The Psychology of the Sore Loser

Jason Henry
5 min readNov 10, 2020
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

When you think your worth is determined by outcomes, you’re asking for trouble. When you equate getting something good as being a good person, you’ve made a fundamental error.

I don’t know how many people are aware but there was an election the other day. It was a pretty big deal.

Anyways, the incumbent lost and he hasn’t conceded to his successor. It’s pretty embarrassing but it reminds me of the games nights I’ve had where one or two friends would either lose their minds when they couldn’t win (to the point where she tried to cheat) or quickly move on to something else while making excuses for not winning.

The irony of the whole thing is that no one cares if one doesn’t win. Of course there are factors that led to one person winning and everyone else at the table losing. It’s a game. Only one person can win.

Also, trying to cheat your way to victory isn’t victory. It’s an admission that you don’t know how to play, you don’t care to learn how to play, you don’t respect the other players, you don’t respect yourself and you’re taking this far too seriously.

For most, a competition, game or an election are taken at face value. For someone to win somebody has to lose. But to the sore loser, it’s not that simple. Losing is indicative of something that they refuse to accept.

They think it means that they are beneath someone else.

Now, this isn’t the actual truth, of course. It’s just a belief that was probably forged from an episode of bad parenting.

When we do something good, valuable or sought-after, as children we develop the notion that we are good because we do something good. Unfortunately, the flip side is true. When we do something bad, we develop the notion that we are inherently bad.

And if you know anything about humans, being bad, undesirable, wrong or faulty is just about the worst thing you could ever be.

Our enemies are bad. Failure is bad. The final season of Game of Thrones is bad. We can’t bear to think of ourselves among the things we despise.

And yet, despite this being an issue that all of humanity faces, some of us are gracious in defeat. So what’s the excuse the sore loser has for that?

Jason Henry

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”