I was just joking. It is the most common response that I get from my middle school students when I confront them about being unkind to others. Sure there is a difference between being mean and bullying, but being mean is practice for becoming a bully, and if you don't want to become a bully, we shouldn't practice these bad habits. It is so important that we reframe the idea of joking. Joking is something that the two people both enjoy, but in contrast, being mean and bullying are when one party wishes it would stop.
[Source: Buckfire and Buckfire.com]