Two Bulls tussling and sizing each other up.
It wasn’t until years after the fact that I realized I’d spent the first dozen years of my adult life working in a verbally and mentally abusive work environment.
Time and distance had given me perspective.
There is a fine line between good-natured teasing vs using manipulation, hollering, and shame to control people.
As I was at the counter of the lumberyard this morning four guys from a former crew I worked with stepped into the showroom. I kept my eyes on Dana, the secretary as the boss and one of the other guys slid up on each side of me and started to heckle. I could tell Dana was getting irritated because the nonsense.
Have you ever been around a herd of cattle at feeding time? They push and butt, crowding the smaller and weaker cattle back from the bunk. That is what it felt like this morning at the store counter. Only I no longer automatically back out-of-the-way. Depending on the circumstances, I will as often as not, stay right where I’m at.
Turn the other cheek is not the only option in my relational tool bag.
Sometimes bullies will take that as a green light to continue. My favorite and #1 approach to a bad attitude from someone is my sense of humor. It has served me well numerous occasions. But throw a little alcohol into the mix (guys I’m dealing with/ not me) and it takes a little discernment to know whether to joke and banter or push back, occasionally, pretty hard.
I’d love to have a conversation here about dealing with mean-spirited teasing, at work, in your extended family, etc.
How do you decide when it has crossed the line from teasing to??
(I’m hesitant to call it abuse, but there’s definitely more going on that good natured banter)
How do you handle that sort of thing?