If you want a quick and easy way to put some fire into your relationship, amp up the teasing. It’s a great way to build attraction and can prove to be very beneficial for your relationship overall. “Being playful is such an important part of a relationship,” Julienne Derichs, a licensed marriage and family therapist with Couples Counseling Today tells Bustle. “It helps couples connect, de-stress, and it acts an important repair technique when couples are feeling tense over conflict. Laughter and teasing can help deescalate the conflict and help you remember that you actually like each other.”
In other words, it can help bring you back to a place of positivity after falling into the drama trap. In the book Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, psychology professor Dacher Keltner of the University of California, Berkeley conducted a study of couples and found those who were the most satisfied in their relationships knew how to playfully tease their partners. Couples who knew how to tease each other were happier, dealt with conflicts much better, and were more likely to stay together. So, it’s definitely something to consider doing.
But, of course, it’s important to be careful and smart. “Different people react to teasing in different ways and it is very easy to press someone's buttons if you are not careful,” author of The Relationship Fix: Dr. Jenn’s 6-step Guide to Improving Communication, Connection & Intimacy, Dr. Jenn Mann tells Bustle. “Partners share very vulnerable and private things with one another that should never be used when it comes to teasing. Men often tease each other in their friendships. But the kind of teasing that works between men, does not work well with the women.”
According to Dr. Mann, the best kind of teasing is “sensitive to the other person’s vulnerabilities but shows him or her that you really see him/her, understand his or her quirks and views on the world.” That’s the kind of teasing that creates connection instead of hurt feelings and disconnection. “Stay away from things you know to be your partner's insecurities, family vulnerabilities, and things that your partner may feel shame around,” Dr. Mann says. “Make sure that you are not using teasing in a passive aggressive or hurtful way.”
So there’s definitely a fine line between fun and playful and mean and hurtful. “Teasing your partner can be great for your relationship because it builds a playful rapport,” San Francisco-based matchmaker with Three Day Rule, Allison Gerrits tells Bustle. "But it's important to make sure the teasing isn't one-sided or too critical. If there are bigger issues that need to be addressed, have a clear and more direct conversation. Don't let teasing become a passive aggressive way to talk things out."
According to Gerrits, here are some dos and don'ts for teasing your partner:
1. Play Off Inside Jokes
2. Keep It Light And Playful
3. Make Sure To Give It Back To Your Partner
4. Tease But Offer A Solution
For instance, if your partner always forgets their keys, give them a place to put them and form a habit.
5. Don't Make Fun Of Character Flaws Or Sore Spots
6. Don't Over-Do It
Teasing is fun but we've all been there when it goes too far.
7. Don't Do It All The Time
You need to have some other substance to your relationship.
8. Don't Take It Too Seriously
“Teasing is great because it shows that you really know your partner inside and out,” Gerrits says. “You can show them that you love their greatest attributes and biggest flaws equally. Not taking yourself or your partner too seriously goes a long way in establishing a great foundation in your relationship.”
Relationships should be fun. So don't take things too seriously, enjoy your partner, and don't be afraid to get a little playful.
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