By CHARIS QI
“You just got roasted!”
In today’s teen culture, this word is commonly used to describe when a person has been insulted thoroughly, and it seems as if roasting has become very ordinary in many friendships and relationships.
In other words, mutual disrespect between friends has become very common and existent in almost every friendship. Although this may not sound like a positive direction for worthwhile relationships to go, insults may actually be beneficial in developing meaningful bonds. Sometimes, mocking a friend may even signify a good friendship, because it shows that both friends know each other very well. Essentially, friends making fun of each other indicates that they are honest with each other. All in all, harmless teasing has always been and will always be an important aspect of friendships and relationships.
One reason for the importance of mutual disrespect is that the behavior may reveal an individual’s true personality. Through insults, the person may be less shy than what he or she appears to be. Furthermore, regardless of how harsh and cruel the affront may seem, at the end of the day, if two friends can still maintain their friendship, it shows the strong bond of their friendship. It demonstrates that they are willing to stay by each other’s side, because their friendship is stronger than insults that were not meant to be demeaning. Yet this logic works the other way, too. If one person in the friendship “quits” because of a small joke, it can indicate that this person is not a good friend because he or she is not willing to forgive easily.
Moreover, moderate, mutual disrespect defines the depth of the relationship. If two friends feel comfortable enough to be honest with each other, it means that the friendship is strong enough to withstand mockery, which translates to a deep and meaningful friendship. In fact, once friends start insulting each other, they have settled into the comfort zone of the friendship where they are comfortable around each other. The previous awkwardness that surrounded the friendship disappears.
For example, when I first met one of my good friends, both of us tried to be as nice and polite as possible. This resulted in awkwardness and discomfort whenever we talked, because both of us were still hesitant in openly showing our true selves. However, when we started teasing each other, we began to be more truthful, even if that meant making fun of each other.
Nevertheless, there are setbacks to the mutual disrespect. To some people, insults reveal how little you value them. These people think that insults come only from strangers or bullies— and not someone who is important or relevant. Because it is easy to get confused between real, demeaning insults and fun teasing, it is important to know the difference: demeaning insults will aim to continuously bring your self-esteem down, while fun teasing is usually amusing and short term.
Consequently, hurting a close friend’s feelings is the reason why mutual disrespect needs to be moderate, or as some would call it, “gentle roasting.” There is a major difference between funny, light-hearted roasting and bullying. Moderate, mutual disrespect is built on trust and loyalty, qualities of a good friendship.
Friends who insult each other trust that the other friend will not take the insult too deeply. When the insult is close to crossing the line or hurting feelings, a good friend know where to stop.
Ultimately, tolerable mutual disrespect should never take the place of the friendship itself. Even though insults are significant in a friendship, good friends will still spend some time together to have sincere or serious conversations.
In the end, at the most important or hard times, these close friends are still there for you. Beyond the fun and games, that is what ultimately counts.