We’ve all teased with our friends: poked fun at them for something stupid they’ve done, shoved them a little bit, pushed them into a pool, maybe even tussled with our siblings or lightly slapped their shoulder. In some extreme cases we might have even punched them, pinched them or kicked them. Perhaps it was when we were younger and did not know better, or maybe even recently. Some people call it rough-housing, but what is it really?
Depending on how you were raised, you might never have thought to hurt someone in the ways I’ve described above. On the other hand, you might have done a few of the things that were not as intense as punching or kicking just as recent as yesterday.
You might be asking, “What does it matter? It was all in good fun.” But the point is that it might not always be in good fun, especially in public. Our friends on the receiving end of the hurt might be laughing because they do not want to upset those that are inflicting harm on them. On the other hand, they might be laughing over confusion at the sudden roughness of their friend’s “love.” This is not something on which a friendship should be based. Rather, it should be based on mutual love and care for one another (platonic of course).
There are many other reasons not to hurt your friends in this manner. Not only are you conditioning each other into thinking that this is “normal,” but you might be following in the footsteps of an abuser.
You may not mean to do it with the intention to abuse your friend, but harming them might make them think that this is normal for everyone, a universal experience, leading them to riskier actions. This could lead them towards becoming an abuser. This is not to say that all people become abusers, or that they will become victims of such, but you also have to consider who is watching from the outside.
Should a child look into your friendship and see through you that hitting and senseless teasing is normal, they might follow into these footsteps of hitting and teasing their friends without understanding the repercussions of such actions. Children do not understand, so if you want to still hit and tease your friends, do not do it in front of any kids.
At the end of the day, I cannot control what you do with your friends and how you treat them. But careful consideration should go into how you treat these friends, you genuinely enjoy their presence or do you just enjoy having a punching bag around.
Please note that all opinion columns in The Journal reflect the individual author’s own perspectives on a topic, and the views and opinions expressed in these columns do not necessarily represent those of The Journal.