If you have any type of online presence on social media sites, you've no doubt seen some of the crazy games that are spreading. These aren't the same as game invites that have you using special game apps or boards to play games with your friends. Those can be annoying all on their own!
What I am referring to are the "status" type games.
One that I've seen a fair bit of is the "Giraffe" A rather ridiculous riddle is posted which is specifically designed to confuse the reader into submitting a wrong answer. You are asked to "private message" your answer to the poster. If you get it wrong (majority do) then you have to change your profile pic to a giraffe for 3 days and repost the question to your friends/followers. In other words, you have to spread the humiliation.
At least with that game you are aware that it is a "game" and have the option to take your chances of becoming a giraffe.
There are however, far more embarrassing games out there just waiting for you and your friends to fall into.
Case in point: An online friend who is known for posting some rather interesting updates and rants recently posted this status: "I am gonna confess, support me!"
Hmm, was this a joke? I wasn't sure, but given their past comments, I wondered if something they had said had gotten them in some kind of trouble. So, I responded: "What did you do now?" There were a couple responses from others, but nothing from the poster. Odd. Later that day, I received the following private message:
"You should have never commented HAHAHA! You fell into the trap. This is a game. The person who likes/comments has to choose one of the following to post on his/her timeline.
1. I've been in 42 relationships
2. I think I like someone, what should I do?
3. My mom arranged me for a blind date
4. Someone invited me to be a prostitute, what should I do?
5. I forgotten to wear my underwear today
6. I am gonna confess, support me
7. I still love my ex
8. I just got me some good good
9. I think I'm going gay
10. I'm pregnant
11. I want another baby
Note: you should not explain anything, just post and leave it for at least a day. Im also a victim lol"
Seriously?? I knew my friend had not created this joke and was just following along with the "rules" as they had been given. Trying to be a "good sport" and laugh at their own naivety to fall for the trap. Get it over with and move on.
What was I supposed to do now?
I knew in my heart that I could not play this game and that I needed to explain my reasoning to my friend. I took some time to think about how to express my opinions. I sent this response (slightly edited to protect privacy on both sides) the next morning:
"Good morning – Given your comments of late, I assumed this was some kind of reference to that and further comment was to follow. It NEVER occurred to me that this was a game.
One of the things I pride myself on is a great sense of humour and can enjoy a good joke or knowingly choose to participate (or not) in things such as the giraffe thing that was going around.
BUT to be honest, I don’t find these type of blindside games funny at all. The possible status updates are suggestive, humiliating and some are in very poor taste.
I’ve given a lot of thought to this. As someone who has been teased, and humiliated by people (some who knew me and some who didn’t) my entire life, I can not in good conscience subject myself or the valued friends I do have here to this game – especially those that are minors and those who have stuck by me through some very difficult times. Good natured teasing and jokes are one thing but I will not knowingly participate in someone else being humiliate/embarrassed.
If you feel this makes me a party pooper/poor sport so be it but I will not play this game. I do value your friendship, Hopefully, you will not hold this against me and our friendship can continue as it has."
My friend messaged back that all was good and that they totally agreed with what I said and the post had been removed. Our friendship was solid.
That meant a lot to me to know that they understood and recognized the potential problems with these kind of games.
What consenting adults do to tease or prank each other among themselves is one thing - but it throws it into a whole other world to bring those games into public view via the internet. Personally, I've never been a fan of the blindside type humour that has become so prevalent in our society. It is nothing new of course, but this type of humour has become more rampant in recent years. A sad commentary on our society that people must be humiliated to empower others.
Social media has lowered this "humour" to a whole new level with the blindside style posts/games. These posts are deliberately designed to reel you, your friends, family and followers into their cesspool of humiliation, If they got caught, then so should you! Let's all jump in the quicksand! No one gets hurt right?
By participating in these games, we are demeaning not only ourselves but potentially our friends and loved ones who also care about us. We are not required to stoop to the low brow humour of the depraved minds who create these humiliating games. We have the right and the responsibility to stand up for ourselves and our friends. If the people who do choose to participate in these games are not understanding in our desire to step away, then we are far better off without them in our lives.
Standing up for ourselves and saying no isn't easy. It takes a lot of courage. Sometimes you lose friends in the process but you regain and maintain your self respect. You become a stronger person.
I've proudly hung this "pyramid people" poster in my home since I bought it back in the late 80's:
From this image it may be hard to tell, but there is a look of fear and disbelief on the purple guys face that is priceless! It is as if the person is saying "How dare someone walk away from the crowd! We need the strength of the minions to survive!"
The look of pure joy on the little red guys face as he walks away from the pyramid gives me strength to face whatever comes my way! It reminds me that I am a unique person who is capable of making my own decisions and I will not be drawn into group mentality.
I found this image online a couple years ago:
For me, it is a symbol of unity. We are standing together - side by side - all on the same level. A hope that someday we will all find a way to get along as equals - regardless of our gender, orientation. race, religion or beliefs. A time when there is no bullying, or a need for humiliating other living beings.
May all of us find that peace.