It depends on your perspective.
We tend to have an old-fashioned view of bullying in our heads – whether we’re talking about what happens behind the shelter sheds or on social media. That’s especially true when we’re thinking about our own behaviour, because what seems like a harmless joke or playground rumbles to us can be deeply upsetting to the people we’re teasing or tripping.
Culture is important
If you’ve been watching Married at First Sight, you may have noticed the difference in the way Sarah and Telv’s families interact – and how that affects their relationship. Whenever there’s a problem, Sarah wants to talk about it there and then, until the air is clear. Telv nearly cancelled a family dinner because he didn’t want to argue in front of his mum. If someone’s getting upset at your behaviour, take a moment to think about where they’re coming from.
Who’s doing what
Friendships are always different. Some people laugh it off when you call them a bitch, while other people are deeply offended. The reverse is also true – picture each of your friends calling you a bitch. From some of them it would be a light joke. From others it would be a massive insult… or maybe even a compliment. Be aware of people’s personal lines, and fight the urge to cross them. Even if it seems very funny at the time.
Let’s go back to you being called a bitch. One person doing that might not be a big deal, but if everyone starts calling you bitch, and from now on your nickname is “Bitch”… that’s going to feel very different. It’s often tempting to keep a joke going that doesn’t seem that bad, or that your friend even laughed off at first, but again – keep the broader picture in mind and don’t be that bitch person.