People often refer to bullying as ‘banter’. Banter is when you are being witty (funny) or teasing someone. People often say that bullying is banter which downplays it and makes it seem like you shouldn’t be feeling bad about someone having banter with you. The thing is, banter can still be quite hurtful and insulting.
Banter can often get worse quickly and can end up being very offensive and mean.
Here is a helpful guide to help you realise when banter can become bullying:
1. DON’T MAKE IT TOO PERSONAL
You can avoid making banter personal by not laughing about someone’s appearance (including size or shape), race, religion, sexuality or disability.
2. IF YOU DON’T FIND THE BANTER FUNNY – DON’T LAUGH
If you feel like you are faking your laugh in response to banter, then it may mean that it could be bullying. You may not find it funny because it’s too mean.
3. STOP BANTER IF THE OTHER PERSON DOES NOT LIKE IT
It is easy to let the banter carry on when someone else isn’t enjoying it. But this might make them feel really upset, and it is important to help make the banter stop.
4. DON’T HAVE BANTER WITH SOMEONE OVER SOMETHING THEY ARE INSECURE ABOUT
For example, if someone thinks they are overweight and you have banter with them about their weight, this is likely to really upset them. Avoid this!
5. JUST BECAUSE YOU SAY YOU ARE JOKING OR ‘IT’S JUST BANTER’ AT THE END OF THE BANTER, THIS DOESN’T MAKE A HURTFUL COMMENT ACCEPTABLE
Just because you say it’s a joke and that ‘it’s just banter’ doesn’t mean that it is, and it will still upset the person.
If you’re being bullied and need to talk, join our community or get help here, Ditch the Label is here for you.
The full version of this article can be found here.