My default setting is often teasing. It is how I show affection I often say. I tease about many topics and with many different people. This will not magically change, I am going to always tease. If it did change it would also probably worry at least a few people in my life. We all tease, it is a way to show affection, yet I’ve been doing it less lately. Two events recently happened that sort of reaffirmed the idea that maybe teasing can’t be the only way I show affection. That beyond that I need to take the time to compliment others.
The first was an old friend of mine. We don’t talk much anymore due to just moving on in our lives, but we still communicate at least through social media and I do like to know that her life is going well. She moved to California which many of you may or may not know is a fairly vain place. Now without digressing too much I don’t care if people are vain. If you want to care about your looks power to you, as long as you aren’t insulting to others. California is a state with a lot of vanity, it’s the way it is. People like to look good, and put a lot of time and effort into it (especially in the southern half of the state). The girl I know commented on how attractive everyone was there. Most of the comments are what I would have done years ago, teasing comments about “well why are you there” and stuff. My comment was “oh, then you must fit right in”. She is a lovely person so why the hell not? Her response was very positive, and she said how it made her feel good (which was in fact at least in part my goal).
Now, I am not going to say the other people don’t care about her or were trying to make her feel bad. They do and they weren’t. However, there was something unsettling about the whole experience for me. It made me wonder not only in this case, but in cases in the past, how many times a friend of mine needed to feel good when they made comments and I teased them. How many times were they feeling slightly insecure and I jumped on the “lol” band wagon and didn’t give them some reassurance that they didn’t even know they were seeking? Or beyond that, how many chances I have had to brighten someone’s day with a simple thought or comment but haven’t? Haven’t expressed the positive things I have to say to my friends, my family, those I care for?
I don’t believe this girl was fishing for compliments, she’s not the type to do that. But we do still like to receive them. Reminders that others see our beauty, intelligence, find us funny, care about us at all. Yet that’s not what we always give those around us.
The other experience was with my mother. I teased her and she reacted rather strongly to it. She admitted that it wasn’t really about my teasing but other things, but the teasing was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Now my mother is more sensitive than most (it’s where I get it from), but it did beg the other question. How many times has my teasing stuck with someone and actually hurt them. It’s easy to say, “Oh, I am not laughing at you but with you”, but it’s not always possible to know that is the case.
Maybe a friend was having a bad day and I was my usual snarky self, and something I said stuck with them and made it worse. Maybe my husband was feeling down about himself and I made a joke, and it just made him feel worse? How many times have those that I care for thought they were just joking around with me, but they actually really hurt me?
Again, I am not saying all teasing is bad. It is if you mean it with malice, don’t be a dick. But teasing is something we do with our friends. Hell, come by any one of my streams and you will see a lot of teasing back and forth. As I said, it’s become my default setting less and less over the years, and honestly I’m only seeing that as a good thing. I will never stop joking around or friendly teasing, but it feels much better to have my default setting be to say something nice than to make a teasing joke.
Why shouldn’t my friend know that she fits in just fine in a place filled with beautiful people? Why did so few think that might be the right thing to say? Why did I tease my mom? I didn’t know she was having a hard time, but still, I do know that she is sensitive and easy to push (again this is not me insulting my mother I am the same way). Why don’t I hand out random compliments more often? I think I will make the effort to be better at this. To be better to those around me. They might just need to hear how lovely they look some day, or how much they brighten the days of those around them by simply being.
And as has been a reoccurring theme with my blog lately, if I am going to be more positive for myself I want to be more positive for others as well. Yes, I will always show a bit of my love with teasing, but I want to show a lot more of it with other actions.