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

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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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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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