Signs you’re a sore loser – and what you can do about it

After January’s events, Donald Trump will undoubtedly go down in the history books for not taking defeat in his stride – but how do you handle it? Here are some signs you can be a bit of a bad sport.

1. You’re competitive about everything

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Whether it’s winning a light-hearted game of cards or being the fastest at a charity 5km run, everyone knows you go big, but can bring the mood down by taking things a little too seriously.

People often say it’s the taking part that counts, but you don’t see the point in team games unless there’s an opportunity to crush your opponents and take home the win.

2. You throw a tantrum when things don’t go your way

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You have been known to angrily chuck all the pieces from the Scrabble game back into the box when you’ve realised you’re on course for a loss.

Not only do you strop off when you lose, but you also spend hours stewing in your defeat, making everyone else tiptoe around you for the rest of the evening.

3. You try to put the blame elsewhere

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If only your competitor hadn’t cheated, or your friend hadn’t been distracted you with their loud breathing, or it wasn’t a full moon that evening, you would have naturally claimed the victory!

4. You dwell on the situation for longer than you need to

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It’s natural to feel disappointed when you don’t win, but instead of graciously accepting your defeat, you find yourself sulking miserably and moaning to anyone who’ll listen about the injustice of the situation.

5. You discredit the actual winner

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Rather than holding your hands up and admitting someone else is better than you, you announce that you purposefully let them win – because you couldn’t be bothered to try.

6. You get personal
If a loss really gets your goat, in your worst moments you can turn nasty. You might randomly pick on someone’s insecurities, or bring up unrelated things that you reckon you’re better than them at. Essentially, you’ll do whatever it takes to make the winner feel as crummy as you do, as it’s the only thing that will soften the blow of coming last.

So how can you stop being such a bad loser?
“Being competitive isn’t a bad thing, we all want to succeed, but we all know that in reality we don’t always win,” says mindset coach Ruth Kudzi. “Accept that that’s okay – it’s a normal part of life. If you’re a sore loser, it’s maybe because you struggle to manage your emotions in the moment.”

“Acknowledging that you’re a sore loser is the best place to start, as some people don’t even recognise that they are. Then, make a conscious effort to not react negatively when you lose.”

Ms Kudzi says this may be a habit that you’ve built up over years, so it may take time to unpick and integrate more positive habits. She continues: “Learn some breathing exercises and techniques that allow you to access rational thinking in the heat of the moment. A simple calming breathing exercise is taking a breath in for three seconds, hold for four seconds and breathe out for five seconds.”

“Finally, you should focus on creating a more rational and positive mindset. Losing a board game to a friend isn’t the end of the world, so credit the winner and say well done,” Ms Kudzi adds.

Are you a sore loser? How competitive are you? What’s the last thing you won?

– With PA

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YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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