Banter or Bullying?

In recent years bullying has been glamourised through various forms of media and deemed as being ‘cool’ and something that will make you ‘popular’.

Bullying is a big issue for males as 2/3 males have said they have been bullied at some point in their life. The bullies in this case mainly bully others because they think it ‘makes them a man’ and makes them look ‘tough’. In fact, bullies come across as the total opposite.

Throughout the years there has always been a difference between being funny and being mean. But in the 21st century has this line become blurred due to the creation of one small word?

There is a very fine line between the two, and unfortunately people are using the word ‘banter’ as an excuse for being hurtful and cruel to others.

A survey done by a company in 2012 found that 72% of people aged 16-25 felt like they were bullied by their friends, but did not speak out because at first they viewed it as ‘only banter’

Banter, defined as ‘the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks’ is seen as a form bonding and humour between ‘friends’.

Bullying, on the other hand, is defined as using ‘superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone)’ and it is seen to be hurtful or offensive.

popular bullied iStock omgimages.jpg

As Patchin writes:

“Often our research approaches don’t allow us to accurately distinguish between good-natured ribbing and malevolent meanness. As I have argued previously, I don’t believe that bullying can be done unintentionally. Even though someone’s feelings can certainly be hurt without intent, bullying by definition is deliberate.”

People think that bullies are only in school, but this is not the case. A Law firm Slater and Gordon revealed that ‘the majority of [workplace] bullying comes in the form of verbal abuse or intimidation [and…] is often dismissed as “banter” between colleagues.


How to spot if you’re the bully or help if you think someone is being victimised

  1. Over half of bullies are unaware that they are being bullies. If you are unsure if you’re crossing this line, then ask yourself this on simple question; is the person/persons being mocked also genuinely enjoying it?
  2. If they say they are enjoying it but you are still unsure, you can also ask them one on one if they’re ok and that you can stop if they would like.
  3. Talk to someone higher up who could stop it.

Tips if you are being bullied 

  1. Don’t be silent. It is important that you talk to someone, a partner, friend or family member, the bully themselves (f you feel safe enough) or if you don’t feel comfortable with this then try a chat room
  2. Don’t see yourself as the problem
  3. You are not alone!
  4. Look up ways to cope with what you’re going through

If you can see that something has gone past the point of ‘banter’ then speak up.


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