Playing Nice

Some tips for playing tag

No, it’s not Mrs. Manners to the rescue, nor is Polite Polly calling your pumpkin. We just know how easy it is to get frustrated or even angry while playing a difficult game, but if we’re not careful, that anger and frustration can lead to terrible moments for a time that should be fun. The following is offered in an effort to keep everything fun and entertaining during a group play session.


1. Let’s encourage each other. Even if they compete against each other in a boxing match or car race, take some time to congratulate another player for making a smooth or crafty move. It doesn’t have to be a kiss, but when the tension is high and the desire to impress is high, you can help ease your stress by simply throwing a few compliments here and there.

2. Be patient. Your fellow players may not be as fast, coordinated, or smart as you. So when you notice your regular pace of play slowing down, don’t criticize. You may be calmly planning your next move or offering to help if you notice that your friends seem lost. This will encourage cooperation and relive some of the stress that comes from playing a difficult game.

3. Take breaks. Let your group find appropriate places in a game to pause, take advantage, and get up to stretch, have a snack, use the bathroom, talk about school, or watch some silly commercials on TV. A long period of play is exhausting and stressful at the same time.

4. Play an inclusive game. By this we mean making efforts to ensure that everyone in the group contributes to the completion of the game. You never want another person to feel left out or just hanging around to fill the space. Create opportunities for everyone involved to participate and help play.

5. Listen to others. You may think you know all the answers about a game or game system, but listen to what other members of the group have to say. You can learn something new.

6. Invite the “weird guy”. This advice obviously comes after the horrific Virginia Tech massacre. The accounts circulating in this story indicate that the young man responsible was a loner and a victim of bullying even as a teenager. Sometimes all it takes to avoid such things is a simple effort to get in touch with someone. We are not suggesting that an invitation to a game party would have saved the lives of more than 33 college students, but we are suggesting that making an effort to make others feel welcome and loved is a big step toward eliminating the isolation that is know what causes. these kinds of senseless acts.

7. Promise to keep your voice level and swear to a minimum. This is almost taken for granted, but to avoid discussion, agree beforehand not to overstep the line when it comes to discussing a particular strategy or selecting a game to play. Some of the most serious arguments come from the silliest arguments. But you can prevent an outbreak within your group simply by staying calm throughout the session.

Do you see now? This is not a bad list. All of the things we have suggested are certainly “doable” and really work to create a calm and pleasant environment.

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