four people, sitting on a hill, green grass
Categories
Bullying Friendships Relationships

Banter or Bullying?

We all engage in a bit of friendly ‘banter’ with our mates from time to time but do you know when to stop?

Banter can be described as playful teasing between friends, usually an equal and generally funny exchange. Whether it’s at school, at home between siblings or in the locker room, there will always be comments thrown around in jest.

It also has a tendency to escalate… Sometimes it goes too far and quickly moves from being friendly lighthearted fun, to offensive and straight up mean. Even worse, some people may experience actual bullying which is passed off as banter. It can be so subtle that you don’t even notice that you’re doing it!

Those who make the comments might even believe that what they are saying is a joke and not intended to hurt, when in reality they are being insensitive to their friend’s feelings.

Whether you’re on the receiving end of it, or whether you really are full of banter, here’s how to make sure your ‘bantz’ isn’t in fact bullying in disguise.

When does banter become bullying?

It’s often the case that the person on the receiving end of this ‘banter’ feels like they can’t speak out about it because it may seem like they can’t take a joke. Nobody wants to be seen as the friend who can’t take a joke.

1. Keep it clean

Know your limits, don’t laugh at someone’s appearance, their race, sexuality, identity or disability. Not cool.

2.  If it isn’t funny, don’t laugh

If you have to fake a laugh to brush off a hurtful comment, you’re only encouraging more comments. If it goes too far, let them know.

3. Don’t stand by and let it happen if someone is clearly not having fun

Try not to be a bystander, if someone else is clearly not enjoying a bit of a banter, then don’t be afraid to point it out. Often the person saying the hurtful comments will stop when they realise that they don’t have an audience.

4. Don’t pick on something you know someone is already insecure about – it’s cheap!

Never pick up on a feature that you know is a sensitive subject for someone. Laughing at someone’s appearance when you know they’re self-conscious is a low blow – talk about kicking someone when they’re down!

5. Saying ‘it’s just banter’ or ending your sentence with ‘just kidding’ doesn’t unsay a hurtful comment

Just because you say it’s banter, doesn’t mean it is. Think before you speak and ask yourself, would I find this funny if the tables were turned? Remember that you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Most importantly, Laugh with your friends, not at them…

If you’re being bullied and need to talk, join our community or get help here, Ditch the Label are here for you.

RSS FORUM CHATS

  • Hi
    Hi. I just came out to my Best Friend and wife. like everything she does, she was so great about it. I'm a talker and would love too talk up a storm with anyone who likes to smile and laugh 🙃
  • Fave colour???
    Why has no one done this????? I like yellow, orange and purple and want to see what others like!
  • Any Pentaholics here
    Any fans of the band Pentatonix here?
  • A bit confused
    So, I’m back. I think that I’ve sort of figured myself out, but I still have quite a few doubts. Basically, I’m a 13 y/o girl and I think that I am bisexual, but I have different sorts of attraction towards different genders. I find that I am only physically attracted to girls, but could […]
  • Sexuality Confusion
    This is probably going to be long. I'm a 21yr old guy and currently confused about my sexuality. I had a sexual trauma where my own grandfather abused me when I was 3 or 4. I was in an All Boys school growing up and had experimented with few guys when I was about 13-14, […]
  • Interests are kicking in!
    Ok, Ive spent ages wanting something that I'm good at and can consider 'my thing' and I always got slightly jealous of my sisters amazing art and sewing, but I think I have found my hobbies and interests! Here they are: Graphic designing (might be a job when Im older) Singing Music making Story making […]