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. 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.

If you would prefer the easier to read version please click here.

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

When does banter become bullying?

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.

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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 ‘jkz bbz’ 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.

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17 Things You Can Do For National Random Acts of Kindness Day

Today is National Random Acts of Kindness Day! While we hope that you practise kindness 365 days a year, sometimes it is good to have a little reminder and push in the right direction – so use this day to do just that!

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to be kind and spread positivity but if you are stuck for ideas, below we have listed 17 easy ways you can brighten up someone’s day!

1. Compliment someone. 
Give someone a confidence boost, you might make their whole day!

2. Hold a door open for someone.
But maybe with more enthusiasm than this GIF displays.

3. Let someone in front of you in a queue.
No matter how badly you need that mid-morning coffee.

4. Volunteer your time to a good cause.
Even if you only have one hour a week going spare – your help can make all the difference.

5. Make someone a cuppa!
Because the best things in life are free TEA!

6. Call someone you haven’t spoken to for a while to see how they are doing.
Our busy lives mean that sometimes weeks, even months can pass before we realise we haven’t spoken to certain friends or family members for way too long. Give gramps a call. Go on.

 7. Pick up litter in the street and throw it in the bin.
It might not be your mess, but it’s definitely your world so help keep it clean.

8. Smile at people.
It’s contagious – but in a good way.

9. Leave positive post-it notes for people to find.
Because nothing says it better than a sticky note.

10. Leave a small amount of change in a vending machine.
Just imagine the difference a free choccy bar could make to your day…

11. Buy a piece of Ditch the Label merchandise and help support young people through bullying.
Head to store.ditchthelabel.org if you wanna look AND feel awesome.

12. Leave a nice comment on a friends profile picture.
Basically, point number one but for the virtual world.

13. Forgive someone.
Forgiving: It’s easier said than done, right? When someone hurts or betrays you, it is natural to feel upset, or angry and it is incredibly hard to let go of such painful feelings – especially if you feel that someone has broken your trust. But honestly, holding a grudge does nothing to change or improve the situation and carrying around feelings of anger or resentment, will only cause harm to your own mental well-being in the long run. So be kind to yourself and someone else – let it go!

14. Speak to someone you think might be lonely.
The internet has made connecting and communication with others easier, and more accessible than ever before. You would think it impossible to feel lonely in this day and age, considering the amount of time we dedicate to interacting with other people on social media. But it seems this replacement of physical contact with virtual contact is leaving us feeling isolated; we are suffering a loneliness epidemic, and it is an increasing problem in modern life.

15. Genuinely thank someone for something they might have done to help you.
Because a heartfelt thanks means so much and requires so little.

16. Offer to carry someone’s bag.
If they look like they are struggling, channel your inner Hulk and help them out!

17. Offer up your seat on public transport.
Multitask and simultaneously work those leg muscles whilst being kind!

10 Things Gossip Girl Taught Us

1. Things are never as bad as you think.
I mean if Blair can say that having lived through a near-fatal car crash, a divorce, her BFF sleeping with her boyf behind her back (all before the age of 18 mind), then take it as gospel: things are never as bad as you think.

2. Friendships have ups and downs.
Serena and Blair prove that true friendship endures. No matter how absolutely disgustingly awful they are to each other throughout the series, their friendship always prevails. Such a cute sentiment right? While friendships in the real world definitely have their fair share of ups and downs, maybe don’t test your BFF’s trust and patience as much as these two did.

3. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
You think you know someone and then BAM you find out Dan Humphrey is Gossip Girl. Also, can someone explain to me why his inner circle didn’t seem that bothered by the fact he had spent years secretly cyberbullying them…? And also can someone PLEASE explain to me why he once asked Gossip Girl for help finding Serena when he was in fact Gossip Girl? I’m concerned for his mental health ’tis all.

4. The course of true love sometimes doesn’t run smooth.
Okay, okay, it was Shakespeare that originally taught us that but let’s face it; Chuck and Blair really hammered the point home.

5. You don’t give up when things get tough. 
No Nate you don’t, so put away those puppy-dog eyes and try and try and try again, until eventually you succeed.

6. Chuck Bass. 
A very important thing that GG taught us was Chuck Bass. If you think this sentence doesn’t make sense you clearly haven’t seen Gossip Girl.

7. Just because someone says they are okay, doesn’t mean they are.
Honestly though, this is quite an important lesson to learn. If you feel like someone might be struggling – even if they are saying they are ‘fine’ or ‘okay’, they might be too embarrassed to admit how they are truly feeling. Listen to your instinct and just make sure you let them know that you are there for them. Your friendship could make all the difference to someone who might be suffering from depression, anxiety or experiencing bullying. Keep a close eye on them and seek out support from a trusted adult if you are worried for their safety.

8. You don’t give up on the people you love. 
Never stop believing in those you love. They might be acting out of character right now but maybe that is because they are going through something. Make sure they know they have your support, love and trust. Your belief in them might just help them out of the rough patch they are in.

9. You shouldn’t judge others.
Remember that pulling somebody else down will never take you any higher. Wise words from Blair Waldorf, the most judgemental person of them all. Oh wait, now I’m being judgemental! Sorry B…

10. Love people for who they are. 
Don’t try and change someone; love them for their unique qualities and their differences. Love them for who they are, not in spite of who they are.