Friday, 22 January 2016

Oh But It's Not Just Banter

I have an aggressive annoyance taking form as a knot in my stomach and a blog post all about it might just let it loosen every so slightly. Because of my gosh, I'm sick of this "just banter" phase that has only strengthened over the last couple of years. The phrase doesn't excuse anything and for goodness' sake isn't is so obviously clear that one who has carried out a whole "just banter" performance (even if the words are not uttered) does not get to decide whether someone's feelings are hurt as a result of it or who it affects?

I have watched people say the most outrageous things and when it has caused sadness or anger, like an out of free jail card, "It's just banter!" is said as if any negative reaction is completely unnecessary. What is even worse, sometimes it even works. It can completely belittle someone's feelings and make them really feel like they've overreacted when that is totally unfair. The "Just Banterer" almost always comes back with the most ignorant response to save face or to further embarrass people and it's just the definition of lame.

Not only this, but we don’t know what’s going on in anyone’s life. We have no idea. If we think a friend is responding ridiculously to a joke and maybe they’re not in their normal, joyful mood, maybe something else is going on- maybe they're just having a down day! And they don’t have to take something well if they can't! If we naively/or not even very nicely say something and someone takes it badly (rightly or even wrongly!), we should not take it upon ourselves to make them feel bad. I’ve made jokes and instantly regretted them at the sight of someone’s face. They’ve not been cruel jokes or ones aimed to hurt but it did hurt and that sucks. But we can make up for it.

I watched one friend make a comment about another friend’s relationship- a perfectly lovely relationship. Friend Just Banter (FJB) said to Completely Understandably Upset Friend (CUUF) that she takes up too much of her boyfriend’s time and never lets him out (complete and utter rubbish). CUUF was upset and bit back and FJB not only continued his argument but acted like she should calm down. *Excuse me while I shout into nothingness.*
There will be plenty of situations where for whatever reason someone took a joke badly and they wish they didn't- we can work together to fix this. Sometimes communication gets a bit confused but we can, either independently or as a team, fix this. Just don't utter, "banter though"/"just banter" pretty, pretty please.
Tea & Breakfast,
The Girl in the Moonlight.

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