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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 March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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