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'Clever me' Game

 

Explanations > Behaviours > Games >  'Clever me' Game

Purpose | Game play | Discussion | So what?

  

Purpose

Primary: Attention, Identity

Secondary: Social capital

Game play

  • A does something that displays intellect, skills, values, etc.
  • B perceives what A has done, for example by A manipulating the situation so B 'finds out'.
  • B congratulates A on being so clever, good, etc.
  • A gains social position and identity reinforcement and hence feels good.

Discussion

This also gains B social capital for their recognition of A, and so A may repay this with other forms of recognition of B.

This can be a parent-child pattern where B is the parent giving approval to A.

In its dysfunctional form, A does not repay the social capital and simply continues to seek approval and recognition. B either falls into a consistency trap (where they feel obliged to behave consistently and hence have to keep on giving strokes) or is affected by reactance and snaps back, allowing A to then flip into a 'Poor me' game. Either way, A wins.

So what?

If you want others to recognize what you have done, set up the situation where they find out. Thank them by recognizing them in return.

Recognize other people when they have done well. Notice where they seem to be angling for approval. When you congratulate them, you may also be positioning yourself as a parent figure, from which you can continue parent-child conversations.

See also

Transactional Analysis, 'Poor me' Game, 'Recognize me' game, Reactance Theory, Consistency Theory

Eric Berne, (1964), Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships, Balantine Books

Thomas Harris (1996), I'm OK-You're OK, Avon books

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