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Are We Meaner to People We Know and Love?

Even Gage Edward is confused by how Jeff Lewis is treating one new employee on Flipping Out.

What Does Gage Find Unattractive About Jeff?

Jeff Lewis is known for being blunt. But his employees were recently left wondering why he has such an apparent soft spot for his underling Frankie, who he sends sweet texts and lets get away with more.

"He gives Frankie a long leash and treats him differently. Jeff's really soft on him," Megan Weaver says.

(See for yourself in the clip above.)

The behavior is unusual for the Flipping Out designer, whose management style tends to be biting, even to those he loves the most. And it's left even his partner, Gage Edward, confused by the "coddling" that he sees happening.

So is it true that we are often meaner to the people we know and love? Research neuroscientist Dr. Nicole Avena tells Personal Space, yes, and it's simply because we can be. 

"We are sometimes mean to the ones we love because we can be," she explains. "We can be our true self around people that we love, and don’t have to pretend to be happy all of the time."

There is also the assumption that the ones we love will have a higher tolerance for our behavior.

"If we love someone and we assume they love us back, they won’t leave or stop loving us if we are mean once in a while," she adds. "If we are mean to a stranger, they will walk away and want nothing to do with us, but our loved ones (family, spouse, close friends) will cast it off as a temporary situational response because they know more about us than just being mean."

In other words, close friends and family know the good stuff about us, too — and hopefully that outweighs any mean streak we may have.

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