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RITUALS, PASTIMES, GAMES, INTIMACY, WORK. There are five ways people can structure their time to get strokes: 1. A ritual is a pre-set exchange of recognition strokes. 2. A pastime is a pre-set conversation around a certain subject. Pastimes are most evident at cocktail parties and family get-togethers. Some common pastimes are: Weather (Hot enough for you?) PTA (pot luck or catered?), Sports (How ’bout them Yankees?) Drugs (Should Marijuana Be Legalized?), or Who's Divorcing Who? (Musical Beds). 3. Games are repetitive, devious series of transactions intended to get strokes. Unfortunately, the strokes obtained in games are mostly negative. A game is a failed method of getting wanted strokes. 4. Intimacy is a direct and powerful exchange of strokes which people crave but seldom attain because the Child is frightened away from it by hurtful experiences. Intimacy is not the same as sex, although it often occurs in sex. Sex, however, can also be a ritual, a pastime, a game, or work. 5. Work is an activity which has a product as its result. Good work results in the exchange of strokes as a side effect.
Intimacy and work are the most satisfying ways of obtaining strokes. Unfortunately, lasting intimacy is difficult to achieve because people are often emotionally illiterate and work is often unsatisfying when people work in isolation and don’t get praise for their accomplishments. Therefore, people must resort to rituals, games, and pastimes which are safer, though far less satisfying ways of obtaining strokes. For example, a marriage can be an endless and boring series of rituals, pastimes and games. Frequently this is because both partners live on the basis of stroke-depriving life scripts which prevent men from being emotional and intimate and women from being able to use their Adult to ask for and get the love they want.
DEGREES. Games can be played in a range of degrees. For instance, the above example of the game YDYB is the softest (first degree) version of the game because it is relatively harmless. The hard (third degree) version of this game might be played by an alcoholic who "yes, buts" every suggestion of the Rescuer to his dying moment. Third degree games involve tissue damage.
ROLES. Different people play different roles in the games they play. When a person is are willing to play one of the roles of a game he will often find himself playing the other roles in the game. There are a variety of roles but the three basic game roles are Persecutor, Rescuer, and Victim. Whole families marriages, work places, schools and friendships are often based on these roles. The three roles can be arranged in a triangle to illustrate what happens: