Difference Between Bullying and Teasing

Main Difference – Bullying vs Teasing                    

Although many people do not distinguish the difference between bullying and teasing, there is a distinct difference between the two actions. The main difference between bullying and teasing is that bullying is done intentionally to harm someone whereas teasing may be either positive or negative. The main intention behind teasing may be having fun.

What is Bullying

Bullying includes intentionally and repeatedly causing harm to others. This can take the form of verbal or non-verbal threats, insults, physical attacks, manipulation, blackmail, etc. Bullying can result in psychological abuse as well as physical abuse. There can be many reasons for bullying; jealousy, bully’s low self-esteem, inadequacy, narcissism can be some causes behind bullying.

Using media such as email, social media networking sites, instant messaging, etc. to threaten and intimidate people is known as cyber bullying. When a group of people gets together to bully someone, it is called a mobbing.

The main intention behind bullying is causing harm to someone; thus, it is always a malicious act. There are no positive forms of bullying; it is always negative.

Difference Between Bullying and Teasing

What is Teasing

Teasing is to laugh at and criticize someone in a way that is either friendly and playful or malicious and unkind. As this definition suggests, teasing can be either positive or negative. Teasing is a kind of social interaction; teasing between friends can be friendly and playful. This type of positive teasing can also teach children to accept constructive criticism. It can also be a way of bonding among a group of close friends.

Although teasing is considered to be harmless, it can have a major effect on the person who is being teased. In a victim’s mind, there might not be a difference between teasing and bullying. Moreover, negative teasing can result in bullying. Teasing may also depend on the reaction of the person who is being teased. If he accepts the teasing as a joke and laughs it off, the teasing may get stopped. Teasing may also stop when the teasers see the teased person getting upset. This happens because the intention of teasing is not hurting someone.

Main Difference - Bullying vs Teasing

Difference Between Bullying and Teasing


Bullying is the act of intentionally and repeatedly causing harm to others.

Teasing is to laugh at and criticize someone in a way that is either friendly and playful or malicious and unkind.

Positive vs Negative

Bullying is always negative.

Teasing can be positive.

Positive Features

Bullying doesn’t have any positive aspects.

Teasing can be a form of friendly interaction, and it can teach people to accept constructive criticism.


Bullying is always done with the intention of harming others.

Teasing is not always done with bad intentions.


Bullying often cannot be stopped by the victim’s reaction.

Teasing is often dependent on the reaction of the person being teased.Difference Between Bullying and Teasing - infographic

Image Courtesy:

“Teasing” by Brian Evans  via

“A female bully” by (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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