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How to Not Be a Sore Loser
psychology

How to Not Be a Sore Loser

Nick Douglas, Gawker Media

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

My colleague Patrick Allan once explained how to avoid being a sore loser at competitive games . Let's revisit his lesson in a higher-stakes context. Say, an election.

Congratulate the Winner Right Away

"A simple handshake or 'well done' completely shifts the spotlight to them," says Allan. "That way, if you need to sulk, you can go do it on your own without drawing unwanted attention."

Think About the Real World Consequences (or Lack Thereof)

"You want to prove that you're the best," Allan says, "and that you deserve respect. This kind of thinking is hard to shake because it's ingrained in your personality, but it can really get the best of you when things go south."

Remove Yourself from the Situation If It's Too Much

According to Allan, "Saying nothing is always better than saying-or doing-something you'll regret later. If your anger is raging inside, leave the table, put down your controller, stand up from your desk, or take a seat on the bench. It won't always look good to others, but it will look better than swinging your arms and screaming."

Practice Being a Graceful Winner

"Being a graceful winner can help you avoid being a sore loser too," says Allan. "If you can avoid gloating or talking trash when you happen to be victorious, the people you play against will probably return the same respect."

Remember Why You're Playing to Begin With

You need to remember the point of it all, says Allan. "It's okay to be competitive, and nobody ever said you had to enjoy losing, but it's important to keep things in perspective. Winning and losing are just very small parts of the whole experience."

In conclusion, says Allan, "Losing is an opportunity to learn, to get better, and prove to others that a loss doesn't shake you. Losing hurts because we fear that others will lose respect for us and our abilities, but if you can take your loss in stride, you'll always gain respect no matter what."

It's important to learn how to lose, especially if you've got a lot more losing ahead of you.

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