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10 Incredible Things Only Couples Who Play Video Games Together Would Understand

10 Incredible Things Only Couples Who Play Video Games Together Would Understand

It is indeed a beautiful day when an article like this can no longer truthfully open with “Although most gamers are male teenagers…” The fact is, video games have become increasingly prevalent in all modern households, regardless of whether or not the owners consider themselves “hardcore” video gamers. And in ever-increasing amounts, couples find themselves turning to video games on rainy date nights, traveling together to virtual worlds from the comfort of their couches.

Any couple who’s ever spent a day with two controllers aimed at a television knows these 10 things:

1. You have to be patient

Okay, even though video games are pretty prevalent today, one person out of the couple is usually much more experienced when it comes to playing them. While this party has always tried to get his (or her, sorry) significant other into gaming, when she (or he) finally succumbs, it’s often not a pretty sight.

We’ve all had to answer the same questions over and over for a full half hour after they decide to jump in: “Which button is jump?” “How do you get over there?” “Why won’t you wait for me?!” We experienced gamers have to keep in mind we’ve been doing this since the NES days, and need to give our significant other time to acclimate to the world of gaming, no matter how annoying it can be at first.

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2. You learn to work as a team

A lot of today’s multiplayer games make it essential for each player to perform a specific role. Games like World of Warcraft are much easier when you have a priest healing your warrior consistently. If that’s not a perfect metaphor for a relationship, then there isn’t one. In games that require partnerships, the relationship is always symbiotic. In Little Big Planet, it’s literally impossible to get every sticker without working as a team (and yes, you should always let the less-experienced one get the stickers). Just like in real life, it’s not important who gets the glory, as long as you both reach your common goal.

3. You have to take the reins sometimes

Sometimes, there are just parts of a game’s mechanics that your significant other just will not be able to grasp. For the sake of getting past what should be a quick obstacle (and for the sake of your relationship), the more experienced gamer has to just take the controller and do his thing. Though this will inevitably upset the other party (“If you want me to play with you, let me play!”), it will ultimately allow both of you to continue the game and attack the next obstacle head on.

4. The less experienced one will always figure something out quicker than you

The beauty of video games is you don’t have to be experienced to be able to do well with them. In contrast to say, golf, where it’s extremely rare that a novice will get a hole in one on their first drive, video games are built so that even the most inexperienced gamer can pick up a controller and start playing.

Of course, this can be a double-edged sword. As a self-proclaimed master gamer, how many times have you been stuck on a certain puzzle or level, only to have your noob significant other pick up a controller, jump around aimlessly a few times, and unlock some power-up that gets your character past the obstacle with ease? We all know what comes next…

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5. The less experienced one will never let you live that moment down

After your better half “figures out” that puzzle that’s been driving you nuts for hours, he or she will probably gloat about how easy it was, and make fun of you for how upset you were – and how much more upset you got after he or she got you past it. The upside to this situation is that your loved one might realize video games aren’t all that difficult, and decide to give them a deeper look. Letting them have their moment of glory is a small price to pay for the unlimited fun you can have when your partner finally takes the plunge and immerses herself in the world of gaming.

6. You make in-game sacrifices

You’ve run your level 90 mage through all of the low-level dungeons in WoW with your SO’s hunter over and over so he or she can catch up to you (and hopefully not lose interest by that time). You’ve watched patiently (read: painfully) as they try to solve a puzzle in Portal that you solved months ago (even though it took you the same amount of time to figure out). You let her make “improvements” to your mansion in Minecraft without saying a word.

You’ve done all this, knowing you could be running end-game raids, destroying GLaDOS, or venturing into The End, because you know what’s really important: spending time with the one you love, knowing they’re truly enjoying themselves.

7. You realize you’re actually better at something than they are

Even if it is something silly like video games. Anyone who’s truly in love admires their significant other for their accomplishments, talent, and drive. You look up to them, and spend every waking moment improving yourself to make you even more worthy of their love than you were the day before. Once you load up that system, however, you finally have one-up on them. You can show them the ropes, feel confident that you’re in charge, and know exactly what you’re doing. Unlike the rest of your life, which is a complete mess, you can actually make sense of the going-ons around you when you have a controller in your hand.

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8. You know it’s all in good fun

We understand that all’s fair in love, war, and video games. Gloating and showboating, from both parties, comes with the territory when couples engage in any sort of gaming. Whether playing competitive games like Mario Kart or (supposedly) cooperative games like Little Big Planet, it’s inevitable that each of you will have your moment to shine, and each of you will make bonehead moves that the other will surely remind you of throughout the gaming session.

But, hopefully, when you shut the system off, you can look back at the whole time you spent making fun of each other, or getting absolutely enraged with one another, and know there’s nothing else in the world you would rather have been doing.

9. You play differently together than when you play alone

Something weird happens when you play a game with your significant other: you look at it from an entirely different perspective.You slow down your speed runs to allow your SO time to explore and get acclimated with the game. You don’t break out as many special moves as you normally would. Maybe you break out more special moves than you normally would, you show-off. You spend less time running over innocent civilians, and spend an hour exploring Mt. Chilead. In yet another metaphor for life, playing video games with the love of your life makes you aware of all the in-game beauty you’ve been missing while rushing toward your goal.

10. You realize it’s the journey, not the destination, that’s important

In video games, as in life, we often are looking forward to what’s next. You don’t want your WoW character to be level 10; you want to hit 90 ASAP. You probably simulate at least half of the games in the regular season of your NBA 2K franchise, only playing the big games and the playoffs. Even playing games like Metal Gear Solid, which you swear has cut-scenes that are way too long, you’re not satisfied until you find out what happens to Snake next. 

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When you play with your significant other, all this goes away; you actually play in the moment. Not only do you appreciate the game while playing it, you actually don’t want to reach the end. You’ll want to shut out the real world for as long as possible, enjoying every moment you can with your love by your side. (Awwwww…)

Featured photo credit: Young couple playing video games together while sitting in their living room. Mixed race teenage couple holding video game console sitting on floor looking away. via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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