How To Lose With Dignity


I am a winner. I win most everything I choose to participate in. I win at video games, I win at board games, I win at card games, I win at guessing games. I win Christmases, birthdays, Halloweens and Passovers. I win at life. But even I, a winner of everything, am not exempt to that which is most foul: Losing. It is inevitable that one must lose, either before a record-breaking winning streak or directly following one. It is just the way of things, for there cannot be victories without defeats. However, there are actions you can take to insure even if you lose, you can win. Yes, I will teach you how to win losing. This is How To Lose With Dignity.

You can trust me, I have an entourage. Do you have an entourage? I didn't think so.

The first step you must face when encountering a situation that looks like you could have lost regards assessing whether you have truly lost. Many times, your own sense of self-doubt will kick in and assume that you have failed. Do not be so quick to rush into defeat. Stop for a moment and look very closely in front of you. If you are playing Chess, is your King really in Checkmate? If you are playing poker, is your hand really a losing hand? If you are playing a video game, does your screen clearly show that you have been defeated? There is always time to stop and inspect when one is faced with the possibility of a loss. Remain calm and collected and never let your opponent suspect that they have won.

If your preliminary investigation reveals that, yes, you have lost, continue to remain calm. Has the other player come to the same conclusion? If not, don’t give him any ideas. Simply continue on as if you’ve only just begun to fight. If it dawns on your opposition later that they had already won, simply remark, “Ah, but you didn’t call me on it, so we may never know.” Unless they can rewind time, a feat that is highly unlikely, your loss will be entirely swept under the rug in favor of your assumed victory.

And swagger. Always swagger. Just like Ducreux here.

However, if your opponent is not a simpleton and they notice you have lost, once more, continue remaining calm. Question their judgment coyly yet firmly. “Oh, am I now? Are you sure about that? I don’t remember your pieces being able to move like THAT. Do you?” Allow doubt to seep into their head. “Are you REALLY sure the game ends when the other player is out of money? Oh ho, tut tut, is THAT how you’ve always played?” It’s important that you are using a high-class, sophisticated voice for this part. Imagine yourself with a monocle and a glass of brandy, swilling it to and fro as you eye your enemy. This step is very important, more so than some may think. While the goal is to allow doubt to overtake your foe in the immediate moment, planting the seed of discontent to be awakened later when they are alone is equally as satisfying, thinking of them tossing and turning as they sleep, forever wondering if they have been wrong this whole time and Knights can’t jump pieces. A loss now may mean a victory later. More on that in a bit.

We can safely assume that at this point you have indeed lost and your opponent has indeed come to the same rational conclusion. This is the difficult part, but it is vital that you don’t overplay your downfall. Congratulate your new “friend” with a hearty “Good show old bean.” Being gracious, if done properly, will throw them off guard and prepare you for your next move: Backhanded comments. “Good show old bean, we should play again when I care about winning.” Don’t be petty (“This game is stupid!”). Rather, remain suave in your actions. Thread all your backhanded compliments with silk. “That was a pretty good game. Not the BEST game I’ve ever played, but still not too bad I suppose…” Better yet, try saying, “Good game,” then look at your watch and say, “It’s for the best anyway, I’m late as it is.” This will imply that you’ve been rushed to play at less than your best, once more sowing the seeds of doubt in your opponents subconscious to make them think, “Did I REALLY beat him or did I just get lucky?”

Throw this out if you get the chance. Do it quick and often.

There are times when you may feel that this loss simply will not do, so you may forgo the attempts at getting away quickly. This can be risky, but if you choose to play again for honor’s sake, keep a few simple tactics in mind. The first is the rule of “Best of Three.” Everyone knows what Best of Three is, and no winner ever likes to hear it spoken. “Not bad, but shall we make it…BEST OF THREE?” This will throw them into a tailspin if they are weak spirited, especially when coupled with the psychological damage you should have inflicted previously. Be aware though that should you lose a Best of Three, you have failed forever. It is imperative that you beat them not just once, but twice in direct succession. Think carefully before making the attempt.

Yet, there is a way to eat your cake and have it as well. If you are playing a game that looks to be shifting in your opponent’s favor and you feel there is a good chance you are going to lose, throw the game. No not literally (although effective for situations most dire). Play the rest of the game sloppily. Make beginner errors. Ask for clarification of the rules. Do any and everything to make your opponent feel as if you are easy prey. Then, when you get the chance to spring a Best of Three on him, strike fast and strike hard. If performed properly, the other player will be stupefied as you demonstrate your abilities. They will surely feel as if you toyed with them during the last game, and with their confidence shot, dominating a Best of Three should be pie (wait, were we talking cake or pie?).

Sort of like this, except you want to be both the Alien and the Predator.

If nothing you do seems to work on your opponent, you must do what is most difficult: Realize that this person is better than you. They have beaten you and therefore deserve your respect. Not much, but just enough. Congratulate them and continue to talk about the game, specifically talking strategies. But wait! Don’t give your REAL strategies away. This is one more step toward winning next time. Listen carefully to strategies they use and really get inside their head so that you may better attack them when you play again. At the same time, feed them poor strategies in hopes that they will either use them in the future or attempt to defend against them, wasting pointless time. All battling for sport is 90% psychological and 10% actually playing. Would I lie about a statistic like that? Oh ho, tut-tut, don’t be silly.

Now you have the skills on hand to Lose With Dignity. On the other hand, if you are playing alone, act as childish and petty as you possibly can because, pff, who cares? Playing a video game on the hardest setting and die? Clearly the game was programmed poorly. Solitaire hit a stalemate? Meh, the probability breaks the fun of the game anyway. Can’t get the paddleball to work for you? “Eff this game.” Follow these simple steps and you too can learn how to win losing. It’s just that easy.

Want more articles like this? Check these out:

How To Game Correctly

Ten Ways The Real World Would Ruin Video Game Worlds

Game Rentals: The Poor Man’s Guide


About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

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