You play with your husband on Heroes all the time. How do I get my SO to do the same?
It’s a common question that plagues many of us. Be it friend or SO, we just can’t fathom why someone has never played video games. It’s, after all, a legitimate part of who you are, so them not liking it is almost a slap to the face. Don’t be discouraged, though. There’s always hope of future co-op games if you approach the subject from understanding rather than selfish desires.
Chapter 1: The Psychology of Trepidation
Not liking something comes with a whole host of psychological hang-ups that we may or may not be attuned to. I, for instance, have always been (and remain) extremely reluctant toward fashion and makeup.
My go-to reasons are that both are financially wasteful and doing that would mean I’d have to sacrifice something to make enough time in the day to see to it (and I’ll be damned if I’m dropping weights for fashion). However, if I’m completely honest about it, the heart of the matter is that I was teased relentlessly by girls that did care about that stuff. In middle school, I was ostracized because my shoes were New Balance, not Adidas. My clothes were not designer labels. My look was frumpy. I also felt further justified in my hatred of the stuff inadvertently by my mom who (rightfully) taught me to always love myself for who I am no matter what others think.
And this story is not unique. Look back at your own emotionally jarring experiences. There was no doubt at least one thing, one event that caused you to carry around a burning hatred for something. The same goes for your SO and video games. It could be they never had any in their homes growing up, so it became a staple of those acne-covered, BO-wafting teenage boys would talk about. Maybe they did try to get into it but some nerd’s misplaced rage scared them away, making them avoid it so they could avoid future undue aggression. Maybe they did try it and just didn’t find it enjoyable.
Either way, if progress is to be made, you need to get to the root of the problem, and this is going to take a lot of patience from you. No doubt if you’ve gotten them to try it in the past to disastrous results, they were no doubt scared, overwhelmed or otherwise prone to quitting after the first bad experience (as a sort of validation as to why they shouldn’t keep at it). This is okay. I mean, just look at all the different ways our primitive brain causes us to legitimately fear the absurd.
To take this further, it’s been exhibited that having torn feelings (toward humans, at least) is far more stressful than simply choosing love or hate. Since most of us prefer the path of least resistance, choosing complete dislike over uncertainty leads to an easier existence. If we assume the same dilemma presents itself when faced with non-human entities, this explains why most either love or hate video games.
While the nitty gritty of causing someone to like something is still a matter of debate, this paper, though originally designed to help teachers find ways to engage their students, nonetheless is a great starting point in figuring out how to even approach the subject without immediately being shut down. The theory is that interest is what sparks the desire to delve into deeper learning on the subject. If your SO’s interest is piqued by a video game, they’ll no doubt be more receptive toward experiencing more like it through a series of four evolutionary stages of their interest.
1. Triggered Situational Interest
The first step is to trigger interest. This is typically an external force, and things like puzzles have proven to be the most effective means of engagement if only because of the challenge it presents.
2. Maintained Situational Interest
As the name suggests, this interest is there after the initial trigger has worn off. This engagement is usually held until the end of, in your case, gameplay and then subsequently felt throughout the course of each gaming session until the game is complete.
3. Emerging Individual Interest
Once the game has intrigued them enough, they’ll begin seeking out further experiences with the medium on their own. Studies show this is typically because they now have a collection of positive experiences associated with the medium and want more.
4. Well-Developed Individual Interest
While this final phase is never assuredly going to happen, it is the point in time when the medium now becomes a thing they seek out on a relatively regular basis because they now find value in pursuing it. This is also the time when they’re more apt toward constructive criticism to aid their knowledge on the subject itself (ever wonder why so many fawn over the meta?).
Though a bit heavy-handed, the actual process doesn’t need to extremely complex. If you really want to introduce your SO to your world of gaming, it all boils down to the fact that you a) need a relationship where you both are willing to try out new things for the other and b) make the gaming experience safe.
Next week, I’ll delve further into why you need to have a give and take relationship before you even think of getting your SO to play Heroes in Chapter 2: Trying New Things.
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