Playing Words With “Friends”

Are you flirting with me? Is this potential-friend-banter or potential-date-banter? Or is it friend-then-let’s-see-where-it-goes-banter? You understand my jokes about Emily Dickinson’s grammar and politics, and think that everyone should read the newspaper regularly. We both have a love for board games and vocabulary. You ask me if I play Words With Friends. Obviously. After exchanging our somewhat embarrassing (or painfully dull) screen names, we’re off to judge each other’s strategic skills and lexicon.

Your first word is “mount.” Starting off suggestively, aren’t you? I mean, maybe that’s just the best combination of letters you have. I’m reading too much into it. Yes, that must be it. I try to play it cool, but then I realize that I can triple letter if I use the word “begets.” That’s not helping. But it did put me in the lead.

Neither of us says anything about our introductory words and we continue on. Lottery. Privy. Fig. Focal. Heart.

Before we know it, several games have passed. One has barely finished when an invitation to start a new game is sent. At first I sent them, but then I waited, hoping to see if you’d reciprocate or if I was the pity play.

Soon, you and I are playing at 1—2—3 in the morning, sharing words like allele, odah, avouch, and bonze. We’re using the chat feature instead of actual texts, sharing complaints about a lack of vowels, or having too many n-tiles. It feels strangely intimate, playing Words With Friends with you in the early hours of the morning. Everyone else is asleep, and here we are, continuing on. Squinted. Paint. Peon. Love.

We still chat via text during the day, never mentioning our linguistic rivalry. But then, as the number of games and emoticon-riddled banter add up, I can’t help but wonder: are we flirting? Is this Words With Friends, or Words With “Friends”? I’ll freely admit that I am probably the world’s most daft person when it comes to recognizing a pass, but I think we crossed a line somewhere back in game seven when you complimented me on my use of “polemical.”

It’s nearing four in the morning, and you just triple-word scored with the word “foreplay.” I’m not making this up, right? Can’t we just use these words in a real conversation, instead of letting our tiles do the talking? TC Mark

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