Banter

December 5th, 2013

I reread a favorite novel by a favorite novelist over Thanksgiving and I love the way Catherine Cookson talks about banter in The Upstart. She calls it a “tart rejoinder.”

How many tart rejoinders did you sling around with family and friends at the dinner table and while pretending to enjoy each other’s company?

If it’s one or more, that may be one or more too many.

Tart rejoinders or banter hurt. They hurt the person they are aimed at. They hurt the person who spews them forth by giving vent to anger that is better worked on in private than aired in public.

Why are we tempted to aim our poison darts of words at others? We want to do this when we are angry.

Dueling and other aggressive ways of opposing others are not socially acceptable any more. So banter has replaced the way we try to get back at others when we feel the need to lash out.

Take a walk, write in your journal, follow the respectable rules for Crucial Confrontations, talk to a counselor, talk to a trusted friend, chop wood, shout in the woods, scream into your pillow, cry your eyes out, act out the whole conversation by yourself playing both sides (without and audience), go for a run or walk, do something. Please don’t make exchanging tart rejoinders a way of life.

“It is an honor for a man to stay out of a fight. Only fools insist on quarreling.” Proverbs 20:3

“Don’t repay evil for evil. Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.” Proverbs 20: 22

“It is hard to stop a quarrel once it starts, so don’t let it begin.” Proverbs 17:14

“The man of few words and settled mind is wise; therefore, even a fool is thought to be wise when he is silent. It pays him to keep his mouth shut.” Proverbs 17 ” 27-28

“A wise man restrains his anger and overlooks insults. This is to his credit.” Proverbs 19:11

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