Banter And Wit: Everything You Need To Know

Banter and wit are two characteristics every socially adept person has. If you can adopt these characteristics as well, your social life will be all the better for it. Not only that, but it will also have a positively major impact on other aspects of your life. Your professional life will excel, your romantic life will be healthier, and your personal life will be happier.

A lot of people are blessed to be naturally good at banter and have exceptional wit. However, to those who aren’t born this lucky, they’ll be glad to know that this is something they can learn. If this is indeed the case for you, read on to know everything about banter and wit and how to have these traits.

What Is Banter And What Does It Mean To Have Wit?

Banter is an exchange had between friends, associates, or colleagues. They’re very lighthearted and are done to make a mood lighter. They can be very confrontational at face value, but they’re nothing more than teases.

Wit refers to the sharpness of your mind to respond as quickly and as effectively as possible. A witty person usually responds in a funny way or rebuttals in such a way that it undermines what they’re responding to in an effective and hilarious manner.

When you have both, you have the mixture of someone who’s socially charming and appealing. A lot of people will want to have you around because you’re entertaining to have around.

People also tend to look up to those who can banter properly and are considered witty. It’s usually associated with intelligence and confidence. If you want to be perceived as such, don’t underestimate these traits.

How To Banter And Use Your Wit With Friends

Now that you know what banter is and what it means to have wit, it’s time to know how to learn those traits. Listed below are 15 tips you can keep in mind to know how to banter and use your wits with friends.

Always keep it light-hearted

Women Friends Laughing

As mentioned above, banter is usually light-hearted. They’re jokes and playful teases had between friends and associates. Never go overboard. This goes without saying but it’s worth repeating.

Try saying things you know won’t offend, but they can ultimately laugh at. This is most especially effective if you’re simply responding to a comment said to you. For example, if someone comments on the clothes you’re wearing that day, clap back by saying something along the lines of, “but your mother bought me this shirt.”

Does it sound childish? Yes. Will it make people laugh? Definitely. Is it harmless? Harmless and effective.

The goal here is to be playful, not to be the king of comedy. You’ll need to be playful without being purposefully hurtful. That’s how the best banters are approached.

That second to the last sentence also bears repeating. Being playful without being purposefully hurtful. That’s something you definitely need to keep in mind, which brings me to my next point.

Never aim to hurt others or be offensive

Whenever you’re bantering with somebody, make sure it never reaches a point where you’re being hurtful or offensive. Don’t say things you know will hurt them, or things you know they’re very insecure with. As stated previously, the best banters are playful in nature. Keep it that way.

Another thing you can keep in mind in reference to this is to never mention something too personal when you’re bantering with someone. That’s not being playful. That’s taking it way too far.

Don’t be afraid to jump into it

A lot of people hesitate to participate in banter because they’re afraid they might offend people. Don’t be. It’s a shame if you’re capable of doing this but you’re just holding back because you’re afraid of jumping into it.

Just remember to keep it light-hearted, as the previous tip highlighted. As long as you can keep that in mind, you should never be afraid of bantering with friends and using your wit.

If you somehow make a mistake by accidentally going too far, don’t worry. You won’t be the first to do so and you won’t be the last. As long as you never intentionally do so, you’ll be fine. Just apologize and move on.

Only do this with people who are already your friends

Keep things safe by only doing this with your friends. Avoid participating in banter with people you don’t know very much unless you really need to. A lot of people aren’t able to keep up with this and they might mistake your banter for hostility.

When a stranger initiates banter, try to return the favor, but be exceedingly more careful. You don’t want to mistakenly offend someone you’re not friends with yet.

Reading books can help you develop your wit and banter

Woman Reading

Making your mind sharper is key if you want to be wittier. For that to happen, you’ll need to read. When a person wants to strengthen their bodies, they exercise. When a person wants to strengthen their minds, you get the idea.

Read as often as you can. Reading itself is already a form of mental exercise that keeps it active and working. Read fiction, non-fiction, articles on news events, or something about pop culture. As long as what you’re reading is both factual if it’s around non-fiction, entertaining, and thought-provoking if it’s fiction, you’re good to go.

Watch a lot of shows and movies that are centered around comedy

Another thing that will help you become better at banter and exercise your wit is to watch shows and movies from the comedy genre. Look up the highest-rated movies and shows online and take the time to watch them. You’ll learn a lot about how to be better at banter and how to use your wit from them.

This is one of the most fun aspects of this goal. With that in mind, take your time, and most importantly, have fun. Then, once you believe you’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to banter and to use your wit, practice it with your friends.

Reference things you and your friend know to create an inside joke

Saying something along the lines of, “like that time we went to a bar?” while responding to a friend in a humorous manner will create an inside joke between you and whoever is involved. From then on, that inside joke will be a recurring thing between you and your friends, and your wit will be considered to be the one responsible for it.

Referencing a past event that’s memorable to you and your friends in a hilarious manner is a great way of highlighting your wit. Not only are you making them laugh but you are also making them remember a fun memory.

This is one thing you can do to be attributed as someone who’s witty. Make sure you don’t do it too much, though. It might get old really fast. Do this time and time again, and when it’s relevant to the current situation.

Don’t use this when the situation calls for serious interactions

It can be exciting having banter with someone and using your wit to make other people have a good time. However, there are a lot of situations when it’s better to be serious. If the topic at hand has gotten very deep and serious, avoid bantering with somebody. There’ll be time for that later.

This is a great thing to remember just in case you go out the rails and start bantering with someone any chance you can. Know when to do this and know when not to.

Use metaphors and similes

Two Happy Men

Metaphors and similes are great figures of speech to use if you want to be effective at banter and want your wit to be sharper.

These two are somewhat similar but have one key difference. Metaphors indicate that a thing is another while similes state that a thing is like another.

For example, metaphors go like this: You are the rainy day that dampens my mood as I walk to the park.

A simile, on the other hand, goes a little something like this: You are like an item I forgot I lost. You reappear whenever I need you least.

As you can see, using either of these can highlight your skill at banter and your wit. You don’t really even need to know the clear difference between the two. What’s important is that you know what they are and how to use them for banter.

Always expect rebuttals

Don’t expect banters to go one way only. The other person will most likely try to clap back at you. Even if they won’t, just expect it to happen. That way, you will never be taken aback whenever someone does it.

Be prepared to either make a rebuttal again or simply laugh it off. Once again, let me reiterate, banters are supposed to be playful. When you can’t make a rebuttal anymore, laugh and concede. They can win one round. You can have the next one.

Be an attentive listener

You won’t be able to banter properly if you’re not an attentive listener. You don’t want to try to respond to someone when your response makes no sense considering what they said to you. Be sure to listen intently and only banter when you fully understand what it is they’re saying to you.

Doing this won’t only help you with banters but it will also improve your social skills as a whole. Don’t forget that listening is a key social skill that helps almost everything when it comes to your social life. It can be applied to banters as well.

Acknowledge those who are listening

When you’re bantering with somebody and there are people around, be sure to acknowledge them when they laugh with you. That means they appreciate your jokes and wit. The least you can do is to look at them as you’re laughing, give them a high five, or a pat on the shoulder.

This is a little extra something you can do to elevate your social skill rating. Not that there is one, but you can believe to yourself that there is for the sake of this argument. Being able to banter while acknowledging those around you is an impressive display only socially adept people can do. Be able to do that too.

Do your best to be the best version of yourself

Happy At The Office

You may be wondering why this tip is included in an article about banter and wit, and there are two reasons for that.

Whenever you’re bantering with somebody, it’s always light-hearted and it’s never personal. However, it will feel really good to gain the upper hand whenever you do so. If you’re always doing your best to be the best version of yourself, it will be hard for others to find something to say during your banters with them. They still have a lot of playful things to say, of course, but you can at least make it harder for them.

Second, the better you become as a person, the more your confidence will rise. The more confident you become, the better you’ll be at banter and using your wit.

Besides, who doesn’t want to be the best version of themselves?


Finally, if you want to be really good at banter and using your wit, practice. This doesn’t happen overnight and it won’t certainly happen right after you read this article. You may need to re-read this article as often as you can and practice as much as you can before you can really be considered a banter-aficionado.

That said, keep doing everything that’s listed here. Banter with your friends, read to sharpen your wit and improve as a person. In time, and with practice, you’ll finally be a master at banter and your wit will be as sharp as it can possibly be.

Improve Your Banter And Wit By Being Socially Skilled

Banter and wit are social skills already. However, if you learn other social skills, your banter and wit will also improve. Considering that, be sure to read the other articles on the site as well. Become more socially skilled and you’ll also improve your banter and your wit. Good luck! To speed up this process, consider reading my book, Get The Friends You Want.

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