What to say and do after losing a game (Respect + Grace)10 min read

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What to say and do after losing a game

When you’re in the throes of an intense game, it’s hard not to get a bit nervous about making mistakes. This is especially true when someone is watching you, because then it becomes doubly important to make sure that you don’t screw up. Sometimes things just don’t go your way and it can be quite disheartening. In this article, we discuss what to say after losing a game.

When we lose a game, it’s easy to get flustered. It’s important to avoid letting these feelings get the better of you. It’s okay to be upset and disappointed, but it’s equally important that you don’t let these feelings change who you are as a player or personality. Don’t let your emotions change your persona.

As part of our etiquette series, we have also discussed what not to say after winning, and how to ask someone their golf scores politely.

On top of what we discuss in this article, consider using these three (3) simple principles when choosing what to say or do after losing.

  1. Congratulate the winner on the win. They worked hard for it!
  2. Ask them if they want to play again in the future.
  3. Seek opportunities to learn from the winner how you can better your game.
  4. If you are the winner, check that the loser is okay after the loss by offering kind words.
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Photo by StockSnap on Pixabay

What to say after a loss in a game

1. Use the right words to lose gracefully

If you’re a player who is bad at losing, then it really is important to learn how to lose gracefully. Never make it obvious that you’re upset, but don’t hide it either.

It’s okay to be upset when your opponent has outplayed you and taken your game away from you. If one player has outplayed another, it doesn’t mean that the other player was bad. It means that one player was good enough to win the game.

When accepting a loss gracefully, you can say words like:

  • Congratulations, you were the better player.
  • I had a great time. It’s unfortunate that I lost.
  • WOW! That was an amazing comeback. I don’t think that anyone expected it.
  • Wow, you showed a lot of hidden combos there. I didn’t think you knew about them!
  • I’ll get you next time!
  • You were lucky there. You made a lot of mistakes.
  • I can’t believe that you did that! No one will expect it next time around.
  • That was a very close game, but you were lucky this time.
  • Wow! That was an impressive comeback. It really was anyone’s game until the end.
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2. Don’t be upset about losing a game

When you’ve lost a game, the most important thing is to make sure that your opponent knows that you aren’t upset at them.

It’s okay to be upset, but don’t let this get you or anyone else upset. It’s all about self-control, and not letting the emotions of the moment get in the way of making sure that you’re still a good sport about it.

Playing for fun is a lot of fun, so don’t be discouraged if you lose a game. If you play with kids, then make sure to explain that losing isn’t personal or bad.

To avoid coming across as though you are upset, you can say words like:

  • I played really well.
  • I’m sorry that I lost. I was hoping to win, but you were the better player this time.
  • Thanks for a close game!
  • It’s important to play hard and show that you’re a good sport, even if you don’t win.
  • It was really close, but I had an amazing comeback there. Don’t get me wrong – it would have been nice to win, but it wasn’t my fault that you won.
  • Close game! You were lucky there. I had an amazing comeback though.
  • I lost because of you, but you’ll be sorry when we play next time around.

3. Encourage the loser of the game

If you’re not playing in a competitive environment, it’s okay to have fun after a game.

Never play in a manner that is annoying to your opponent.

Of course, people want to win games, but they want to enjoy themselves as well. Therefore, we should do what we can to make our opponents feel good about the game they just lost as well.

worried girl, woman, waiting
Photo by RyanMcGuire on Pixabay

Words of encouragement for the loser can look like saying:

-I was the better player this time, however, there is always the next time.
-It’s okay, you were so close.
-Don’t worry about it!
-Thanks for a great time! I had a lot of fun playing against you!
-You were really lucky here. You should watch out next time though.
-You should be proud of yourself! I never thought that you would do so well in the game.

4. If you are the winner, give some advice to the loser

If you’re the winner of a game, then you can offer some advice to your opponent. Be careful with your advice though. It’s important to remember that it is in bad taste to give too much unsolicited advice.

However, if your opponent asks for some advice, then feel free to give them as much as they want. It’s good practice to do this in order to encourage people.

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You can start off your words of advice using some of these phrases to avoid coming across as someone who is trying to brag as the game’s winner:

-You were so close to winning! If you had just done this, then you could have won.
-I know that you’re upset about the loss, but if you do this, then next time around, you’ll win.
-You played well. If only you knew about this move earlier – then you would have won.
-You should be proud of yourself though. You played really well and your opponent will probably want to play with you again in the future.

What to do after losing a game

5. Don’t let a loss change you

When the game is over and it’s time to go, don’t let your feelings rub off on anyone else.

It’s okay to be upset, but don’t take it out on anyone else. Most people don’t like losing a game, but they prefer to lose gracefully. So keep that in mind when you are angry after a loss.

Make sure you leave the game behind after you play.

After a game, be sure to leave the feelings of anger and frustration behind you.

It’s okay to be upset about losing, but it’s not okay to take those feelings out on your opponent. After a loss, be sure that you are okay with moving on and getting past your emotions.

6. Focus more on the positives than the negatives

After losing a game, you need to take time to reflect on the game and come up with ways to counter your opponent’s strategies.

It’s not always possible, but try not to replay your games in your head.

Focus on the positive instead of the negative. You’ll be able to figure out what went wrong when you think about it later on. It’s also important to watch out for other games that you’ll be playing in the future.

woman, portrait, model
Photo by Free-Photos on Pixabay

7. Don’t bash your opponent

If you lose a game, then there are a number of things that you can do to get yourself back on track.

If it makes you feel any better, it’s okay to have some fun after the game. However, try not to bash your opponent or gloat about winning. After all, it’s important to remember that the game is just a game.

Even if you lost, you can use the loss as a learning experience. It’s okay to feel bad about losing, but don’t worry too much because you can still have fun while playing. Just make sure to be aware of your opponent’s feelings after the game as well.

After a loss, it’s also important to be careful about what you say. In bad taste, your words can set your opponent back on their game; therefore, you should make sure that your words of advice don’t offend anyone.

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While it is okay to be upset after losing a game, it’s best to keep tight self-control for the rest of the day. You don’t want others to think that you have a problem controlling yourself afterward.

8. Don’t let your emotions take the best of you

After you lose a game, it’s important to feel like you’ve done everything that possible. You have all of the information that you can get in order to get better at competitive games.

This is where a lot of people fall short of control. They focus on how the game went wrong and not enough on how they can fix the situation moving forward.

In competitive situations, it is okay to let our emotions play a role in the game – at least for the sake of fun. However, it’s important to have an understanding that we are responsible for how we feel. If you let your emotions get the best of you, then it’s time to put away the controller and move on with your life.

You can also make a note of how you fell short in your gameplay. You’ll want to be able to document what went wrong in the game and use it as a teaching tool when you play competitive games again.

9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

After a loss, it’s okay to reach out to your friends and fellow gamers for some advice on how to get back on track.

If you haven’t played competitively before, then you may not know what you did wrong – and that’s okay! They probably would want to help you if they thought that they could help.

It’s also important not to get upset if they beat you in a game. You’re not always going to win, and it’s okay to lose every once in a while.

beanie, guy, man
Photo by StockSnap on Pixabay

Final thoughts about what to say and do after losing a game

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand how to deal with losing games in competitive events. There are a lot of things that you can do to improve your game, so make sure to work on them.

There is no specific etiquette for losing when it comes to things like social media and email. There is an etiquette when speaking in person though. You should avoid flip-flopping on everything that you’ve said or asked your opponent. Being a sore loser and winner is bad for your health and integrity, so don’t do it.

If you want to be respectful at the end of a game, then you can follow these tips we have set out in our article.

Michael G

I love investing in people! Michael is on a mission to help organizations and individuals become better. Michael has had a distinguished 10-year career spanning through non-profit and the corporate world. Michael's life purpose is in helping to simplify complex problems to define actionable solutions, which is why through public speaking, Michael is focused on inspiring and impacting people towards the right personal growth formula and generating sustainable business growth.

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