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Relational bullying: Friendship or actual bullying?

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When you hang out with a group of friends, it’s pretty common for a few to give each other a hard time.

It’s generally perceived as good-natured ribbing, meant to be nothing more than a joke. But is it bullying hidden under the guise of friendship?

According to CNN, it’s called relational bullying and it’s extremely common.

The problem with relational bullying is that it’s harder to identify than traditional bullying.

It’s subtler than insults and punches between children who obviously don’t get along, said Lynn Bravewomon, coordinator of the Hayward Unified School District’s Safe and Inclusive Schools Program in California.

Relational bullying can vary from spreading rumors about someone to mocking performance in school or sports to poking fun at someone’s appearance.

Some are worried that relational bullying may be more harmful than standard bullying because it originates from someone the affected person trusts and considers a friend.

“It’s a painful bullying dynamic, fed by people with various levels of closeness and friendship through silence or encouragement,” said Bravewomon, who teaches bullying prevention strategies to educators and students.

Another problem with relational bullying is that a group can turn on one person in a very short amount of time, especially when it involves children or teenagers.

What do you think? Is relational bullying a concern or is it merely just the way friendships work?

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