5) Pretend To Be Nice/Play the Social Game – Act Like an Adult/Don’t Drink Too Much/Don’t Be Lazy or Show Your Bad Habits/Keep Your Politics and Controversial Beliefs To Yourself
The prior rule covered how to keep emotions out of your decisions. However, that doesn’t mean you can treat other players as pawns in a literal sense, because you’re going to need those players to vote for you to win at the end. While you keep yourself emotionally detached, you need to use the emotions of others and understand how those can affect their opinions of you. While I still maintain that strategy – scheming and plotting – is the most important factor, the social game is a very important part of Big Brother as well – perhaps more important than it is on Survivor due to the length of the game and the lack of a true jury discussion at the end.
As you’re making alliances, you have to pretend to be nice. If you don’t like somebody, keep your real feelings inside. In general, people aren’t going to ally themselves with you if they think you’re a jerk or you’re untrustworthy – unless, of course, you convince them that you’re untrustworthy to everybody but them. Yes, it keeps coming back to Dr. Will. When you’re in the house for three months, others just don’t want somebody who pisses them off to be there that whole time. And even if you do succeed in somehow getting to the final two, if the jury thinks you’re too much of an ass, you still don’t get the big money. So many recent seasons have been decided this way. It can be upsetting to those who value strategy over everything, but none of that matters if the jury just doesn’t like you as much as the person sitting next to you.
One part of the game that many players don’t think enough about is the goodbye video. Everybody gets to make one to say “sayonara” to the person who is voted out each week. Often, it’s all nicey-nicey, but sometimes people can get a bit nasty. Time after time we see people being nasty to the player who got voted out for no good reason even though those players are headed to the jury! It’s so easy to simply say, “Great game. We might not have been on the same side, but I admired your play,” or some other BS. Why not say it? It could be the difference between winning and losing.
Also remember that the others are playing a game as well. This means you will almost certainly be nominated – deal with it. That means you don’t use the HOH’s toothbrush to clean the toilet or blow off your Have Not restrictions and destroy the property of other people. Being nominated is not the end of the world, if you play your cards right.
It might seem like it shouldn’t be necessary to tell people to act like an adult. But Big Brother history says otherwise. There have been players who’ve picked fights, thrown things around, acted like brats, screamed at each other over stupid things, you name it. I get that it can be a stressful situation, but you’re not helping yourself if you act like a child.
Similarly, you need to watch your alcohol consumption. We know there isn’t much to do in the house, but the producers sometimes provide plenty of booze as a way to spark activity. That doesn’t mean you have to drink it – if only for strategic reasons. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, which means you are more likely to not only do something that will embarrass you, but to also spill the beans about your alliances. Or you just might violate the advice from the previous paragraph about acting like an adult. What makes for good TV often also makes for horrible strategy. Just keep in mind that with half a million bucks, you can buy a lot of beer later.
Part of keeping up a good social game is also to do your best to avoid getting on people’s nerves. It’s good to remember that when you are stuck with a bunch of people 24/7 for a long period of time, every little thing will get on somebody’s nerves. Strive to get rid of those bad habits that have been plaguing you – cracking your knuckles, biting your nails, forgetting to wash your hands after using the bathroom, leaving your dirty dishes in the sink, etc. Similarly, make sure to do your share of the work. Clean up after yourself. Do some cooking and cleaning (just don’t use somebody else’s toothbrush to clean the toilet). You don’t want to give people a reason to target you. Strategy is hard enough without fighting an uphill battle against a bad reputation.
Finally, you also have to remember to shut your trap when it comes to politics or other areas that might be controversial. If for example you’re a lone conservative with a bunch of liberals, just shut up. Nobody needs to hear your opinions. You’re just causing trouble for yourself when it’s unnecessary. Yes, it’s a long time to sit around and hide your true opinions 24/7, but you didn’t expect it to be easy to win half a million dollars, did you?
Big Brother 11’s Ronnie told me as we prepared for the first podcast of this All Stars season that in his season, he forgot the one quote he told himself while in sequester, from Maya Angelou: People will forget what you say and what you do. They will never forget how you make them feel. That is indeed a good way to remember the heart of this rule.