Conflict is what makes all good books, movies, and shows, well, good. Conflict is what sets all heroes on their journeys. But conflict can create a hostile environment for others and for you. Here’s how to chill, think twice, and resist the urge to add fuel to a fire.
Communicate, then communicate some more
Back in the early days of gaming, you sat in the same room and played against your friends. Sure, there was trash talk, but being in the same space was sometimes enough to clear the air. Now we have amazing tech at our fingertips and we can play against strangers around the world. But this tech means we’re often relying on nothing more than our own internal dialog to read a situation. When was the last time those voices in your head were right about anything, let alone another person’s actions? Now that we can game with anyone, anywhere, you need use your words. Is a player (whether on your team or the opponent’s team) acting weird? Making you feel bad? When that bad feeling comes up, it’s time to take it to voice chat. Voice chat is the best and quickest way to diffuse hostility while building bonds between your friends. Be as clear as you can when you’re talking it out by using your own headphones and a ModMic.
Stay positive—it’s healthy for you
According to a 2016 study, pessimism was correlated to an increased risk of dying from coronary heart disease. Not something to be positive about, right? Sometimes it’s not easy being positive when you’re faced with a taunt, a disparaging remark, or getting attitude during game. Even when it’s good-natured it can be hurtful. Let it roll off. Don’t sweat it. Unless it’s a threat, they’re just words. Get your revenge by winning. It could save your life, literally.
Being positive can help dampen your hostility
Lots of hostility in the room? It might be you. Feeling hostile? If you’re always ready for a fight, you could be the problem. Symptoms of hostile people include stubbornness, being impatient, or just being plain hotheaded. Here’s the deal: Being angry and less positive have health effects like high blood pressure or can lead to depression, heart attack or a stroke. Hostility isolates you from other people. In other words, you’re a bummer to be around. We’re not psychologists, but a simple way to diffuse your hostility is recognizing what’s driving it and try to find a solution, for you or for a teammate. Even if you can’t immediately ID the problem, try to give compliments to your teammates AND opponents even when losing. Their own positivity may help bring you up as well. As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats.
Neutralize the downers
Almost as bad as dealing with a hostile teammate or competitor is the downer. You know them. Nothing is ever right and they’re hyper-critical of everyone, except themselves. These downers suck the positivity right out of the room, all the while creating conflict. You want to be inclusive, especially with new players, but you need to snuff out the negativity, fast. This is where you draw the line. You can’t ignore negative people and you can’t appease them—unless you want to create a monster. What you can do is work with them. Remember those Psych 101 classes you barely paid attention to? They were right. Get on voice chat (with your ModMic, of course) and ask your negative pal what’s up. Tell them their negativity is hurting the team. Try to find the root of the problem. It’s in their court now. If it keeps up, it might be time to de-couple. (Remember: No one said teamwork was going to be easy.)
Let the game create the conflict for you. If a game doesn't have enough action to keep you entertained, don’t create your own drama. It’s not only exhausting, it’s boring. By gaming positively, you feel better about yourself, and you’ve created an online gaming environment that’s welcoming to others. Are you up for the challenge? Of course you are!