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A Social Truth about Fun

May 18, 2014

The simple truth

It’s not hard to get people to do what they already want to do.

Barring logistics (“I want to travel the world! But I have no money…”), the fact is if the opportunity is available and people want to do something, they’ll do it and find a way to do it consistently.  It’s not hard, you don’t have to “work” at it – people put in the effort and it’s easy to make happen.

The flipside of that is… if it’s logistically easy, but the activity is still mysteriously “hard” to make happen… people don’t actually want to do it.

Unintentional, but intent is not magic

Our society is pretty bad about getting people to say “no” – usually out of the fear of hurting people’s feelings.  Or, people are out of touch with their own desires and sense of enjoyment as well. So it’s not like people are intentionally being deceptive – they often are unable to recognize or communicate even for themselves what they want or don’t want.

So, a lot of times when I see folks talk about how their game group (never learns the rules, never learn the setting, always has people missing, loses interest really quickly…), it’s a pretty good sign that a good number of the group just aren’t interested in the game being offered.  This is why I emphasize the need for honest communication upfront to avoid stumbling your way through to figuring out what game you’re playing and to help people work out misunderstandings by allowing everyone to at least TRY to be aiming for good intent.

The answer you don’t want to hear

Although people constantly link my The Same Page Tool – it seems that a lot overlook the key point that I make – it cannot help you find a “middle ground” for people who do not want the same thing – it can only highlight that there IS a difference so you can choose to play another game or find a different person to play, if there are different goals.  At the end of the day, a lot of folks come to it for the panacea it doesn’t have: “How can I FORCE someone to do something they don’t want to do, and make it fun?”

When people want the same thing, a lot of things become terribly, terribly easy.   And when people don’t want the same thing, regardless of what they’re claiming, it becomes very hard.

This is true of games, this is true of many social situations and how we treat each other, and also true of many personal goals people have in life.

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