Remember when we were children and our parents would console us over being pushed on the playground or teased by a classmate? They would always give that same, stale answer: “They are only doing it because the like you.” Well, now that we are grown up, have things really changed? Or are we still teasing the ones we like?

I realized that some of us do not grow out of the bullying stage once we become an adult. We continue to tease, torment, and mock those we are interested it.  Although, now it isn’t called bullying – it’s called flirting. And flirting is a tactic we all use in the dating game.

If you really take a moment to think about our actions with the ones we like, you will notice it.. We make comments to someone, teasing them about their new haircut or outfit and giving them a hard time with comments consumed with sarcasm. The banter goes back and forth and an outsider would conclude that those two people despise each other, when in reality, it is just the opposite.

We may not be spending time in a sandbox or playground, but the actions are all the same. Life has become the new playground and our office is the sandbox. Everything is the same except we don’t get a juice box and love lesson from our parents anymore while they kiss our bruises and mend our hearts. We are now alone to do all the deciphering.

So, why are we still showing affection like this?

Well, one reason is because us, the “bully”, doesn’t want to our true feelings towards the other person, so we tease and make jokes at their expense to not come off vulnerable. Sometimes people don’t like putting themselves out there, and this is a way to hide the shyness and the possibilities of rejection by coming out and just sending a clear (albeit untrue) message that you dislike this person.

This is a definite method of adult flirting, and one that’s abundant with singles. I don’t know why or how, but it makes people that much more attracted to them. Don’t we always want the ones who are mean to us?  Aren’t we always attracted to the ones who make things a challenge? Whenever someone comes outright and says, “Hey, I like you” we get freaked out, or bored. Playing this game keeps things interesting.

I believe that yes, some of us have grown up and know the right and correct way to attract the opposite (and same) sex with romance, dignity, and self-respect, while some of us haven’t changed since recess. And probably, some of us never will.