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Good is a word that has many different definitions. In this context, “good” can be defined as something that is good for survival of the species. Read more in detail here: good synonyms.

Illustration of men teasing each other.

Nowadays, teasing is nearly totally associated with negative meanings. It’s the term that sad-faced parents use to describe their child’s misfortune: “Jimmy is being tormented at school.” It is often linked to bullying. It is seen as a dividing manner of expression.

Teasing, on the other hand, has long been used to draw people together, particularly in honor cultures and among males. It is a paradoxical act that simultaneously hurts and strengthens; reinforces hierarchy while also leveling it; fosters compliance while also promoting autonomy; and makes a man sensitive to shame but not too sensitive. “Teasing and light humiliation are among the most significant socialization strategies of society,” Carlin Barton argues in Roman Honor.

We’ll go over how teasing generates these advantages, as well as the circumstances that must be met for teasing to act as a healthy sort of “aggressive nurturing” that strengthens ties rather than a destructive force that undermines them, in the sections below.

As a Prompt for Personal Development, Teasing

We tend to think about shame in the same way we think of teasing these days, thinking that all kinds of it are horrible and that no one should ever be disgraced.

Shame, on the other hand, may be a powerful motivator for constructive action.

While it is undesirable to feel shame for things one cannot control or that are unworthy of a shameful reaction, it is appropriate to experience a pinch of guilt when you fall short of society’s, your family’s, and your own respectable standards.

The key to shame is dosage: too much shame is poisonous and debilitating, while a little amount of shame motivates people to take action.

Healthy teasing inflicts just the proper amount of embarrassment.

We still use the term “tease out” since the word teasing stems from ancient phrases for tugging apart strands. Healthy vocalized teasing exposes realities about a person’s flaws in a humorous, good-natured manner. When a joke is delivered well, a guy is not crushed by it, and he does not feel the need to become enraged and defensive; he laughs in the moment, but still understands the joke’s underlying meaning. He has the room to internalize the message and determine how to improve the area where he was mocked since he doesn’t feel immediately assaulted.

Teasing as a kind of self-control training

A certain toughening of the mental hide is a greater safeguard than the law could ever be against a major portion of the frictions, irritations, and clashes of temperaments that come with involvement in communal life. –Calvert Magruder, law professor

The masculine rule of emotional stoicism — retaining a stiff upper lip — is supposed to have evolved for unknown, random reasons. However, it sprang directly from men’s universal and everlasting function as guardians. Breaking down, falling apart in the midst of combat — giving in to either paralyzing terror or thoughtless wrath — would spoil the fight’s result and imperil the lives of one’s allies.

As a result, young men from all cultures and eras were faced with obstacles that honed and tested their self-control. One of these “trials” was teasing. The ancient Spartans’ habit of syssitia — weekly meals — included a lot of mocking; the elder soldiers would pointly ridicule one other and invite young men over to the table to undergo some taunting from the company.


The rationale behind this custom was simple: if you couldn’t take a little scolding from your friends, how could you keep your cool in the face of humiliation from your adversaries? The taunts and insults of strangers and opponents numbed and inured young men to the taunts and insults of their friends.

Teasing as a Group Bond Solidifier 

It was like being nude together in the baths or at the gym — good teasing conveyed a readiness to be connected to one another. Carlin Barton (Carlin Barton) 

We usually consider of teasing as a one-way interaction between the teaser and the teased: the teaser is the performer, and the teased is the passive receiver (or even victim). In the instance of harmful teasing, this is exactly the relationship that occurs.

Healthy teasing, on the other hand, takes place in a two-way, reciprocal connection that fosters mutual trust.

Teasing may be thought of as a moderate type of hazing (yet another word for which we moderns have trouble imagining positive connotations). It often promotes a pecking order, whether explicit or tacit. When a member of a group recognises this hierarchy and proves his devotion to the group and allegiance to its ideals by taking mocking and feeling remorse for the shortcomings implied by such ribbing, members of the group are more likely to trust him.

By disclosing his flaws in the first place, the individual demonstrates that he trusts the other members of the group. He believes that the others will play with these flaws, but not in a manner that does severe harm — that they will make jokes, but not go too far with them. “I could ruin you with my words — I know which buttons to hit — but I won’t,” the teaser says, establishing his worthiness for the trust.

According to Barton, the teased surrendered a piece of himself to the teaser, who held that piece as a loan; the teaser took a piece of someone’s humanity as “a trust that they needed to value, protect, and give back.” “Allowing someone to tease you was like giving your home to a visitor; if the teaser accepted your hospitality as a gift, then you, the teased, were the richer for it,” says the author.

Because proper teasing always necessitates a period of reintegration, it’s richer. That is, teasing briefly isolates the teased from the group, but this temporary separation is followed by group behaviors that reintegrate him back into the group. “We’re aware of your imperfections, but don’t mind,” the message says. We’re aware of your flaws, yet we still like you. You may have fallen short, but you’re still a part of the family.”

Healthy teasing, on the other hand, rather than being ostracizing, helps one feel more recognized and appreciated. The release of having one’s humiliating flaws recognized and enjoyed is a liberation for the teased. What may seem to be an insult really means, “Hey, you’re OK.”

Teasing is not only a two-way street for establishing mutual trust, but it is also one in which the “traffic” goes in an unpredictable direction.


“Teasing and mild shaming are among the most significant socialization processes of society,” according to Barton, “given that trust is there and the teaser is willing to switch roles with the teased.” Sometimes it’s someone else who makes a mistake and gets chastised, and sometimes it’s you; and you can’t be eager to dole it out while refusing to accept it. When teasing can be offered both up and down in hierarchical organizations, it shows reciprocal trust and reverence on the side of superiors; the officer can tease his soldiers, and they can tease him back; the teacher can tease his pupils, and they can tease him back.

Those who have missed the essential reciprocity of teasing — including the issuing of apparently offensive nicknames — have frequently considered the key role of teasing in male socialization perplexing, if not toxically obnoxious. True fellowship emerges through the exchange of good-natured insults.

“When reassurance and reintegration are part of the process, mocking and light shaming are not simply ways of communication, but forms of communion,” writes Barton.

Teasing as a Means of Increasing Autonomy

Modern Westerners are terrified of shame feelings and intolerant of their expression; as a consequence, the dread of shame exacerbates the shame experience. Modern Westerners are embarrassed of their shame, and as a result, they get sucked into a shame spiral. Carlin Barton (Carlin Barton)

Learning to take teasing ironically enhances one’s capacity to depart from collective opinion while signaling one’s desire to be accepted and readiness to conform to a group.

As previously said, teasing is a kind of training on how to manage shame so that it does not become overpowering.

Those who cannot cope with even minor shame, who find it overpowering, are more inclined to go to any length to escape it, even complying at all costs. They might easily be “shamed into behaving horribly,” as Barton puts it.

Ironically, people who are most prone to acute shame and, as a result, compliance, are also the least able to identify this truth, since they are unable to manage the humiliation of being highly sensitive to shame.

This was proved in Solomon Asch’s renowned studies, in which participants in a group were asked to assess the length of particular lines and were persuaded to choose the erroneous answer by study confederates who were placed in the group and purposefully provided false responses. When the study’s real participants were informed they had been persuaded by the confederates, however, they tended to reply with strong denial, according to Barton:

When presented with the goal of the test, individuals who had most often succumbed to the urge to merge invisibly into the group were prone to deny or drastically minimize the amount of their cooperation and exaggerate their independence, according to Asch. In other words, individuals who were most sensitive to shame were also the ones who were most inclined to deny feeling guilty at all and assert their autonomy. Those who couldn’t face the humiliation of exclusion couldn’t stand the humiliation of inadequacy suggested by their complicity. The respondents who most dreaded and rejected the feeling of shame were the least capable of behaving in line with their own will, according to Asch’s experiment and subsequent interviews with the subjects.


Being able to endure and accept a little amount of shame leads to more autonomy. And knowing how to tolerate a little mocking is a good way to develop this inoculation effect.

Why Do We Avoid Teasing?

Shame cannot be endured by someone who lacks trust. Carlin Barton (Carlin Barton)

Why, if teasing may have such positive, pro-social benefits, do we avoid it so much these days?

Most importantly, we lack the mutual trust that good teasing necessitates.

We don’t believe we can rely on the goodness of others.

The circle of distrust starts with our attempts to conceal our flaws as much as possible. We use social media to filter our lives, presenting only well managed versions of ourselves. We have less close, face-to-face connections in which we can let our guard down and reveal all of our true selves. We experience greater mental tension and humiliation surrounding our shortcomings because we hide them.

As a result, if someone teases us, they’re more than likely to be a member of our out-group, who haven’t earned the right to joke about our flaws or the decency to back off instead of going for the jugular; we inevitably take these jabs as true insults rather than loving mocking. It’s a kind of drive-by teasing that’s not accompanied by loving “reassurance and reintegration.” As a result, we associate teasing with asocial bullying.

Even if it’s a close friend taunting us, our flaws are so burdened with guilt, so hidden from view, that bringing them to light is excruciatingly painful. Even in a lighthearted manner, hearing our ugly secrets revealed makes us wince. Instead of seeing the joking as a sign of trust, we see it as a sign of hostility. We’re hurt, defensive, and enraged.

Simultaneously, the reciprocity of teasing is blocked, since when we tease this teaser, they respond in like!

We have brittle ties of mutual mistrust in lieu of the elastic links of mutual trust. Rather of exchanging humorous reprimands, we each adopted a stony, austere demeanor: “I don’t give a damn what anybody thinks of me.”

While this distance, these ego defenses, protect us from the sting of teasing and the refining scorch of shame, they deny us the relief that comes from letting go of the pretense of perfection, the release that comes from having one’s flaws spoken aloud — only to be met with mirthful laughter and an arm around the shoulder.



The “good noun” is a word that describes someone or something that is good. It can be used to describe anything from an animal to a person or place.

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