How To Teach Yourself To Handle Defeat With Grace

October 12, 2018

Are you proud of the way you handle losing? It happens to the best of us. We are fully invested in a board game, heart and soul, and suddenly hope is gone and a loss marks its territory. It is no wonder losing is not easy to handle gracefully.

You can train yourself to lose gracefully just like you train yourself to win a game. Losing gracefully comes naturally to nearly no one. A player must train themselves to handle a loss, so the game can continue in the future.


Recognize your poor reaction to losing a game.

Sore losers come in all shapes and sizes. There is the kind to start flipping tables, and there is the kind that boldly states “I would have won if you hadn’t had such a powerful [insert game element].” Both kinds ruin winning celebrations. Neither is fun to be around.


If losing poorly has cost you a friendship or regular game nights in the past, you already know about the problem.


First things first.

The most basic strategy to handle losing a board game is to do the following in this order.

  1. Congratulate the winner. With sincerity, not sarcasm.
  2. Now that the attention is on the winner, excuse yourself from the room.


Difficult emotions do not blow over in an instant. You know how you handle a loss. Take your time to manage your emotion, process what happened, and maybe consider what you’ve learned from the experience.


By excusing yourself you are preventing yourself from acting out in front of your friends.


Put the game in perspective.

You spent the game fully invested in your strategy and skills. Many players enjoy their board game of choice simply because when they are playing it is like nothing else exists. This is a very difficult emotional state to explain to someone who doesn’t play.


Now the game has ended and your loss takes the place of what was once your whole world. To handle defeat, try putting the game back in perspective. Quickly remind yourself that you are not battling the underworld with an army of ghouls by your side. You are hanging out with friends you wouldn’t trade for the world.


While you don’t want to let this down-to-earth mentality rob you of the thrill of playing the game, it will come in handy once the game has ended and you need to be human again.


Learning to lose with grace is a very valuable skill. It is worth taking the effort to learn.