4 Relationship Red Flags You Can Spot in an Escape Room

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Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s, Palentine’s, or a Bitterness Bash today, you’ve got people you care about in your life  While we’re not relationship experts, Brainstorm Troopers spend our days watching people working together, for better or for worse.  We’ve seen some key relationship traits over and over again. Next time you’re in an escape room, keep an eye on how your friend/date/crush handles…

1. Pressure  

A small human figure made of blue clay is smashed in an industrial hydraulic press.

Games can be stressful. Ask anyone who’s ever been screamed at over Discord or seen a table flipped during an especially intense game of Monopoly.  (Note: If you’re the screamer or table-flipper, please chill.)  But watching how your friends and partners react to low-key stress can give you an idea of how they’ll react to bigger challenges. Are they keeping their cool as the timer ticks down? Are they panicking or becoming belligerent?

We once watched couple who had been dating a few months go through one of our rooms.  One partner—let’s call them Player 1—had done several escape rooms already, was an avid video gamer, and was dead set on beating the room’s top time without using any hints.  The other partner—Player 2—had never done an escape room before, wasn’t particularly into gaming, and was here more for the cool experience (and for their partner’s sake).  During their hour in the room, Player 1 was getting more and more agitated. When Player 2 suggested puzzle solutions or using a hint, Player 1 ignored them.  Finally, Player 2 asked Player 1 to hand over a box so they could try a lock combo. Player 1’s response:

“Shut up and let me think! I’ll get this. Don’t you know I’m smarter than you?”

Nicki Minaj smiles uncomfortably. The caption states, "Hell to the No."

They didn’t escape.

Now, we’re not advocating that Player 2 should drop Player 1 like a burnt pizza roll, but a frank conversation would probably do them some good. Which brings us to…

2. Communication

80's-tastic teens gossip on corded telephones.

Good communication can make or break a relationship, whether we’re talking about friendship, dating, or even work groups.  In an escape room, your team has to constantly share information, ideas, and critiques. If you want to do well, you have to convey all of that clearly, quickly, and politely.

This is most definitely a skill that needs to be cultivated over time, but some people make it look like second nature.  We once had a married couple come in for their anniversary to play Big House Breakout. For the uninitiated, players start this room handcuffed to each other.  There’s a cuff key hidden in the room, which most groups start looking for right away. Not these two! They stayed cuffed, with no complaints, the entire time: searching for clues in the dark, moving furniture and props, even dancing for hints. Needless to say, they were also great at talking to each other about what was going on, what was or wasn’t working, when they felt they needed help, etc. This duo is #relationshipgoals and a great example of…

3. Playing Well with Others

On the classic soap opera, "Dynasty," Dominique Deveraux (Diahann Carroll) slaps AlexisCarrington (Joan Collins) at a formal event.

In dating, everyone’s trying to stay on their best behavior (at least early on). If you want an idea of how someone will act towards you once they’re comfortable around you, watch how they treat people they don’t necessarily need to be nice to or want anything from.

Occasionally, multiple groups will buy tickets for the same room & time slot.  Most of the time, our guests are completely cool with it, and will even make friends during the escape! But every now and then, we have people who refuse to cooperate with the other group, even if it means not making it out.  If your date is being rude, dismissive, or straight up ignoring teammates (whether they’re strangers or the group you came in with), they might do the same to you in other situations!  At the very least, it’s a really bad look.

In an extreme case, we once had a guest who wanted a refund because the other party booked for their time slot “didn’t seem smart enough” for them. Judgy, but not the biggest deal, you say?

The guest said this in front of the other party, to their faces.

Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) from the Netflix series, "Stranger Things," gasp in shock.

They then proceeded to insult members of our staff, who, like waitstaff, are service workers, not verbal punching bags. Speaking of…

4. Frustration 

Actress Emma Roberts, playing Chanel Oberlin in the TV series, "Scream Queens," dramatically sobs while declaring, "It's not fair!"

So you didn’t make it out.  It happens to the best of us! Is your pal pouting about it? Blaming your trooper or other players or the stars above? People who are saltier than the Dead Sea after an escape room (which is ultimately *just a game*) might not be the best at coping with setbacks. We’ve even had people refuse to have their photos taken after their game because they “don’t want to look like losers forever on Facebook.”  While we’ll always honor someone’s request not to be photographed, it really sticks out when everyone else in their group is posing for the camera while they’re sulking out in the lobby.

~~~

Do you necessarily have to dump someone if you see them act badly in an escape room? Of course not! But it’s worth making a note of.  Better yet, if you notice yourself flying some of these red flags, see how you could change things up a bit.

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