When meeting someone for the first time, it is often recommended to not talk politics nor religion, and to certainly not play a game! It might start your relationship off on the wrong foot or stop it right in its tracks. Tradition suggests a quiet dinner or movie might be a better way to go. However, games may be the perfect choice on the menu for a new couple. Let’s discover why specifically table top games are an excellent way to not only begin a relationship, but to enhance it.
First, whether you choose playing a board game or playing cards, this is a creative way to explore a new relationship. Contrary to simply watching a movie where your focus is diverted away from each other, games bring you face-to-face interaction. You can look at and listen to your date while assessing their body language as well, leading to more authentic, fuller communication. Plus, playing games encourages conversation. It creates a topic of discussion and focus, so that you don’t feel totally tongue-tied, such as when going out to dinner on a first date. Further, one side does not have to carry the conversation because each person has equal participation in the activity.
Next, games can reveal a lot about the personalities of each player. A Hasbro gaming study revealed that board games can show your partner’s true colors because you monitor less of your own behavior and reveal hidden aspects of your personality. Through the course of game playing, you discover the opinions, beliefs, skills, character traits, and possibly even the dreams and hopes of your fellow players. For example, if you play the game of Life, you may find that your partner freaks out when their car is loaded with lots of children, or you may discover that they desire to write a book someday. A game such as Monopoly or Settlers of Catan reveals if a person likes to strategize or can spend money wisely. Does your partner have a temper when they roll the Yahtzee dice and come up unlucky? Do they have patience and flexibility when playing Scrabble, or are they a stickler for the rules? Games reveal cutthroat players versus those who are kind and helpful. Be cautious of pursuing a future with someone who cheats, lies, or plays unfairly. If you are double dating, does your partner play well on a team? Are they a bargainer and trader or choose to never reveal their cards? Do they get bored quickly or quit when the odds are stacked against them? This could be a preview of how they will approach marriage and decisions later in life. How do they handle stress? Are they aggressive and competitive or never quite up for the challenge? Games reveal a lot about our personalities and how we approach living our lives. If you truly want to get to know someone, play a game!
Lastly, game playing creates a shared experience. It bonds us to each other and produces shared memories. Various research, including an article by Dr. Sara Taylor on May 15, 2016 entitled “How We Create Connection Through Shared Experience,” reveals that even those who share something negative, such as pain or suffering, create a connection. How much more so, when it’s a positive, pleasant experience. Game playing can be a launching pad to deeper conversations and a sense of community, similar to when people love to share coffee together or a drink after work. This connection creates a shared meaning which can lead to friendship and possibly a deeper relationship. In fact, in his book Fighting For Your Marriage, co-authored with Scott M. Stanley and Susan L. Blumberg, Howard Markman explains that the more that fun and friendship are a part of your lives together, the happier you will be in your marriage.
So why not try playing a table top game for your next date night? Besides being a creative way to explore a new relationship, it can give great insight into whether you want to pursue a deeper relationship. In the words of Plato, from the character card in the game Headhunter, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
- “Why Couples Should Play Board Games Together” bead.game/blog
- “By Playing Board Games You Can Build Better Relationships” https://gigazine.net/gsc_news/en/20170831.playing.board.games.relationship
- “Hasbro Gaming Study Reveals Board Games Can Show Partners True Colours
- “5 Reasons Board Games Are Good For A Marriage” yourtango.com
- Fighting For Your Marriage, 1994, Markman, Stanley, & Blumberg