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During class, many of my friends tease me about certain things. I am taking higher class, so I get teased about being young when I am with older students. I get teased about being nerdy/white. I pretend that these don't get to me but they do. I have even made fun of myself in these areas to go along with what they are saying.

If I were to blatantly tell them that what they are doing is hurtful I would seem like a hypocrite, because we all banter and make fun of each other. It also would put tension on our relationships. I wouldn't want them to feel on edge around me.

I want a way to subtly let them know I'm not ok with it without making them feel guilty. How can I tell my classmates I'm not ok with their teasing?

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    What type of school are you attending? What is the age bracket? Is there an anti-bullying protocol?
    – Bookeater
    Dec 17 '17 at 12:24
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    Knowing the age of the people involved would really affect how to answer this. I'm guessing age 14-18 from the way it's written??
    – trr
    Dec 17 '17 at 23:10
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It sounds like it's not intended to antagonise but to be friendly, and the people teasing just don't realise that the level of teasing is starting to annoy their friend.

If I have interpreted this correctly then the common advice people give for how to respond to bullying doesn't necessarily have to apply, because the people doing the teasing are your friends. As your friends they should be able to deal with a little bit of honesty from you now and again and are likely to be respectful.

Ways you could respond include:

  • Just don't laugh at as much and don't join in with it. Change topic of conversation. If they get the sense their jokes aren't appreciated anymore they may lose interest in them. You don't have to disapprove, just brush them aside a little quicker as if the jokes are getting a bit old.

  • If there's a day where there is quite a lot of joking around, maybe just quickly mention "guys, that's a bit much" or ask them to "cut it out". It's being direct but you're not being mean-spirited about it and you're not implying that you hold any grudge. Sure they won't expect it but should respect it if they're friends.

On the other hand if they continue doing it once you've shown that you are starting to not like it anymore, that's when it transitions from being a friendly tease toward bullying, which can happen even within friendship groups. If you find yourself in this situation you haven't done anything wrong by speaking up, it's their fault if they continue teasing you after you've suggested they cut it out.

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From an outsiders perspective, this sounds like the perfect time to show them what you're made of. They are probably collectively insecure that someone younger than them has already accomplished more than they have at that age, that's all.

Since you all banter together, I don't think it would be out of place to shut down those jokes by playfully poking that nerve on purpose! You could get away with retorting that you bet they didn't get ahead faster in school because they are lazy and repetitive (jokes about ethnicity and age are so obvious... ). Then you're someone to be reckoned with, because then they realize you're okay with using bigger guns. You also then stand your ground as someone who values being NOT lazy and NOT repetitive.

Every time they use those same jokes, you can just use it as ammo, as proof that they're repeating themselves again and ultimately being a joke themselves (my sadistic streak is really coming out wow). Then bam, they respect the crap out of you for being totally awesome and slay their butts at banter. In theory.

However this is definitely more provocative and offensive, and not what you asked for in your post. But it IS your trump card you can use at any time to shut down anyone, so just remember you have the perfect flexible defence for any bully type situation. So feel confident. Just don't become a bully yourself with it!

Alternately to approach this with more subtlety, I agree with the user who suggested body language and protests. You can also be dismissive and melt any joke by not being offended and saying that you are totally cool with those things about yourself, which to be honest are quite normal and unproblematic features of a person...

"If you have a problem with white, younger people, then North America is not for you" comes to mind!

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