Chapter 25: Banter

I don’t like conflict.

People start arguing, and I’m like:

Which is unfortunate, because I’ve just joined an all-dude fantasy football league, and they have precisely three core values:

  1. Banter
  2. Commitment
  3. Contribution

In that BCC-email-acronym order.

Men are from Mars, and women are confused by them

The thing is … I don’t do banter.

Me and my gal pals never just hang out and roast each other.

We’re into:

  1. Deep and meaningfuls
  2. Quality time
  3. Bridesmaids GIFs.

*Struggles to find anything funny about the acronym DQB … Googles … apparently it’s a nerdy game to do with dragons. What a triumph.*

To help upskill myself on what the sweet hell banter is, I did a very simple, obvious thing.

I asked.

“What is banter?”

Any my homeboys actually had some really good responses.

Well, minus the couple who thought the question was a weird power play of feminine wiles, so I clearly already have them beat and abstained from answering.

Their answers ranged from …

The Tweetable:

“I would say banter is a discussion with the intent to entertain at the expense of others.” – Hiro, League Commissioner

“When you’re bantering you can sort of take on a character and push that character to the extreme … The more absurd the thing is that you say, the more obvious it’s banter.” – Liam, Press Sec

“Banter is a way to make your match up for the week mean more.” – Taka, FLOTUS

To the quietly savage:

“I like banter cause I can be mean to people and they think I’m joking.” – Roy, Chief of Staff Salt

“I find it it fun cause I like to have a laugh. Also have to admit I love to see people shot down due to quality banter.” – Ropata, Chief Executive

And even some official “#bantz rules of engagement” from Karan, Head of Legal:

  1. Build rapport with your league mates (the better you know them, the greater the understanding of their limit and acceptance of said banter)
  2. Research the target of the banter thoroughly (have they claimed something in the past that lends credence to the banter)
  3. Make it funny and/or insightful
  4. Minimal self-depreciation/maximum ego
  5. Adopt a persona and build on it
  6. Play mind-games to break them down, but keep it above board
  7. Foster a rivalry
  8. Have fun.”

With all of this in mind, dear reader, I have a question for you …

Have you ever watched WWE?

Rivalries. Personas. Fake feuds. Entertainment.

Banter is basically that big wrestling energy.

Becoming ‘The Man’

I’m going to be honest with you.

For one emotionally-charged moment, as those first banter bombs fired at me from across the group chat, I did think of throwing the “Ross Finger” and bouncing.

But I couldn’t do it.

I couldn’t be that weak chick who left as soon as she was let into the big boys’ room just because it was difficult.

So I picked myself up, put on some It’s Britney, b*tch, and I thought:

What would Ruth Bader Ginsberg do?

Spurred on by my new spirit animal, the Notorious RBG, I started taking baby steps towards banter bad assery and defeating my fear of confrontation.

1. Remember who you are, Simba

Generally speaking, I dislike conflict for two reasons:

  1. I have people-pleaser tendencies, and I like to be liked
  2. I like people, and I don’t want to compromise relationships for the sake of getting to be “right”.

Which sounds very nicey-nice, but is actually pretty problematic, as in healthy relationships you should definitely be able to have disagreements without fundamentally rocking the relationship boat with how you view and value each other.

But that’s a therapy session for another time.

To help bust me out of this Swiss shell of neutrality, I had to have a “Come to, Jesus Mufasa” moment and remembered:

I’m a third speaker, damnit. 

Uh what, Kate? 

Oh yeah, I forgot – not everyone’s as much of a nerd as me. Let me explain.

I was in my high school debate team. 

Debate works by having two teams of three argue ‘for’ or ‘against’ a topic.

The earlier you speak, the more pre-prepared your speech is, and the less rebuttal (read: logically and articulately explaining why the other team’s argument is trash) you do.

I was third speaker, so 75% of my speech was rebuttal.

For someone who doesn’t like arguments, I’m actually very good at arguing.

And I do improv … so on the fly funny is kind of my jam.

And banter kind of is arguing + improv …

Oh my gosh … I’m about to kick some candy ass.

I also come alive for any kind of boxing or fighting sport. Which is neither here nor there, but I think probably embodies why this is my all time favourite quote:

2. Starting small

It sounds silly, but those first little banter battles on the Facebook Group chat would have me STRESS SWEATING.

Confrontation (even when it’s make-believe) makes me uncomfortable.

But the more I did it, and the more I overcame the temptation to have a little freak out, the easier – and funner – it became.

3. The Shark

Today’s #bantz was about comparing league members to different animals, and I was given the Tiger Shark along with this explanation and link:

Tim and I had some jibes at each other last week.

I think I might of done quite well.

I’m now so into banter, I accidentally burned someone at work yesterday. I need to reign it in.

What a fun, new problem to have.

That RBG spirit

Confrontation is my thing.

What’s yours? 

What makes you nervous, and shrink away.

Because I think you’re probably stronger than you think you are.

You tell that thing, ‘Not today, Satan’, and you walk towards it – not away.

You got this, girlfriend. Go get that RBG spirit, and go get your victory.

Kate x

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