Teasing, Kidding, and Unsolicited Advice

At one time or another, most of us have been the brunt of a bad joke. Every school and workplace seems to have an evil jokester who uses what they call ‘humor’ to belittle, demean and injure others with unkind remarks.

Let’s be clear: You’re asking for trouble when you tease and kid. You might think it’s okay, and maybe that’s what you grew up with, but when you are “you-ing” other people, your fun is at their expense. You hurt others. They become cautious. Distance is created. And no one wins.

Stick to talking about your own experience and I promise you and others will feel more comfortable and open. For example, instead of saying “It looks like you got that outfit at the second hand store,” revert to silence or find something you like about what the other person is wearing or doing.

Your well-meaning, but unsolicited advice is equally problematic. Similar to teasing and kidding you’re focusing on the outside world rather than tending to your own back yard. What can you do instead? Let’s say your sister is about to do something you don’t approve of.  Here are your choices: ask AND receive permission before launching, remain silent, or speak up about yourself, saying something such as, “I’m afraid you’re going to get hurt if you date that guy, and I feel so bad when I see you get crushed.”

If your sister isn’t ready for or doesn’t want feedback, it’s counterproductive to offer it. If she declines your offer, let your pearls of wisdom go and accept that she’s responsible for her own happiness. Refocus on being happy yourself, appreciate what you like about her, and offer her unconditional support, regardless of her actions.

With teasing, kidding, and unsolicited advice, you’ll increase feelings of love if you turn your focus 180 degrees and when the urge arises, remind yourself something along the lines of: My focus is myself,” “We’re all on our own paths,” and I wish you well.

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