regardless of how you believe your own actions should have been perceived.
June 4th, 2021 8:49am
Teasing and bullying are 2 different things... Teasing is when both sides are having fun and no one is getting hurt... Bullying is when someone is getting hurt whether be it physically, mentally, or emotionally... Bullying can cause various mental problems such as stress, anxiety and etc. It can also cause serious mental problems that can harm a person's health and life... While teasing is supposedly just for fun and harmless when done wrongly it can sometimes hurt people unconsciously and lead to bullying... They're not the same but somehow connected... I would avoid both to lessen the risk of hurting anyone...
July 6th, 2021 3:11am
Bullying is been habitually cruel, insulting or even threaten to others who may appear smaller or vulnerable. Bullying can have severe effects on the person receiving it (victim). They may experience addictions to drug or alcohol as they sometimes may use it as an outlet to get away or block out the negativity, victims of bullying can also experience lack of self esteem and relationship issues. Teasing is basically making fun of someone in a playful manner or with the intent to provoke. Although not very different from bullying because it can be hurtful and can be irritating or annoying. It can have various effects depending on the context in which it is used.
July 9th, 2021 8:13pm
Teasing Isn’t intended to hurt the other person Bullying Is intended to hurt the other person emotionally or physically Teasing pokes fun in a lighthearted way and maintains the dignity of everyone involved. Bullying Involves humiliating, cruel, demeaning, or bigoted comments thinly disguised as jokes Teasing allows the teaser and person teased to trade roles. Bullying is based on an imbalance of power and is one-sided. The bully does all the taunting. Teasing is meant for both parties to laugh. In bullying laughter is directed at the target, not with the target. Teasing is only a small part of the activities shared by friends Bullying is the main interaction between bully and victim. Teasing stops when the person being teased becomes upset or says ‘Stop’ Bullying continues especially when the target becomes distressed or says ‘Stop’
July 15th, 2021 12:19pm
This line is an easy one to cross. Bullying is when we take joy in someone’s pain and humiliation, using personal things or situations against them, seeing their hurt and pain and continuing with our behaviour. Teasing is meant as play. Typically teasing is done with no ill intentions, and the person you are teasing isn’t bothered and likely playing along. We may tease a sibling or spouse, maybe joke about something that isn’t of any real importance and would cause no feelings of embarrassment or shame. We have to be empathetic towards the people we “tease”, paying close attention to their body language, eye movements or comments. If you see what you are saying/doing is in any way making the other person uncomfortable, stop. And be sure that what you do say and what you are teasing about is of no importance to you or the person you are teasing. You never want to put that person on the spot, or make them feel uncomfortable
July 15th, 2021 9:21pm
Teasing and bullying often get misinterpreted, teasing can be a form of bullying, flirting, friendliness, etc. Bullying can be physical (pushing, shoving, etc) verbal (calling names, threats, harassment, social (spreading rumors, exclusion, etc.), and cyber (which is bullying online). Teasing is usually verbal and it’s used to make someone feel bad about themselves like height or weight. This teasing is usually noticeable but it can get more complex. Flirting, being friendly, etc. in the form of teasing is usually in a joking matter and not supposed to harm your feelings but if it does then you should probably talk to the person who did it and tell them.
July 16th, 2021 8:57pm
Bullying is simply to harm or intimidate someone. While teasing is making fun of someone in an unpleasing way. In my own terms Bullying is more dangerous or rather has more consequences emotionally and mentally to the victim more than the way teasing does. Going further; for example: teasing can be stop or interrupted with retaliation, that is if the victim can't take it anymore or if the word gets the victim upset. while bullying is a different case because in the scenario you are completing powerless, the option of retaliation is no longer and option but a liability
July 29th, 2021 4:25am
Teasing is usually intended to be playful, and often occurs between friends. Bullying is intended to hurt. If it is something that happens once and that you can laugh off easily it is teasing. But it becomes bullying when you feel hurt or embarrassed, and the bully won't stop and apologize when you tell them you feel uncomfortable. If someone is threatening you or calling you names repeatedly, that is bullying, whether it's online or to your face. You should also make sure you know the difference between bullying and harassment, hate crime, etc, so you know how to deal with your situation correctly if you believe you are being bullied.
August 6th, 2021 7:24am
The difference between teasing and bullying: Teasing is a way to provoke a response from another person In a playful way, in order to get positive attention from the one who is being teased. It has good intentions. Bullying on the other hand is not playful, it can be aggressive, with the intention to hirt, hence damaging to the person who is bullied. It can lead to (severe) issues in that moment as well as later in life. A bullier tries to diminish another person in a possible harmful way to make him/herself look better, bigger, smarter. Wanting attention and more power and control at the cost of others due to low self esteem.
August 27th, 2021 4:42pm
Bullying and teasing are often confused with each other. Bullying is when someone does something repeatedly with the intention to hurt the other person. Teasing is when someone jokes around with another person once or sometimes. It is not a joke created to intentionally hurt the other person but more so to joke around. Teasing does not mean one person hates the other, nor does it mean they want to hurt the other person. Bullying is done to hurt the other person's feelings or hurt them physically. It is also done with the intention of repeating those same actions even though it hurts another person.
September 8th, 2021 2:19pm
Teasing is something small. Normally by a group of friends who mean well and if you took it the wrong way would care. It is something that happens every once in a while. The friends may do it for a small laugh, but not to hurt you. However, bullying can be an every day thing. It can make the victim feel hurt and upset. The bully wouldn't care about your feelings. They do it for a reaction. They normally want to see you hurt. If being bullied, talk to someone. You are not weak asking for help, you are human. No one should go through it alone.
September 19th, 2021 7:05pm
Typically the difference is intent. Teasing is usually meant in a non-harmful manner between equals, while bullying has harmful intent and normally has a power imbalance, whether recognized or not. If you have to ask yourself the distinction between the two, then either way you should talk about it to either the person in question or a trusted individual. Bullying is also defined as repetitive. If you are being teased, have asked it to stop, and it continues and causes physical/mental-emotional harm, then it would qualify as bullying. The definitions for both of these terms can vary greatly, so if looking for a solution with intervention, you should look up the specific definitions in your area.
September 25th, 2021 10:28pm
The difference between bullying and teasing is a thin line in the sand. In my own experiences, I've found it never really matters what the intent of the person doing the bullying/teasing is, it depends on how the person on the other end feels. If the topic of the conversation is hurtful for them, the person being bullied/teased will feel personally attacked and threatened. To bully is to harm, intimidate, or coerce. To tease is to intended to provoke or make fun of someone in a playful way. The difference lies within how the receiver interprets the message of the sender. I know words can be very painful, so I always choose to be careful with what I say.
October 28th, 2021 3:04pm
Teasing is ofte light-hearted joked about superficial things. For example, jokes about your hair or whatever you're wearing. What is important to remember when differentiating teasing from bullying is that it is said in jest, not yelled at or said in a way that is clearly malicious. Additionally, someone teasing will stop if you make them aware that you are uncomfortable with their jokes. A bully, on the other hand, does not respect you and regard the way you feel. Bullying is also repetitive; teasing would be from time to time, but a bully would put you down the vast majority of the time you interact. If you feel burdened by bullying, don't hesitate to reach out to a licensed therapist for help.
October 28th, 2021 3:25pm
Bullying is teasing gone too far. It's rooted in hate or spite, sometimes even in fear. I've been bullied before, and the pain stays with you for years. I've been hit with metal thermoses, had my locker trashed, been called slurs, and mocked to no end over who I am and how I cope with my disabilities. "Teasing", while it can be hurtful, it's usually not with malicious intent behind it. Schools will preach anti bullying, and do nothing about it. Teasing is often more noticed than bullying. Neither of them are pleasant to experience in the end.
November 4th, 2021 9:18am
Things that are considered as teasing is only if the person receiving it finds it funny and that they themselves know that it's a joke and they are comfortable and okay with being teased. Bullying is when the person receiving it starts to feel annoyed and hurt. When words and actions start to hurt the person physically, psychologically and emotionally. When the person doesn't think that it is a joke and starts asking people to stop, that is bullying. Bullying hurts more so than teasing because it's not funny. Bullying can cause the person to suffer from traumas, panic attacks and social anxiety. Bullying is never right.
November 10th, 2021 6:41am
Teasing happens between friends. It is just a form of trying to joke to make our circle of friends happy but if the teasing gets out of hand that is the time it turns to bullying. Bullying is a serious topic that everyone must be aware of. You should take note that if someone’s trying to make fun of your physical appearance, by the way you dress, your hairstyle or etc that is bullying already. No one deserves to be bullied, we have differences that make us special and unique. We should all learn to embrace diversity. If you feel you’re being bullied, immediately report it to a superior or to anyone in your family. Your feelings are valid. No need to be afraid, because we all deserve peace of mind.