Life Advice, as Gleaned From ‘Words With Friends’
Seven lessons that make sense of the scrabble
I think I’m a Words With Friends addict. I blame my mum.
Over the past eight years, my mum and I have played 566 games of this Scrabble-inspired mobile app together. For us, it’s an easy way to connect when we’re not physically with each other. In that time, I’ve placed over 26,644 feet worth of the game’s signature orange letter tiles, played 6,208 unique words, and skipped countless ads promoting everything from stressful puzzle apps to pickpocket-proof cargo pants.
Eight years is a considerable amount of time to spend doing a certain thing. And inadvertently, even though the act of playing Words With Friends is quite trivial, subconsciously, certain habits, strategies, and broader observations have sunk their way into my mind. And so, partly to convince myself that I haven’t wasted all my time playing a pointless mobile app, I thought I’d share some nuggets of wisdom one might feasibly derive from Words With Friends and apply to broader life. Let’s go.
1. It might be easier elsewhere
Here’s the scenario — you’re trying to play a word somewhere on the board, maybe to snatch a juicy triple letter tile on a J worth 10 points. But no matter how many times you shuffle your letters or try to will words into existence, it just ain’t working. You spend so much time focused on this one spot before realizing there’s another section of the board you can play your J for equal impact, and with a little ingenuity, you score a word substantially higher than you would’ve in the original bugbear.
I think there’s a somewhat powerful metaphor for life hidden in this rather specific gameplay quirk of Words With Friends — and it’s this: You could be trying and trying to achieve something in a certain field, perhaps in your chosen career, a project, or in a certain relationship. But for some reason or another, it’s hard, you aren’t getting anywhere, or the squeeze ain’t worth the juice. You feel stuck, stressed, depressed, a victim of the “sunk cost fallacy” — the belief that because you’ve poured so much time or effort into a certain endeavor that it’d be folly to pull out now.