One time I almost broke up with a guy over a game of Words with Friends. We had been dating about a year, with no noteworthy fights to speak of, when the word ‘qat’ threatened to destroy it all.
I had been playing WWF for a few weeks, he was a novice. However, since WWF is basically Scrabble, I felt we were on a pretty level playing field. Everyone has played Scrabble.
It was a tight game when I threw out Q-A-T.
He was all like, ‘qat’ is not a word! You never say qat!
I was all like, it is a word and who cares if say it! Everyone uses it to get rid of Qs!
He was all like, I’ve never played WWF so it’s not fair to use that word!
I was all like, what, I have to check and see if you know every word before I use it?!
It was all very illogical to me, yet I continued to argue. Over a game. For days.
He was steadfast in his position that I was a conspiring cheater…but I was equally stubborn in my defense of qat and my insistence that he was just an idiot at WWF. I got so loud and upset on our final phone conversation about it that, to this day, I wonder what exactly was pushing my buttons.
Why was I getting so worked up arguing with a person who has an obvious problem with losing? Why didn’t I just let it go and laugh off his poor sportsmanship? Why was I willing to break up (for real) with him over it? I still don’t really know. It was all very anti growing toward the sun.
Then a couple of days ago, it came up again. No, not qat. This time he was lamenting a contest his team at work had entered and lost. He said it was demoralizing, that they weren’t appreciated and now they were all on the boat to Bitter Island.
I immediately flashed back to Qat-gate. Like it wasn’t possible that the other teams just deserved it more! Like it had to be a personal affront to his entire career at ABC Corporation! Like he was a little tiny baby who needed his binky!
Contest noun con·test \ˈkän-ˌtest\
: an event in which people try to win by doing something better than others
: a struggle or effort to win something
A contest, NOT UNLIKE A GAME, means there will be winners and losers. We all know that going in. And yeah, it sucks when you don’t win, but someone has to lose. If you can’t handle losing…if it raises your blood pressure that much…if it throws you into an ocean of rage….just don’t enter.
Now truthfully, I’d expect that I’d be able to pull off some empathizing and blah blah blah no matter how silly I thought it was. But I couldn’t. So while I don’t really understand the competitiveness and the sore loser-ish-ness of Mr X, I understand my reaction to that behavior even less.
As Hannah likes to say, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯