Social life is hard. I mean, there’s so much to worry about. You have to look right, say the right things, and appear to be enjoying the social interaction instead of expressing your desire to be at home in your pajamas watching Netflix. But as with all things, games teach us a number of life hacks that help us have better conversations.
Hack #1: Font Color
When you’re talking to your bestie but thinking about what you want to have for dinner, it’s always good to know what parts of his or her story are actually important. That’s where the font color comes in. When someone says something really important that you need to pay attention to, the words will turn into a bright, attention-grabbing color. Usually red. So feel free to doze off until a red word pops up in the conversation. At that point, it’s important that you know what’s going on.
Hack #2: Keywords
This hack comes from Final Fantasy II, and works hand-in-hand with hack #1. One big problem with conversations is that there are way too many topics that could potentially be discussed. Weather, work, family, video games, television, novels, hobbies, politics, religion, restaurants – there are way too many options. So how do you choose one?
That’s where the words from hack #1 come in. Anytime you hear a colored word, you know it’s important. So what you need to do is remember it. Then when you have a conversation with a different person, just bring up the keywords you know. They’ll offer their two cents about the keywords, and once you’ve run out, the conversation is over. Talk about convenient!
Hack #3: Outcomes
We have Star Wars: The Old Republic to thank for this. Perhaps the scariest aspect of every conversation is that you have no idea how the other person will react. You might say something you think is perfectly acceptable, like “totally, books are always better than the movie adaptations,” only to find out the other person is an avid believer in movie adaptations. What’s the precedent for something like that? How in the world do you avoid it? By knowing the outcomes in advance, that’s how!
This is pretty simple. When you’re choosing from the small selection of possible sentences in your head, just pay a little extra attention and you’ll see if the other person will perceive your words as “light” or “dark.” This effectively tells you whether they’ll have a positive reaction to what you’re going to say. Just choose the sentence with the most beneficial short-term reactions, and you’re golden!
Hack #4: Repeating
The basic rule of exploration is to talk to every single person. All of them. Some random guy lying face-down in a bar somewhere may very well have the secret to immortality and just not know it. So it can be really frustrating if you don’t understand his slurred mumbling the first time around. What do you do if you don’t understand someone?
It’s actually really easy. Just talk to the person again. And again. And again. Because as long as you ask nicely, the same person will repeat the exact same phrase, word for word, until you understand what he or she is trying to tell you.
Hack #5: Silence
My personal favorite conversation hack. If you truly despise conversation and don’t want to be social, don’t be. Be the silent protagonist of your epic adventure. You’d think this silence would interfere with your ability to communicate, but as The Legend of Zelda has taught us, people can often understand exactly what you wanted to say as if you said it out loud. Why bother talking if you don’t have to? Chances are, if you have a friend nearby who understands what you want to say, that person will speak for you after a few moments to avoid the awkward silence. And that’s part of what makes this approach so great: if you’re comfortable in the quiet and your conversation partner is not, you show dominance over them. Your patience and quietness will overwhelm them, increasing their respect for you. In the real world, quietness = strength.
Hopefully these hacks will help you be more effective out in the real world. Try one or two and then discuss in the comments how these hacks benefited you. Chances are, conversations will be smooth sailing from now on.