You can tease people all you want in areas of their strengths and confidence.
You cannot tease people without running the risk of pain and destructiveness if you tease them in their areas of weakness or self-consciousness or limitations. So, here is an example I use: The star athlete is almost down to the goal line, and he reaches back to catch the pass that is delivered to him perfectly, and he drops it. You can tease him about that. He’s not going to enjoy the teasing, but he’s a terrific athlete, and he can handle that.
When the brightest girl or boy in class fails to get the highest grade on the test, you can tease them about that, because it’s an area of their strength. Teasing can even be a motivation for working harder in that case.
But to tease people who are clumsy in their ability to be a really good ball player, or to tease people who are not overly endowed with academic ability about doing poorly, or being the slowest member of the class-that’s cruel and destructive. If we can’t be sure of someone’s strengths, we’d probably be better off if we didn’t tease at all.
Each of us needs to examine our conscience and see if there is any teasing in our lives that really hurts people. Do we generate laughs when a crowd is around at other people’s expense? Do we make other people laugh by putting others on the verge of tears? An honest look might help.