If your crush drops terms like “RPG,” “kill streak,” and “rage quit ” on the regular, you may be pursuing a serious gamer. And to truly understand them, you could have a lot to learn. Enter this lovely guide.
The video game industry is an absolute behemoth, growing by hundreds of millions of players year after year. Nearly 70% of Americans play video games, meaning you have probably dated a player before — even if they aren’t a self-professed “gamer.”
When it comes to dating a true gamer, i.e. someone who considers video-game play a core part of their life, these four Twitch streamers know all about what it takes to level up your skills.
1. Understand gaming is not just for kids.
One of the biggest misconceptions about gaming is that it’s a sign of immaturity and a waste of time.
“The biggest issue I find with non-gamers is that they view gaming as a hobby for kids,” 26-year-old Harry, who streams on Twitch under the username HealMeHarry, says. “In turn, they don’t give any respect or thought to how it can be a very healthy recreational activity or even career.”
If you are dating a gamer, don’t infantilize their passion. Will, 31, who streams on Twitch under the username Black Oni, has experienced this with a potential girlfriend or two. “In those cases, I had a candid conversation about expectations in the relationship, and expressed my passion for gaming as a non-negotiable,” he says.
2. Respect your partner’s passion.
With understanding gaming on a deeper level comes respecting gaming as a whole — even if you don’t fully get it.
That doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a gamer yourself. Justin, 30, who streams on Twitch as Justin_Nick, wisely points out that the best relationships are between two people with individual passions and goals.
“One of the most important things I’ve learned is that people can’t neglect their individuality,” he says. “People who date serious gamers should cultivate their own passions as individuals, too.”
After all, a core part of any relationship is wanting to share your interests and passions with your partner. “If we can share and be excited for our passions together, that’s the ideal situation,” says 23-year-old Annie, who streams on Twitch under the username Annie.
3. Show interest.
Regardless of whether you’re a gaming pro, asking even the most basic questions shows you are willing to learn about something that means a lot to your partner.
“Ask them how they are enjoying the latest game they got or if there are any new games coming soon that they are interested in,” Harry suggests. “Just generally engage with their passions on a level you’re comfortable with.”
Getting a feel for their specific gaming interests can help you have more tailored conversations — and express your interest in other ways.
“Share fun or interesting gaming content with them,” Will says. “Whether it’s memes, pictures, or articles, sometimes that extra step of bringing them content they may not have seen otherwise can show your partner that you care.”
4. Game with them.
Even if you think you haven’t gamed before, chances are you actually have. Maybe it was a simple game of Angry Birds or rousing round of PokemonGo. So don’t dismiss the invitation to play your partner’s favorite game. Will, for example, loves when his fiancé plays with him — even if she isn’t a pro.
“Have humility in knowing you won’t immediately be amazing, and let your partner teach you how to succeed,” he says. “Gaming can be a surprisingly bonding experience.”
“You aren’t there to try super hard. You are there to hang out,” Annie adds. “If you’re a little clumsy in the game, it’s actually cute.”
The experience doesn’t have to start or end with your partner’s game of choice. Consider exploring the vast gaming world together to find new and exciting options that appeal to you both.
“There are so many titles now that cater to just about every imaginable taste. You may even realize that you really enjoy playing something,” Justin says. “It still may not be for everyone in the end, but it can’t hurt to give it a try — and it shows you care.”
5. Don’t judge.
Gamers are seriously sick of being judged for their habits, and the last place they want more of it is from their partner.
“Don’t shame them for geeking out over new game information or something that happens in a game,” Harry says.
A non-judgemental partner should also understand gaming isn’t a waste of time.
“Don’t ever belittle, comment, or complain that they’re spending too much time gaming — unless of course you don’t get to actually spend time with them or they’re ignoring responsibilities,” Will says. “Saying something like, ‘Wow, you’re still playing?’ would make me feel bad, like you’re judging me for how I’m spending my time.”
Acceptance is a pillar of any successful relationship, and one with a gamer is no exception.
“Acceptance doesn’t mean you have to love gaming yourself, it just means that you enjoy seeing someone you love do something that they love,” Justin says.
6. Celebrate their wins.
Cheering on your partner as they game is the perfect way to show respect for their hobby and interest in their success. Consider it a way to convey that you’re their number-one supporter — in a multitude of ways.
“It’s like watching your significant other play [any] sport,” Annie says of cheering on your S.O. “Even if you don’t entirely understand it, you can still be hype about it — and excited for them.”
7. Remember this one thing.
“Bringing a gamer food while they are gaming is like the best thing in the world,” Annie says. You heard it here first.