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'Banter'

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
I've been viciously insulted, taunted, ridiculed etc. by classmates, colleagues and even by people who've claimed they're my friends. When I've objected to that and told them to stop doing it, they've told me: "We're just avin a laugh - can't you take a bit a banter? You're no fun!" How can I effectively counter this? I'm sick of being insulted, then told that I'm boring for not welcoming it.

Comments

  • MikeMike Posts: 1,707 Staff Moderator
    Hey Robert,

    This is a really tough situation and I can empathise, it was something I struggled with at school quite a bit but can definitely carry on through to adulthood.

    Ultimately, if you're being insulted to an extent that goes beyond what you recognise as harmless fun or 'banter', then you have every right not to be okay with that and not to put up with it. Your boundaries are yours and yours alone to set, after all.

    Have you had an opportunity to sit down and have a serious conversation with these friends? Making a point of expressing your feelings rather than mentioning it in amongst the banter can be a good way to get the message home and make them realise you're serious about what you're saying.
    just because you're not doing something perfectly, doesn't mean you're not doing it
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yes - many people at work, in the pub etc. act like they're still in the school playground. Although they're adults physically, they haven't grown up emotionally.

    When I've told them how I feel, they blame me, call me names and tell me that I'm soft for not taking it. They also ostracise me. They're not genuine friends.

    Unfortunately, this obnoxious behaviour makes them popular, so they have an incentive to continue. It's a common method by which lads demonstrate their social dominance and supposed verbal prowess. It's like an unofficial competition in which the 'king of banter' becomes the group's leader and most popular member.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    A variation on this is that after viciously insulting and threatening me, moving my things so I can't find them, playing nasty pranks on me, deliberately tripping me over, throwing things at me etc., I tell them to stop doing it. They then say: "it's just a joke". They're falsely claiming that their cruel victimisation of me is merely jokes and that I'm at fault for lacking a sense of humour and not gladly accepting them terrorising me. I do have a sense of humour, but I don't find victimisation to be funny - and I doubt any other victims do either.

    Claiming it's banter, a joke etc. are ways in which they're falsely justifying victimising me, whilst blaming me for not suffering in silence throughout their victimisation.

    They won't stop doing it - they enjoy it and don't care about me. When I can easily remove these people from my life I do so, but when it's classmates, colleagues and neighbours who are doing it, it's not easy to do so.
  • MikeMike Posts: 1,707 Staff Moderator
    It's really interesting hearing this from your perspective and realising how vastly different it must be from the people you're talking about. Rather than/as well as them being immature, like you say, I wonder if it's also just a matter of what people find to be fun and entertaining?

    I'm not suggesting that it's okay - if you're not okay with it then it's wrong, pretty plain and simply. But I wonder if part of why they're seemingly being so relentless is because they just don't understand what it's like to be in your position and to actually dislike what they perceive to be 'banter', and probably do with each other all the time. If they genuinely can't empathise with you, then it's probably quite tough for them to take what you're saying seriously.

    That said, it's obvious that what's happening really is not okay with you and you have a right to speak up and have a say in that. For the classmates and colleagues, is there someone higher up that you can go to with how you're feeling? They usually can't ignore something which is essentially bullying in the workplace or school, even if it is seen as innocent by everyone else. Is there someone you would trust to speak to about it?
    just because you're not doing something perfectly, doesn't mean you're not doing it
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This is not mere harmless fun, misunderstandings/misinterpretations etc. - nor am I being too sensitive. This is cruel and sadistic. There's no way that they're meaning to be friendly. These people have never been helpful to me. Even if some of them do these horrible things to other people, that doesn't make it OK. Whilst I'm not the only person to be targeted by them, I'm certainly being targeted by them more than anyone else is.

    I've tried to get them to stop and to understand how much suffering they're inflicting on me. Their reaction to that it is to grin, laugh at me, and do it even more.

    Everyone who's in power whom I've complained to about this has either ignored me, or told me: "stop telling tales", "fight your own battles", "man up and put up with it" and "it's good; it's character building". Those in authority prefer to do nothing and let it continue - rather than try to put a stop to it.

    My real friends don't know how to advise me about this, as they don't know the bullies and haven't seen them victimise me. In addition, they've not suffered this themselves and therefore can't relate to it.

    When the bullies found out that I'd reported them, they victimised and ostracised me even more as a punishment for doing so. According to them, I'm "a wimp", "soft as shit" and "a whining faggot" for complaining about them - rather than gladly accepting their abuse and suffering in silence. I'm sick of being their verbal (and sometimes physical) punchbag.
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