Saturday, 2 April 2011

B is for banter (aka acceptable bullying?)

Who in your group is the King or Queen of Banter? 

There’s always one. In fact, there are sometimes quite a few. They’re the lovable rogues who always have a new idea for how to create havoc and hilarity wherever you are. They look for exciting ways to liven up any situation; which means they’re particularly good people to have around you in places like airports, offices or on holiday. 

I have a number of friends (who’ll remain nameless for now!) who fit this description perfectly. And I love their company, energy and ability to lift any mood. 

However, watching other groups of friends create banter and mischief got me thinking about how it feels if you’re the victim of others’ banter or the butt of a practical joke. That doesn’t feel so good does it? 

Imagine this: A stranger comes up to you as you walk home, lost in your own world. They start to ask you some inane favour (‘I need directions’/ ‘can you give me your autograph?’/ ‘give me a kiss’/ ‘what you doing tonight darlin’?’ etc). But before you can find a suitable response or safe retort, you notice a group of their mates in the background, in fits of laughter. 

Ouch. Suddenly, you’ve become the butt of other people’s banter and whilst you can appreciate that they’re just messing around and having a laugh, it doesn’t feel very nice to be on the receiving end. 

Do you remember the ‘Happy Slapper’ phenomenon that became a horrible craze a few years ago? The ‘Happy Slapper’ would go up and hit a complete stranger while someone else filmed the event on their mobile phone’s video. Some incidences turned into fatal beatings, all in the name of ‘banter’. Terrible and tragic. And from this, it’s easy to see why practical jokes are often perceived as bullying by the victims.

Banter (aka in-group japes) can have hugely positive benefits and lift the mood of an entire group. 

Banter (aka acceptable bullying) on the other hand, can have devastating consequences for a victim.

The next time you’re planning a practical joke or watching your friends do the same, consider where on the scale of banter to bullying the prank will be. If you can keep your banter safe, light-hearted and within the group, go for it. If it’s likely to hurt other people, it’s definitely time to reconsider your actions.

  • Blog challenge status: 2 days in, 2 posts down; 24 to go!
  • People watch status:  Excited, inspired and fired up to find other great blogs to follow. 


  1. Wise advice. Thanks for sharing. I'm looking forward to reading more from a fellow "A to Z" participant.

  2. Nice post Bantering is not so nice. I was bantered alot as a child so you would never see me tolerate it in any of my friendships. Love the way you write, don't stop :) I will be back.

  3. Sharing this post to all I come across with word verification-***** I want to read and visit as many people participating in the A-Z challenge but there are over 1000 participants. Awesome yes, possible for me to visit every person, every Do the world a huge favor and take off your word verification. If you don't know how to do the following link to learn how. I will not comment on anyone that has word verification on. Thanks! *****

  4. I am such a banter(er) and I love your description. Brilliant!

  5. Thanks guys! I will definitely check out your blogs. Loving the A to Z challenge so far.

    Also, thanks for the word verification tip.

    All switched off now.

    Keep watching & enjoy the writing.

  6. Great post in the wake of all the bullying these days.

  7. Good post, good to think about. Visiting from the AtoZ Challange, nice to meet you.

  8. LOL, I have friends who can start all kinds of fun too.
    Great introspective post.
    I'm following you through the A to Z challenge.

  9. So true. It's really disgusting how people can hurt other people and then make it off as a joke.

    Not funny at all.

  10. Wow. I hadn't heard of the Happy Slapper incidents. Such a tragic thing to come out of what someone mistakenly believed was harmless fun.

  11. Hello, bopping over from the a-z challenge. Nice to "meet" you.
    Happy slapper, now that's pretty awful.

  12. Humor at another's expense is not funny to me.

    Fellow A to Z-er here. :)

    Have a lovely week,

  13. My disabled daughter is very adept at bantering. She awesome with small talk. She can lift anyone who's within hearing range.

    Over to meet you from the A to Z challenge. Your About Me tells me you have many interests and a busy life.
    Ann Best, Long Journey Home