Game playing is as old as civilization. Positive games enhance the relationship, while negative games can damage the relationship. Let me give you an example of positive game. You know that one of your friends is suffering from inferiority. You play the game of appreciating him/her at every opportunity. This can help your friend regain self-esteem. This game playing is good. Most of the positive games are played consciously, while a majority of negative games are played subconsciously. Let us talk about one of them.
I am better than you and others. This game is played at two levels. I am better at one level and you all have some deficiencies at the other level. Those who need to get self-esteem play this game. They have a very low self esteem and need to prove that they are good. The only way they find is in putting down others and raising ones profile.
This and such other games can damage friendships. You have friends to share pains and pleasures. Your friends are not there to get hit by your criticism. They would avoid you after sometime. Bitter feelings would develop between the game player and the friends and the friends will surely and slowly move away. This game can be dangerous if played by the boss in office. There is no escape there. Once you realize that your boss is playing this game you can look at his/her behavior clinically and remain unaffected. The remedy in all the situations is to watch the game and remain unaffected by it. If possible, talk to your friend and boss and tell them about the way the game is being played by them. That may help them find their self-esteem in other ways.