I am trying something new on my blog that I have not done before! I have a guest blogger! My fiance, Stephen, and I were talking about how fun it would be if he started doing occasional posts on my blog. There are a bunch of topics he is interested in writing Do’s and Don’ts for. How fun to have a couple different voices and perspectives all in once place!

Without further adieu, here are Stephen’s Do’s and Don’ts of Getting Your Significant Other More Interested in Sports!

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This is a truly wonderful time of year if you’re a sports fan. The recent NFL Draft has brought hope and buzz, the MLB season is in full swing, and the NHL and NBA Playoffs are heating up. There is an abundance of stories to read, scores to check, and teams to root for or against. However, while many great fans are enthusiastically consuming all the sports they can, their great significant others couldn’t be less interested. It’s perfectly fine for your SO to not be a big sports fan, of course, but if you’re anything like me then you still want to share your enthusiasm with them. That means getting them at least a little bit interested in what’s going on, which can be a tricky process. If you do it right, you can start to share some of the fun of being a sports fan and maybe even turn your SO into a real fan. If you do it wrong, you could turn them off to sports entirely or even end up putting stress on your relationship (yes, it really can be that serious). To help you get your SO into sports, here are the Dos and Don’ts that I’ve learned from my own experience of successfully getting my fiancee more interested in football and baseball.     11796236_10153456382225349_1119282601412946128_n

Don’t- Try to get them to watch a full game on TV with you.

This is a classic rookie mistake. First, use your common sense! If your SO isn’t interested in sports and never has been, why would you assume that watching an entire game would suddenly captivate them? There are deeper reasons for their lack of interest than simply not taking the time to watch a game. Second, trying to get your SO to watch a whole game on TV is a bad idea just like it’s a bad idea for someone who never runs to sign up for a marathon. It’s too much, too soon. Watching games on TV is something you need to gradually work up to with your SO. Otherwise, your efforts can easily backfire. Instead of starting to like sports, your SO might start to resent you for asking them to invest as much time in sports as you do. Since that is clearly not what you want, you have to try something else.

Do- Take them to a game.

How many times have you heard fans say that their lifelong loyalty started after experiencing their first game in person? There’s no reason that can’t work for your SO too. Seeing a game in person will be far more engaging and special to them than watching a game on TV could ever be. They can experience the fun pre-game atmosphere, the joy of being part of the crowd, and the traditions of the fans and the stadiums. More importantly, you are creating a great memory together. Early on in our relationship, I took my fiancee to a Pittsburgh Pirates game at PNC Park. Despite being about as uninterested in sports as you can imagine, she was pleasantly surprised by how much she enjoyed it. Now we go to a Pirates game every summer and she is always interested in how they’re doing.  

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If you don’t live anywhere near a major sports team or if you can’t afford tickets to a game, then you may have no choice but to try to get your SO interested by watching sports on TV with you. If that is the case, the rule about not trying to make them sit through a full game still stands. 

Don’t- Just sit there and watch.

You can probably sit through an entire game with your eyes locked on the TV, getting up only to use the bathroom and jump around in excitement and/or disgust. Your SO should obviously not be expected to do that too. They need something to make watching sports engaging for them, something to make them feel like they’re not just slogging through an activity that they don’t really want to do. Basically, you need to pay attention to your SO. You need to be OK with making it more of a couple’s thing and less of a “me” thing. My recommendation?      

Do- Make it an event.

You should turn watching a game into a special occasion whenever possible, and I’ve found that the best and easiest way to turn anything into a special occasion is with good food. My fiancee was slow to embrace football because I would usually just sit there and put 100% of my focus on the game. There wasn’t any room in there for her. This past college football season, however, we had the idea to celebrate the first game of the season by cooking up a huge tailgate feast. We made a ton of food together, she went out and bought party plates and a cheap decoration, and we pulled our table in front of the TV to watch Notre Dame take on Texas while we ate. Just having our own little private party made watching football not only tolerable but legitimately fun for my fiancee. It wasn’t about me watching a game that I wanted to watch, it was about us doing something together and making a memory. Now we both want to make our tailgate feast another annual sports tradition.

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Don’t- Try to explain it to them if they haven’t asked.

Think about it this way: someone has invited you to play a complicated card game or a board game that you’ve never played before. How do you want to learn how to play? Do you want to sit there and try to process everything while someone drones on and on in an effort to explain the game to you? Or do you want to start playing the game, learn as you go, and ask questions as they come to you? I’m going to assume most of us would choose the latter. That’s why you should never attempt to explain a sport to your SO if they haven’t asked you to. At best, what you say is going to go in one ear and out the other. At worst, they’re going to be bored or frustrated. Offering up your unprompted explanations sends the rather condescending message that your SO just doesn’t “get it,” and they’ll suddenly love sports if you can just make them “get it.” You have to let them learn at their own speed and ask their own questions.   

Do- Answer their questions.

This should be a no-brainer, but when your SO does ask you a question about sports, don’t get annoyed or give a lame answer. Be excited! If they’re asking you a question about how a sport works, they’re showing a level of interest that you want to cultivate. Answer your SO’s questions fully, be patient if they need more explanation, and make sure they know that you’re glad they asked. This will encourage more conversations about sports in the future, which will allow your SO to gain an appreciation for the sport on their own terms. Even if they never become true fans, they will still become knowledgeable enough to know when an awesome play happens. Then your SO can share your enthusiasm!

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Don’t- Share the sadness, anger, or hate.

I know there are a lot of crazy fans like me out there. We feel depressed when our team loses, we go overboard with the screaming and cursing during the games, and we hold unreasonable hatred for rival teams and players. If you ever want your SO to get into sports, however, you need to cut that right out. It’s OK to be sad when your team loses. You can’t help it when you’re an intense fan, but don’t let it affect your behavior. Be sad for a bit and move on or be sad for a long time and just hide it. Either way, your SO shouldn’t be getting different versions of you depending on whether or not your team lost. Your fandom should never be a source of stress for them. It’s OK to express your frustrations during a game too, but make sure you rein it in when your SO is with you. When my fiancee started watching some football with me, I knew that I had to change the way I watched games. I cut down on the cursing, shouting, and fist-pounding habits that were a part of me for a long time. That was good for both of us. I gradually trained myself to remain more calm during Steelers games (saving my blood pressure in the process), and my fiancee felt comfortable watching games with me instead of thinking I was psychotic. Finally, every fan has teams or players that they loathe, but you should keep that to yourself. If your SO has a hard time understanding why you love your team so much, they will find it even more difficult to understand why sports would make you feel hatred. That’s definitely not the way to get them interested.    

Do- Share the excitement of the wins.

This is as easy as telling your SO when your team wins. A win is the one thing about sports you can tell your SO even if they didn’t ask. They probably don’t care, but they should understand that you do. They just want you to be happy, and if your team getting the win makes you happy, they’re all for it. Early on in our relationship, I started telling my fiancee any time the Pirates won. Even before she cared about the Pirates, she would give me a “Yay, Pirates!!” Eventually, she started to ask me if they played that day or if they won. So, don’t be afraid to share those positive fan moments. Your SO will be glad that you wanted them to be part of it too.     

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Let’s say you’ve tried all of my Dos and perhaps a few more ideas of your own (talked about interesting stats with your math-loving SO? Played in a fantasy football league with your competitive SO?), and their interest in sports still hasn’t increased. At that point, the most important thing is:

Don’t- Keep trying to force it.

This is the biggest mistake you can make, not only when it comes to sports but in relationships in general. You should never make your SO feel uncomfortable or force something on them that they don’t want. If they really can’t get into sports, you have to know when to drop it. You and your SO are individuals. You are allowed to like different things. You are allowed to have your own interests. It’s as simple as that.

Do- Be understanding and compromise.

Just as you have to be understanding if your SO isn’t interested in sports, your SO has to be understanding of your fandom. They should realize that they cannot make you stop loving sports any more than you can make them start liking sports. Both parties should also be willing to compromise. Instead of being upset with how much time you spend watching football, maybe your SO can make football time their time to read or write or call their mom. Instead of consuming all the sports you possibly can, maybe you can skip that game you don’t really care about and go out with your SO instead. If you’re with the right person, you will make it work.   

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Thank you for taking the time to read this guest post! And thank you Stephen for writing it!

What has you experience been with sports and your significant other? Do you both love sports? Does one love them and the other not so much?

I hope you enjoyed this blog!

I’ll check you later!

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