When you can call someone out on their bullshit, and they laugh, you know you’re very close to them. If you can tease someone and they laugh you also know you’re very close to them.
Witty banter is amazing. I can’t get enough of it. I crave it. With girls and guys!
In fact, one of the jobs of your close friends (or brother in law) is to bust your chops! But it’s in a loving way.
For example, one of my buddies and I go back and forth. I’ll be cracking up as he’s making fun of me in person or via technology. We know each others quirks.
Most of his jokes are about my height. So he calls me a midget! (Hey, at 5’ 8” I wasn’t blessed with the genetics that would’ve helped to make the NBA. But I’m cool with it.)
[Side story, when I first met my favorite author after emailing back and forth for a while the first thing he said was, “Wow, I thought you’d be a lot taller!” As I was puzzled he said, “Take that as a compliment!”]
I can’t get enough of it as I’m hoping he goes on and on.
Then it’s my turn. I call him a fucking string bean! (He happens to be over 6 feet tall. But lucky for me he’s very narrow. He also has legs like a female runway model.)
While his jokes are usually about stepping on me and mine are about him fitting into unreasonably narrow spaces, even if we know what we’re going to say, it’s still funny!
If there’s no banter, there’s no relationship. If a person can’t laugh at themselves then I’ll never be close with them.
And if there’s no banter with a girl, it just won’t work out. I need a girl that can tease me back!
But you have to be able to laugh at yourself!
How about this email exchange between my friends from college as we’re trying to decide where to eat this past Friday:
One of my best friends says: I don’t know if I can do dinner but I was thinking we can pregame somewhere at like 9ish and then decide on a place to go so we’re not aimlessly walking around NYC like a bunch of Alpha Etas [that’s our pledge class]
I immediately write back: Well technically you know if you can do dinner. I don’t understand. What don’t you know? Either you can or you can’t?
[I await in anticipation. I love starting up some action…]
He writes: Well technically I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. Let me clarify, I kinda wanna go to the gym after work, order in Chinese, and then I’d like to meet up.
Just throwing out a recommendation. I think if we pregame somewhere, it’ll be easier to decide on one place we can go out. Rather than complaining let’s just pregame and go out tonight like normal people.
I write back: Yes. Technically you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. But no one cares about that. The question was can you or can’t you go to dinner. Usually normally people say yes or no. Not I don’t know.
‘I don’t know’ wouldn’t work to well on an RSVP…
He writes: You’re a shmuck [Which means he knows he’s wrong. He also always has to have the last word. Which I, of course, call him out on. We then speak and laugh about it.]
This is just an example of guys that love one another breaking chops. And I can’t get enough of it! It’s actually more fun when someone teases you.
Are you really close with the people you think you’re close with? See if you can engage in some banter with your clients. I’ve been very lucky to have some absolutely hilarious clients. And I’ll call them out on their bullshit. But it takes time to get to that point.
It takes being vulnerable!
[Update: A reader writes in, “Just be sure your clients are okay with banter because not everyone likes it.” Absolutely without question! This post is more so for friends and romantic relationships, etc. But if you can engage in some banter with your clients you know you’re extremely close! The best relationships whether work or social are a give and take. A push and pull.]
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