EDIT: Thank you all so much for your thoughtful input. It means so much to me.

Hi, all. I’m looking to change my nasty tendency to be a sore loser, particularly when playing games. I tend to personalize losses that are of no consequence. When the game starts to shift against me, I often stop trying as hard because it feels hopeless. My partner is much more proficient at board games than I am, and I don’t want this toxic trait of mine to make games less fun for us. What are some things you all tried to lessen this train of thought, if you’ve experienced it?

  • Track_Shovel@slrpnk.net
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    9 months ago

    I am still this way a bit. Really it boils down to perspective.

    For me I broke it down like this

    1. You get angry about losing because it makes you feel incompetent

    2. I am allowed to enjoy things casually, I don’t have to excel. I can excel at things that actually matter and have real world consequences, like work

    3. There are a million factors that can feed into a loss; luck being one of them

  • Ada@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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    9 months ago

    For me it was a shift in perspective. It sounds trite, but basically, I turned “having fun” in to the thing I’m trying to win. So I still optimise and strategise, but sometimes it’s to make ridiculous moves that will make people laugh. Sometimes it’s to keep the game close, and sometimes it’s just to try and win. It all depends on who I’m playing with and the mood at the table

  • LibertyLizard@slrpnk.net
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    9 months ago

    Reframe your goals. Is the game about winning or is it about having fun with your friends? Almost always the real goal is the latter, but our lizard brains don’t always realize this. Sometimes this may mean you choose to play differently because your goal is to maximize fun rather than win rate. And that way if you do lose you don’t feel bad because you still had a good time.

  • electric_nan@lemmy.ml
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    9 months ago

    I just stopped competing. I’m not a good loser or winner haha. I really like cooperative games.

    • Deconceptualist@lemm.ee
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      9 months ago

      I’ve felt this way for a long time. The stress of competition and navigating other people made me feel grumpy if I was losing and maybe a bit arrogant when I won, and it brought everything down. So I said forget it. No more PvP, give me co-op or I’ll just go solo.

      But recently a friend pulled me into his Magic: The Gathering group, a game I always thought I wouldn’t like. They’ve all been very patient and encouraging about teaching me and another newbie how to play, providing all the cards, and just generally being excellent. Having a friendly and good-natured group makes it all feel so different.

      We’re just having fun, there are no real stakes, and I like that. And even if I got more serious about planning my deck and competing, I feel like they would totally go along with that. Or it could stay as purely a reason to hang out and socialize, which is great and something I value a lot differently after the pandemic years.

  • Sprucie@feddit.uk
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    9 months ago

    My partner also doesn’t like losing, and so we bought a few cooperative games instead. Now we both have a great time regardless, as we both win or lose together. Aeon’s End and Spirit Island are two games which we play which we particularly enjoy!

  • NevelioKrejall@ttrpg.network
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    9 months ago

    Two approaches. Mixed success with both.

    1. Choose games that don’t make you feel bad. This can mean playing more cooperative games, or it can mean offering to referee or sit out games you know will just piss you off. For me, the chance of winning isn’t appealing enough to outweigh the chance of ruining the game for someone else. It helps to identify what exactly it is about losing that makes you so sour. I have a hard time with games like Cards Against Humanity because the card combinations that are funny to me usually aren’t funny to anyone else because they didn’t go on the ADHD field trip with me to make those connections. It starts to feel like a popularity contest that I’m losing because my brain is wired wrong, and it’s hard not to take that personally.

    2. Set different goals in the games you’re playing, and define ‘winning’ for yourself based on those goals. I used to get annoyed every time my friends pulled out settlers of Catan. I would do what made sense to me each turn, but I’d always lose anyway either to random chance or just not having enough RAM in my brain. Even on the rare occasions I won I often wouldn’t have fun with it because I spent so much of the game being frustrated. So I decided the only thing I cared about in the game was getting one of the bonus goals, usually ‘longest road’. That was much easier to focus on, and it took all the pressure off me to win. After a while it became kind of a running joke.

    It’s not perfect, and it doesn’t happen in a vacuum either. Sore losers often have anger issues they’re not dealing with (I know I did!) and figuring that stuff out will help in more areas of your life than just board games.

    Your mileage may vary.

    Good luck!

  • SchrodingersPat@lemmy.ml
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    9 months ago

    Losing gives you a chance to practice being happy for someone else. Remember board games especially are an excuse for you and a bunch of people you like to sit at a table and do something fun. If you can’t find joy in simply playing a game, just take a moment to appreciate the joy and excitement of the people around you.

  • donuts@kbin.social
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    9 months ago

    Mainly just emotionally growing up along with developing a general self-awareness that being a sore loser makes you look pathetic.

    I used to get way too mad playing online fighting games like Street Fighter 4, but thankfully I got over it by realizing a few things:

    1. I wouldn’t dream of reacting that way to losing in person, because I know that it’s an embarrassing way for a grown ass man or woman to react to losing a game. It’s fine to play games competitively and anyone who does knows that it can be frustrating to lose. But you only end up losing twice if you make yourself look like a petty little shithead. I’m guessing you’re playing online games, but just ask yourself if you would act the same way in an offline setting–most people wouldn’t, so you probably shouldn’t.

    2. You’re probably losing because you’re doing a bad job, and lashing out at yourself, your opponent or your teammates robs you of any chance to learn or improve.

    I’m mostly a fan of fighting games and solo RTS, but I’ve played my fair share of CS, Apex and other team-based games. Solo games are simple. If you’re playing a fighting game and you’re getting hit by stupid annoying shit, it’s your fault for hitting buttons at the wrong time, for being on your back foot or not knowing how to block, plain and simple. If you’re playing an RTS and you get cheesed with a canon rush or some gimmicky shit, that’s also something that you need to be able to deal with.

    If you’re playing a team game you might be tempted to flame your teammates for losing a match, but you either need to play with people who have the same level of skill and dedication as you, become good enough alone to carry a team of randoms, or simply care less about winning and focus on your own individual performance. Don’t waste your time and energy being a dick to your teammates whether you think they’re bad or not, if you’re not playing on an established team then you don’t really have any business taking that game super seriously and it reflects more badly on you than being good at a game. If you’re playing with random people, expect random results.

    1. If you care about actually being good, then long-time improvement is much more important than short-term wins and losses. Nobody can win every time and just because you lose once doesn’t mean you’re bad. Conversely, it’s just as easy to get a fraudulent win off of a fluke or bad play from your opponent(s). So, if you really want to be good at a game you have to have other, better metrics for how well you’re actually playing.

    If I’m playing Street Fighter for example, instead of focusing on individual wins and loses in a single play session, I’d much rather focus on improving some aspect of my gameplay that I know is weak. Maybe I don’t hit my anti-airs enough, so I want to focus on punishing jumps as much as possible. Maybe I’m not taking advantage of opening my opponent up enough, so I want to focus on consistently hitting bigger combos. I find that setting a goal for myself other than “just win as much as possible”, helps me to keep my head in the right place while actually improving as a player.

    So, TLDR: If you wouldn’t act like a little bitch about losing in person, then you shouldn’t do it at home either because it’s a bad look and you’re making yourself a bigger loser for no reason. If you lash out at your opponent or teammates for losing instead of reflecting on your own performance, then you’re just doing yourself a disservice when it comes to getting better. And finally, winning and losing doesn’t mean shit compared to actually making sure you’re playing well, so change your metrics for success to things that you know are more meaningful.

      • fmstrat@lemmy.nowsci.com
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        9 months ago

        While I did upvote you on this, I think it’s a matter of scale. Some things in that scale are certainly worth being bothered over, especially if you’re younger or have rapid life changes. However I fully agree things like games fit in there (for me).

        That being said, everyone is built different, and what I might think is trivial could be the most important thing in someone else’s life in that moment and bother them for days. So I tend to lean towards the 6 month range, as it covers most everything.

    • Carighan Maconar@lemmy.world
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      9 months ago

      Exactly this. For me, life happened. My life has way bigger issues than being upset about or even truly recognizing a loss in a game.

  • teawrecks@sopuli.xyz
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    9 months ago
    • Think of the flip side: if you’re always winning, you’re never being challenged. You might as well be playing against children, the outcome would be the same. It’s only when you’re losing that you can learn something and get better.
    • I recommend trying new strategies that you’re not sure about, probably guarantee yourself to lose, but try to understand why and whether there is anything useful to incorporate into a different strategy.
    • Don’t let yourself go into “try-hard” mode until you’re sure you can handle a loss like an adult, that’s the real win. Until then, force yourself to lose repeatedly to get used to it.
    • When a game starts, assume you’ve already either won or lost based on your current skill level and the luck you’ll have during the game, and focus instead on learning something new that will help you to win the next match.
    • Lastly, be happy for your opponent just like you would be happy for a friend having good fortune.

    These are all skills I had to develop to combat ladder anxiety in SC2, or being sunk in SoT. In SC2, there would be stretches where I would win 10 in a row and feel like I wasted my time because I didn’t learn anything. What good is winning 10 times just because my opponents blundered? Not like I have anything to be proud of or to use to win future matches.

    “I never lose, I either win or learn.” - Nelson Mandela

  • tyrefyre@sh.itjust.works
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    9 months ago

    You don’t like to lose? Guess what the other person doesn’t like to either. Try being happy for them when they get a win, instead of down on yourself for losing. Learn from any mistakes you made or learn how they were able to win.

    No one wants to play with someone who always beats them.

  • IcecreamMelts@lemmy.world
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    9 months ago

    My MIL. She would eat that shit up and make it 10x worse if she noticed Id be a sore loser. They were the only people we would play games with, my parents hate them. I love them, so I had to learn how to deal with it.

    First I had to just keep it inside. Then I found out, I don’t actually care that much. As long as my partner loses as well though.

    She’d make remarks, asking if I wanted to talk about how I lost, with a pity voice. Stuff like that.