We men are really good at banter, well I am, I don’t know about you?
The content of banter is best described as good natured, playful and friendly exchange of teasing and witty remarks; it’s about making jokes of each other.
So much for the content, underneath that process is our way of avoiding intimacy with another male, does banter form a substitute for some in-depth conversation and keep us safe from intimacy, I think that it does. If we can be “witty”, “playful” and “friendly” in an exchange of banter that then can become the norm for all our connections with another person. Do you have others in your life that immediately drop into “banter” whenever you meet, does this form of exchange steal into the connection?
The intensity of banter can extend into personal shaming, we can verbally discount the “worth” of another with sarcasm, criticism and jibes, all in the name of accepted banter. We have no idea what the impact of this exchange has on the other, for those persons who are easily shamed by any form of teasing remarks, the requirement for them is to harden up, learn some appropriate response or avoid contact.
My apprenticeship into this harsh world of men’s banter came during my early formative years of school, now, when I watch young boys at play, the reminder is still there. In my case, I became quite efficient at ridiculing others, demeaning remarks were the trade of young men, I can still go there with my accumulated range of put-downs, although I’m quite discreet and very selective nowadays.
The capacity to make light of some situations is always present and I have great difficulty in curbing my enthusiasm to treat something as if it were not important or even humorous, a life time of habit is hard to break.
A minor version of male banter is to descend into inane conversations about the ‘news of the day’, that discussion seldom moving beyond trivia, and I wonder why we males have easily accepted this familiar means of communication. Is it to do with the possibility of having to offer a solution if the other person presents his/her problem and we don’t have an appropriate response?
Sure, I’m not suggesting that the mark of a healthy male is to self-disclose and drop into a touchy feely state with every contact you make, no, just be aware of whether your type of banter contains an exchange of views that devalues and reduces the quality of the connection, go beyond the inane and dive deeper.
I invite you to comment on this posting, I’m interested in how you apply yourself to blokes banter.