Do You Play the Circle Game in Your Relationships?

Do You Play the Circle Game in Your Relationships?

Do You Play the Circle Game in Your Relationships?

If so, STOP!

We get the biggest satisfaction but also the biggest aggravation from relationships. Whether it’s with our friends, parents or siblings, relationships have one of the biggest impacts on daily happiness. When our relationships are healthy and fun we are happy. When they are contentious we are unhappy. It’s just that simple.

In order to have fun and healthy relationships with classmates, teammates, family and friends, it’s important to have great communication. That is the reason why I want to encourage you to stop the circle game.

What Exactly Is the “Circle Game” You Ask?

It can be the biggest waste of time in any of your relationships.

There are three basic stages of the circle game, all with the same goal: Make the friend confront you with your problem!

  1. First Confrontation – Act Like You Don’t Care: Friend asks what’s wrong. You say “nothing” even though it’s clearly something.
  2. Second Confrontation – Create Distance: Passively initiate some psychological rejection toward said friend so that the friend can share your hurt feelings and ask why you’re doing this to him or her.
  3. Third Confrontation – Wait for Friend to Get Mad: Make the friend feel remorseful so that he or she can apologize first, and then you can apologize for having your feelings hurt by said friend.

Let’s Play These 3 Stages Out:

Let’s say that you and I are best friends and today I saw you laughing with the one person I dislike the most. Of course you know I dislike him or her and it would hurt my feelings so now I’m going to start the circle game.

Stage 1: Act Like You Don’t Care

  • You ask Dr. RJ what’s wrong with you.
  • RJ response: “Oh nothing.”

I want you to know that I’m mad, but not really. I want you to notice something is off. I can’t be too obvious that I’m mad because then you will jump to Stage 3 and the game is over. For example, let’s say we usually have a silly greeting, but now when we see each other I just say “hi” instead. Now you know something is off.

Ok. Stage one is complete.

Stage 2: Create Some Distance

Let’s say we normally skateboard together after school. Now, I just text you and say that I’m just going to chill at home. The purpose of Stage 2 is to get you to say “Are you sure you are okay? You have been acting weird.” That’s when I put my surprised face on.

“Huh? Me. Nah I’m good.” Why do you ask?

Okay stage 2 is complete.

  • Friend asks: Dr. RJ are you sure you are okay?
  • Friend is starting to realize they may have messed up. Yes!

Stage 3: Wait for Friend to Feel as Crummy as You

The goal is to get your friend to confront you with the problem.

Even though I’m the one with the problem, I cannot initiate the conversation because then, I’ll lose the game! You must initiate the confrontation. So to get you to do this, I make it obvious that I’m mad and continue to create distance by ignoring your texts. Then the next day comes along, I see you at school and act like nothing happened. Finally, you’ve had it and initiate the third confrontation: “Hey what’s up? What’s really going on?”

That’s when I “win”!

You insist that we talk, then I come clean and finally tell you how betrayed I felt that you were talking to an enemy of mine. You apologize. I apologize, and then we’re back friends.

Why Do We Play These Silly Games?

Did you know that teens waste hours, days, and even weeks playing this game?  The easiest way to stop wasting time is to skip the game and just tell your friend how you feel. This is not ground-breaking information so why is it so difficult to do? I can explain with one word. Can you guess?


Your ego caused you to play the circle. Stay tuned for part 2 to learn how to get your ego under control.

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Circle Game Part 2: Flight or Flight vs Stay and Communicate