Playing Card Games and Understanding Others

An important part of living in this world is understanding that you aren't the only person in it. Today we are more connected than ever to each other, the world is much smaller than it used to be. Some people argue that the decrease in face to face contact is damaging to our communication, but we communicate with each other more than we ever have, it's just the way we communicate is changing.

This is one of the first images that appears when you google the word millennials, and SURPRISE almost all of the other images are people on phones. (image taken from

One of the main attitudes that older generations have toward millennials is that we are obsessed with our phones and we don't know how to communicate with each other. This logic is flawed, largely because one of the main purposes of a cell phone is to communicate with others, and because I don't exclusively communicate through text messages it is safe to say I do know how to communicate face to face with others in some regard. It is true that we communicate through our phones the majority of the time, but if I wanted to prove that we can still communicate with each other in person (and that we can still analyze nonverbal communication) I would talk about card games.

P-p-p-poker face, p-p-p-poker face -lady gaga

With the development of technology comes the development of games, especially gaming systems. All games, of skill or otherwise, require the player to have the ability to reflect and to be flexible. Card games especially require the ability change and to analyze the people that you are playing with. In traditional card games, like poker games, the players are required to figure out the 'tells' of their opponents, guess the likely hood of winning with their hand, and also present a stoic facade. In poker games you have to get to know people, and also get to know yourself. One card game that involves a different kind of reflection and flexibility is Cards Against Humanity. Games like Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples require the player to be extremely flexible because no hand is exactly alike and each 'judge' wants to see different things.

The analytical abilities learned in card games are extremely applicable to real world situations, for example knowing when it is appropriate to tell that funny but slightly offensive joke you've been dying to tell or being able to see when someone is uncomfortable. Poker teaches us how to spot liars and Cards Against Humanity teaches us to analyze personalities. Though most millennials communicate on their phones a great deal of the time, it untrue to say we don't know how to communicate anymore, because we communicate in with each other in so many different ways. Gaming specifically allows us to understand each other, and games in general are powerful tools for learning. Schools today are noticing the power of games, whether for studying or learning something new. Games teach us in a way that we can remember, and that challenges us.

Most people know at least one card game, whether it is go fish or something that required a little more skill like spades. Personally, I like games that require thought, and require the players to pay attention to each other. For example, in Spades, you must be able to non verbally communicate with your partner while trying to understand your opponents. If you overestimate yourself or others than it will cost you. Spades like other card games requires that you try and understand your opponent’s ability based on a very small amount of information.

In real life we don’t treat everyone the same, we gauge their personality and we treat them based on what we observe about them. Card games teach us how to understand each other on a different level, they strengthen our abilities to reflect on ourselves and ultimately the way we treat people. They also teach us important lessons in adaptability, and allow us to become more pliable relative to our ‘audience’.

Though some people might never admit it, not only do millennials know how to communicate, we also try our best understand the people around us. (Even though it may seem like we live within our own bubbles.)


Created with images by 422737 - "cards jass cards card game" • Unsplash - "cards blackjack casino" • Daniel Morrison - "Poker" • Arcaion - "playing cards poker bridge"

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