Why is Wordle so Wonderful?



This may or may not surprise you but this has come up quite a lot in therapy in recent days. This does seem odd at the face of it, doesn’t it? I mean, surely there are more pressing things to explore in sessions…but as with everything that arises in a session, there is meaning attached.

We’ve attached that meaning. Part of that meaning is attachment.

But only part. A few theories have come up in conversations I’ve had. Wordle, the humble little 5 letter game that has ripped through the internet is the gift that just seems to keep on giving. It’s genius. It seem flawless to me – what’s not to love?

Wordle gives us

  • An opportunity for fun
  • An opportunity to feel competence or mastery
  • A chance to show off/celebrate this mastery
  • Possibilities for connection with friends that COVID has kept us from
  • Participation in a global phenomenon (as in, more than an immediate circle of friends)
  • Competition – the ‘goldilocks’ amount, not too little, not too much
  • Delayed gratification and a sense of anticipation
  • Distraction
  • A limit, a boundary. Because it can’t be overdone. There is only one chance per day. So we must use it wisely!!
  • And finally, nostalgia – remember Mastermind?

And of course there is probably more that I just haven’t thought of…

Someone asked me if I’m competitive with it – with other people. I straight off said no. I’m competitive with myself. I like to do better than I did the day before. That was true at the time. But is that changing now that people I know personally are hopping on board too?

It is. Yes it is. And I’m hooked.

I do like healthy competition. I have a few friends that I’ll compete with. These are the ones I’d enjoy other word games with, or just word or pun play in conversations. I enjoy competition as long as I know I won’t get hammered and it isn’t all taken too seriously. But that said, if you land on my purple street in Monopoly well… God love you is all I can say really…

I see people posting their daily word. Their thread count. Their hilarious ‘fails’, their extraordinary luck. It’s all so fascinating to me – I love watching it unfold. And if I get lucky – oh the rush of dreamy buzzy dopamine when the green boxes appear with silent clunks in a satisfying well-paced reveal …(so classy, no bells or flashing lights)

It’s all so dignified isn’t it?

Spoiler alert…

Was it disappointing when I realised there’s a hard and easy version? Honestly, it was. “Ah but are you playing the hard version?” people ask. And my heart sinks a little… oh nooooo let’s just keep having fun!!

Ah but are you using two devices?? (NOOOOO don’t cheat let’s just have fun!!)

All good things can be exploited – it’s sometimes best to ignore that isn’t it? My head is firmly in the sand for this one anyway. Human nature etc etc.

Then I tried to spice it up

Yep. Yesterday I tried Sweardle . I was really disappointed that I was so terrible at it. I pride myself on having a wide repertoire of foul language. I even had “foul-mouthed” as part of my Twitter bio until recently, and more than once a TY group made a swear jar for me during my our Personal Development and Sex Ed classes… they’ve since retired on the proceeds no doubt.

So I’m not doing Sweardle. It was crushing.

A friend suggested I try The Irish language version. I dismissed it immediately. I wouldn’t be any good. There goes my competing with myself theory! (Sorry Mr. Mac Swiney, you did your best)

And then someone suggested another version that has limitless puzzles for private enjoyment. Nope! NO good. So it’s not about that for me either it seems.

So, it turns out, it’s about belonging to something big, very big. Doing something with people, people all over the world or across the road. It matters not it seems. Feeling part of a fun movement, like a big nerdy flashmob. We’re all waiting together – like kids for Santa. Plus:

  • There’s no risk I’ll lose hours down a rabbit hole because it’s a once a day deal. That’s it, no more.
  • No risk of being on show because I control who sees what and when. And I control what I see of what others do – nothing’s in my face. So nice…
  • A daily thing to look forward to – routine, excitement and time out with just me myself and I, all in one!
  • And it’s a nice little distraction from the mundane or worse, if necessary.

So that’s me – how about you? Why is Wordle your Wonderful??

I wrote before about how we all have four basic needs (not my theory, it’s a Reality Therapy thing):

love/connection, power, freedom and fun.

And if you think about it, Wordle meets all of these needs, albeit briefly, in small green little bitesize chunks. And until the next big thing comes along – I love it! And millions of others will too.

So to the guy who just sold it to the New York Times – fair play! Do I wish I’d thought of it? Yup! Do I begrudge it? Not a cent.

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