Funnily enough last week when reading up on the ego states (mentioned in this post) I stumbled across some relating stuff about “strokes”
‘Strokes are the recognition, attention or responsiveness that one person gives another. Strokes can be positive (nicknamed “warm fuzzies”) or negative (“cold pricklies”). A key idea is that people hunger for recognition, and that lacking positive strokes, will seek whatever kind they can, even if it is recognition of a negative kind. We test out as children what strategies and behaviours seem to get us strokes, of whatever kind we can get.’
Basically positive reinforcements … Ego strokes. I realised that with the positive, genuine, good things I have been asking my husband for (like in this post) I have inadvertently been requesting strokes from him for my own benefit whilst hoping that by him focusing on the good he will start to feel good too…thus creating a dominoes effect on the both of us…win win really.
Feeling silly I found my husband and (hilariously) put my new found knowledge into practice by literally stroking him – like a puppy and kissing him. Unsurprisingly he asked what I was doing to which I said “giving you strokes” before laughing and reconsidering my approach.
I realised that it’s like in the computer game “Sims“. You control your character – or “sim”- in a world you create. Each sim has a friendship meter and mood meter (among other things) and as you interact – these bars move depending on their connection with others.You can select options for your sim to act out when interacting with others. I.e. “flirt”, “tell joke”, “ask about day” in order to build friendships but it’s not always that simple.
After each interaction the receiving sim will react – like reality- with either a green plus sign (i.e. +10 friend points) and a smiley face OR – if they’re turned of by it -with a red minus sign (- 10 friend points) and a sad/angry face… And your sims mood will mirror it. There are extremes to the point meter too, when in love red hearts flash above their head after a positive action while red daggers (or possibly lightning) will flash if you’ve REALLY pissed them off. It’s a long and slow process (unless you use the cheats like I do) but its funny to watch the other sims reactions when you make your sim come on to them within 5 minutes of introductions.
As the friendship points increase, so does the mood meter and it worked both ways. It was nearly impossible to start a friendship with a miserable sim… Unless you wanted to go away with a sworn enemy. Like in real life, over time if your sim hasn’t seen their friend the relationship or friendship meter would drop so every now and then you would call your mate or hang out or SOMETHING to keep the meters up.
Anyway, I used to play this game (I know i know its sad) and it would always remind me that I needed to do the same, call up friends, send the odd text… Make everyone happy. I used to call it damage control. Now that I’ve moved and established that the real friends I have don’t require “damage control” because they’re mature enough to know that we don’t need to check in every day… Or every week even to class each other as friends… The previous lessons I had learnt from sims seemed redundant… Until now.
My husband used to really get into it when i played so he understood the reference when he asked me to explain what I was doing the following night and I said… Strokes are like the positive actions you would choose for your sim to do to another. You would make them hug and the other sim would feel good (+10 – I made a plus sign with my hands) and your sim would feel good (+10) in return. It built relationships, it took time and you had to keep doing it every now and then in order to keep the moods and relationships strong. Its important to keep both sims meters high so both are happy…or in this case happy AND in love with the flashy hearts above their heads (I tried to mimic this with my hands which ended up being named ‘the crabs’) otherwise the relationships dwindle and the sims get miserable.
He liked my explanation and hugged me again (+10 LOVEHEARTS) and then laughed at my ‘crabs’ (-10 SADFACE)… so I poked his bum (-10 DAGGERS!!) (HAPPYFACE for me 😉 )
This (the +/- etc) went on for about 2 days and it was definitely fun while it lasted; although we aren’t doing the hand signals anymore I think we both think them and regardless, he’s taken my point on board 😉
- The Sims 4 announced, always-on netcon not required (vg247.com)
- The Sims 4 could be announced today (onsoftware.en.softonic.com)
- Raining petals (thinspiralnotebook.wordpress.com)
- When a Dagger Strikes you in the Heart (humansareweird.com)