It’s only banter, right?


“She’s got a fit body – if you put a paper bag over her head.”

Just a bit of banter. Laugh it off, even though it kicked you in the stomach and made you feel sick. Your friends are all laughing, so it must be ok.


You want to throw something back. You’ve got a split second to think, but the pressure of those laughing faces is stifling your humour. So you let it go.


“Shorty won’t be served.” “Get short arse a stool.” “Are their dwarfs in your family?”

He’s only joking.

Always joking. But you don’t find it funny any more. In fact, you never did. He’s the lad. He’s the prankster of the class and he makes people laugh.

So he must be funny.

But you can’t laugh it off. You must be weird for not getting his bants. You can’t take a joke. Perhaps you’re stuck up like he tells you that you are. You thought he was a mate, but he makes you feel like shit.


“He’s a prick” your other friends tell you. “Just ignore him and he’ll leave it.”

But he doesn’t.

You want to be witty and give the banter back. The trouble is, you’re just not feeling it. His comments aren’t making you feel like a laugh. They aren’t exactly cracking you up.

Just cracking you up inside.

His banter is making you feel like the smallest person in the world. The person he is telling you that you are. You are small and ugly and you can’t see anything else.

You ARE small AND ugly.

“Fuck off, you twat!”

Now you’re an attention seeker for daring to answer back. You’re a loser and you wish you’d kept your mouth shut.

It’s easier that way.

It’s easier for him. It’s easier for you, but you are a victim and you’re carrying that everywhere inside.

“Stop being a victim” your mum tells you. “Stand up to him'” she says.

But you haven’t got the banter, or the will to or the strength. You are usually strong, but not today. Not any day. Not with him.

You never feel strong with him. He’s a bully. You’re not giving it back. You are being targeted. It’s personal.

It hurts.



14 thoughts on “It’s only banter, right?”

  1. Such true words in between the hurtful ‘Bants’. Hubby and I have a rule in our house that the word ‘banter’ is banned. We have not been on the receiving end of it, which is lucky, but we can see the difference between two people equally taking the Micky out of each other and one person saying rude things all in the name of ‘banter’. There is nothing wrong with having a laugh and a joke as long as it is a two way street. I assume this is written from personal experience so I hope you find a way of letting go of these words one day.

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. It is partly from personal experience, although I pretty good self-esteem, so I wasn’t damaged as badly as I could have been. However, enough to have a good understanding of just how harmful these comments can be and how making people aware of this can help.

  2. It’s not banter, it’s harassment. It’s only banter if both sides are in on the joke. I find most of those that dish it out can’t take it and if you try they are the ones that get offended.

    People who use banter as a defence at employment tribunal get no quarter. They get quartered instead.


    1. You are absolutely right when you say: ‘most of those that dish it out can’t take it.’ I find this is usually men, who can’t stand the fact that a woman is standing up to them. Great comments, thank you.

  3. It is such a fine line between the two and when you are on the receiving end of such “bants” it is a balancing game in terms of your reactions – how far do you go? You want to stand up to it and put a stop to it without taking that step too far . The perpetrators warrant nothing but our pity. #ablogginggoodtime

  4. That is terrible, I hate men like this. They think they’re really funny but they’re actually hurting people’s feelings. The culture here is interesting because we don’t have “banter” as much in America, in the beginning I thought it was all jokes but after a while I realised actually some of these people are just plain mean. I had to back away from some friendships because I was not cool with feeling like shit. I do love joking around though and think it’s okay when it’s with close friends and there is no bullying, if there is bullying I normally call it out (and make it awkward haha oh well I’m trying to make a point!). Thanks for sharing with #StayClassyMama!

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