Let Your Guard Down and Just Play the Game.
I love board games. I like winning them but mostly I like the social time and the challenge of a good game. For a long time, I have struggled with social anxiety. I have a deep fear that if I make one wrong move during a social situation people will hate me. This is especially prevalent when it comes to games. I worry if I enjoy games the way I like to people will never invite me to play again. You may be able to relate to this and know how hard it is to enjoy yourself when you never let your guard down. Recently people close to me have been encouraging me to just play the game and not worry what others think.
I am sure my anxiety around board games probably stemmed from my childhood. Not many of my friends like board games and one of the few who did would toss over the Risk board every time it looked like he would lose… Since I wanted to keep playing games I often tried not to win. I would try and keep things calm and fun, at least for the other players, so they would keep playing with me. Since then this way of playing has become a habit. Unfortunately, sometimes that means I cannot enjoy the game because I am worrying if people are annoyed at me for whatever I am doing.
Anxiety gets in the way
This constant fear and attempted observation of what others think and want me to do during a game is most obvious in role playing type games. The few times I have tried to play Dungeons and Dragons have been huge frustrating stress filled days. To play this game you are supposed to be doing whatever you want within the rules. If you don’t let your guard down and just have fun the game is terrible.
Other games like Cards Against Humanity can also be challenging because you are supposed to be trying to choose the things other people will think are funny, but if you are so focused on not choosing something dumb it is hard to enjoy the humor.
Let your guard down!
Anyway, This weekend I let my guard down! It is so exciting for me. We were playing Secret Hitler with the cousins and I did it! I just played the game and then I lied about a card I got (which is half the point of the game). I was worried I would get called out and no one would want to play with me again. But instead, it had my desired reaction. My fib got people questioning the loyalty of the other player. Guess what? No one was mad. My little fib simply made the game more enjoyable because it added a bit of drama!
The best thing was after that game I felt more relaxed and was able to enjoy the evening more than usual!
I encourage those of you struggling with anxiety to find a way to try and relax in a social situation you are normally anxious in. It might just turn out the way you want it to!
What are some situations in which you need to let your guard down?
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