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How to ask a long-time friend to never game again?


Gamer Talk

Cheliax

Ugh. I finally have a problem I don't know how to tackle.

I have a best friend whose behavior at the gaming table has turned for the worst. Cheating, questioning the rules, insulting the players and the GM, mocking the adventure, the system, and even our minis and dice. Add on to that that he is as stubborn as a mule and NEVER listens to input or criticism, and you're dealing with a horrible gamer.

But he was the best man at my wedding! It would cause a huge rift if I asked him to NEVER, EVER, come to ANY game EVER again. But no one wants him there.

Help?


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Really, i would say take a break from running games enough time he knows your having a break then resume and do not invite him. But if you have alot of friends in common this will not work well.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

"Hey man, you've been acting obnoxious at our games. The other players have reached a point where they aren't comfortable gaming with you. We're still friends but unless your behaviour changes I can't invite you to any games."

Cheliax

Mojorat wrote:
Really, i would say take a break from running games enough time he knows your having a break then resume and do not invite him. But if you have alot of friends in common this will not work well.

Yeah, I thought of that, but he is really tied into my group of friends, and is even one of the other player's boss. He'd know.


Why do you want him as a friend?


This is not a gaming issue. He does not seem to enjoy himself, or at least not the things he should enjoy in what you do together. Asking him why is a good start. It is possible he is stressed out, depressed, or otherwise not functioning. If the answer is not something you can deal with, inform him that it is not working, and that he is welcome back when he is ready to play the game and respect the rules for that activity, as well as play well with the others. It doesn't mean you aren't friends, but what you are seeing tells you that gaming doesn't sit well with him.


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I think that being honest, being kind, and being vulnerable are all the best you can do as a friend. Even if that sounds hard (it is), it's worth it.


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Lightbulb wrote:
Why do you want him as a friend?

Obnoxious gamer does not (necessarily) equal obnoxious person in general?

That's my guess anyways.


Goblins Eighty-Five wrote:
Mojorat wrote:
Really, i would say take a break from running games enough time he knows your having a break then resume and do not invite him. But if you have alot of friends in common this will not work well.
Yeah, I thought of that, but he is really tied into my group of friends, and is even one of the other player's boss. He'd know.

Wow, this sucks, I'd never play with my boss: you don't cast haste on him and get unpaid extra work the next day...

Generally the GM is expected to solve this kind of stuff: are you the GM?


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Let him you are telling him the truth, because he is your friend.


First thought is if he comes here he may have already figured it out. Second thought is that taking a break may be good for every one. If perchance you could later continue the game or make a new one and request that it have limited people ask the others first so by the time he finds out you are full. It may be he'll figure it out but not always the case. This is of course the sneakier method. Honesty works too if he is one of those who are reasonable when confronted with honesty, some people aren't. In my group we've had people who threw fits and walked out for a while and we just continued without them, eventually they calm down and realize they missed alot of fun because of a bad attitude. It is somewhat humbling to a person to have to ask if they'd be allowed into a group they left of their own accord. If he is having an attitude but won't leave on his own you could suggest politely that he could watch without playing if he doesn't actually enjoy the game but wants to be part of the group still, in which case he should respect the role of the spectator.


-this sounds odd...is he getting divorced? trying to quit smoking? Huge personality swings (as he isn't always a jerk, see best man mention) are often a sign of major life changes or stress...
-It's 4pm and I'm drunk already, but I broke with my girlfriend on Friday. Am I usually drink at 4 pm...no.


My rule as a GM is quite simple. Treat others as you wish to be treated. If they can not understand this, or abide with civilized behaviour I gladly fire them from the group. Being a GM is enough stress and concentration as it is and having to babysit somebody is out of the question. It's either grow up and play, or go back to middle school.


He either is really bored, finds the game tedious, has some personal issues or feels wronged in some way most likely, just be frank and talk to him about it one on one.

Shadow Lodge

Take a break, see if there's something going on that's causing it. Definitely give some warning before cutting him off out of the blue.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Goblins Eighty-Five wrote:

Ugh. I finally have a problem I don't know how to tackle.

I have a best friend whose behavior at the gaming table has turned for the worst. Cheating, questioning the rules, insulting the players and the GM, mocking the adventure, the system, and even our minis and dice. Add on to that that he is as stubborn as a mule and NEVER listens to input or criticism, and you're dealing with a horrible gamer.

But he was the best man at my wedding! It would cause a huge rift if I asked him to NEVER, EVER, come to ANY game EVER again. But no one wants him there.

Help?

"{insert name here}, you've been my friend for many years, and I don't love you any the less, but as your friend I have to say some stuff you won't want to hear: lately you have been acting like a total obnoxious jerk at the gaming table. Everyone's getting real tired of it, me included. If you don't like gaming that much, no-one's going to be offended if you don't show, but right now you are ruining everyone's evening, every time. As your friend, I'm telling you that you're in danger of blowing off all your other friends. As the DM, I'm telling you to knock it off or leave. If you have problems we can help, we're your friends, but we aren't your whipping boys and we can't help if you don't talk to us."

If that doesn't work, or if you can't face saying it, there's method two:

Contact all the players but him, and let them know that there is action to be taken. Next time he acts up, all of you get up and walk out. If he's not bothered, fine, arrange the next game with the other players and just don't invite him. If he does mind, explain to him why everyone is pissed with him and let him take whatever action he feels appropriate.

Edit: Big Norse Wolf could be right, there could be other stuff going on in his life that he is taking out at the table. Stress at work, marital problems, money worries can all do this and more. Problem is you cannot do much about them unless he chooses to share them. If he is stressed, get him to see his doctor and whatever people are appropriate to help (marriage counselling, accountant, business advisor, whatever), and to take a break from gaming to take the heat off.


Just stop inviting him, and keep gaming if he asks why he wasn't told the group was getting together and gaming than tell him "Your attitude was horrible lately repoint it out to him, and say I thought you needed a break." Than reinvite him after a month or so, and he'll either fix his attitude or you can tell him just to stop coming, because he's being a jerk and ruining everyones good time.


Like other's have already said, ask him why he's acting that way. Maybe there's something in his personal life going on or whatnot. It's not cool for him to be acting like that and I don't know if he has a history of this or not, but you've got to say something.


--I once played with a guy who screamed "You're all out to get me," and threw his dice at us! and his room mate explained, "he forgot his happy pills."


HarbinNick wrote:
--I once played with a guy who screamed "You're all out to get me," and threw his dice at us! and his room mate explained, "he forgot his happy pills."

Were you out to get him though?


No, actually he went nuts over darkvision and low light vision being different, and he had an elf.


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If he's your best friend, you can be straight forward with him. Talk to him away from the group, preferably on a non-game night. Ask him what's going on. He's either going to open up or ask you to elaborate. Let him know that you are willing to help him with whatever you can. Let him know that he is being a jerk to you and the others at the table. He may be allowing himself to be out of character because you are all close friends. Let him know that he can't continue to treat you all that way if he wants to continue gaming. If he decides to take a break, make sure you let him know that he is welcome back at the table when he gets his life back in order enough to be cool with everyone again.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Talk to him privately, ask him if something is going on is his life because this is not like him. When you find out what is wrong sympathize and ask him to not take it out on the rest of his friends.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Maps Subscriber

Advice? Don't fall victim to Geek Social Fallacies, particuarly #1, 3, or 5.


I reconstructed my gaming group recently, taking some new members into the hobby with an old face and friend still at the table. I know exactly what this thread is about, and I have been there. One I knew and no longer game with, was as obnoxious as the first guy, arguably even worse since he also dmed. Another just wasn't fun to be around, overly sensitive to any suggestions or criticism, terrible gm, etc. New beginnings can be good.

Good link Feegle.

Shadow Lodge

We had a similar problem in our group. We did kind of an intervention one session and explained our concerns. He was having problems with family/work/health. He was better for a session or two, but quickly went back to his old cranky self. In the end we figured out he just didn't like the d20 system as it had been slowly building up since 3.5 and he wasn't that bad when we played Dresden Files. He left the group on his own and when we've discussed on facebook trying different games he's seemed interested. Unforunatly the current group isn't interested in trying other games.

Osirion

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber

Do an intervention and get him help to break the meth habit.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Goblins Eighty-Five wrote:
Cheating, questioning the rules, insulting the players and the GM, mocking the adventure, the system, and even our minis and dice. Add on to that that he is as stubborn as a mule and NEVER listens to input or criticism, and you're dealing with a horrible gamer.

You know, I just thought of a way to get through to him how unacceptable his behaviour is: secretly video it, then show it to him. You'd be amazed at the difference between how he thinks he is behaving and how he is actually behaving, and so would he.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Sissyl wrote:
This is not a gaming issue. He does not seem to enjoy himself, or at least not the things he should enjoy in what you do together. Asking him why is a good start. It is possible he is stressed out, depressed, or otherwise not functioning. If the answer is not something you can deal with, inform him that it is not working, and that he is welcome back when he is ready to play the game and respect the rules for that activity, as well as play well with the others. It doesn't mean you aren't friends, but what you are seeing tells you that gaming doesn't sit well with him.

I like this and second it. First he is your best friend right? Do you talk outside of gaming? I can't imagine not telling my best friend about any and all things happening in my life. So... start off by talking to him. Tell him you've noticed a change in his gaming behavior (I am assuming he wasn't always like this.) I would be honest and tell him how much it hurt when he insulted me and my game. Hopefully this best friend will open up and let you know why they aren't happy in the game anymore... Or is it also outside the game? Find out. BUT always let your friends know they can take a break from gaming and there will still be a place at the table for when they wish to return. Also! Don't let your friend go away alone. Make plans to do stuff with him outside the game if you don't already do this. Sometimes just spending a few hours with them on the phone every few days to stay updated on each others lives is just the thing to smooth out those depressed or angry feelings we all get.


I've been through this with my best friend and had to have an intervention where I explained the rest of the group refused to even play with him anymore. We split into two groups for months (me running both separately) until he finally agreed to work on his behavior and was invited back.

It was rough and is still sensitive when brought up. Right now my spouse has refused to play anymore with him in the group because of the way he speaks to his spouse (another player). Ugh.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dabbler wrote:
Goblins Eighty-Five wrote:
Cheating, questioning the rules, insulting the players and the GM, mocking the adventure, the system, and even our minis and dice. Add on to that that he is as stubborn as a mule and NEVER listens to input or criticism, and you're dealing with a horrible gamer.
You know, I just thought of a way to get through to him how unacceptable his behaviour is: secretly video it, then show it to him. You'd be amazed at the difference between how he thinks he is behaving and how he is actually behaving, and so would he.

Then secretly tape yourself revealing to him that you secretly taped him so we can watch it on youtube......

Or not. Im sorry but I think thats a terrible idea. The guy was your best man for crying out loud how can it be this delicate of a situation? My best friend (man) and I have an understanding. When I realized our gaming styles were incompatible we had it out over a beer. We dont game together which kind of sucks but it all worked out. I wish I had better advice for you but be honest sounds like he needs it right now.


As others have said, talk to him outside of the game and just explain the problem. You should be able to have such a difficult conversation with him, since he is your best friend.

I would certainly do my best to keep him in the group, but doing that requires you to intervene, or else you might just lose the whole group. I wouldn't videotape him, because that is very sensitive. Still, you might consider taking some notes during a session about the things he does or says, that way you can confront him with his behavior if necessary in a way that will not offend him as much as filming him might.

For your friendship AND for your love of the game, I hope you can solve this issue peacefully. Good luck.


Yeah. The only good way to deal with this is honestly-- you love him, but you're not going to keep playing with him if he's going to keep being a jerk at the table. Talk to him honestly and tell him everything he's doing that is not okay.

He can either listen to you and start acting like a grown-up, or he can find other people to play with. You're giving him that choice.


Gluttony wrote:
Lightbulb wrote:
Why do you want him as a friend?

Obnoxious gamer does not (necessarily) equal obnoxious person in general?

That's my guess anyways.

I don't buy that. The way it's being described I imagine either the guy is generally unpleasent to be around, or something happened recently to make him manifest all these problems.

This guy go through a divorce or find out his dad has caner or something??

If not, at he's just a jerk at the table, tell him. If outside the game he is just as stuborn and unopen to critisism then stop being his friend. Just because someone was your friend, best man at your wedding, kids godfather, or whatever it doesn't matter. If you don't like being around him and neither does everyone else in the group, then it's not a very friendly friendship.


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I would NOT recommend trying to keep playing behind his back. For one, this is incredibly passive aggressive, and things like that tends to escalate - you are betraying his trust when you do this (which is much worse than telling him you can't game with him anymore), and it will be a much more personal attack than just asking him to stop coming to sessions.

I would find another medium the two of you (and maybe your other friends) enjoy and that he doesn't act up with; it might be a sport, video games, or some sort of hobby, ect. Be proactive about doing this stuff with him, so you make sure you get across the notion that in no way is this affecting your friendship with him. It will be easier to talk to him about it if he doesn't think you are trying to boot him because you don't like him. It will also help if your other friends are on board with this plan, because, again, you don't want to seem like you're excommunicating him from the group - it's just Pathfinder that is the problem.

The last thing you need to make sure you do is try to talk through these issues and try to see if you can help resolve them.

A little tidbit about something I had to deal with recently:

I worked with a guy named Justin. He is a good ol' country boy (I live in Tennessee, so this isn't uncommon) - dipped, hunted, camo jacket, the works. He is a swell guy and really funny, been married for about a year now.. I went over to his place a few times, threw a couple of beers back and played MW3 with him and a few other coworkers.

When I play video games, my competitive side really comes out, and I like to mess around with people I'm playing with. Even if they're on my team, I will joke around and poke fun if they do worse than me. My swearing also goes up, but that's not relevant.

So I started dogging on him when he would lose, and I found out quickly the guy would go into a rage if I did it too much. Of course, I stopped, but the damage was done - the guy was irate for the rest of the night. The next time I came over, I wasn't sure if that was just a bad night the time before, but I wanted to see, so I threw out one little joke, and the same reaction: serious anger.

I ended up just talking to him about it, and it turns out he was having some serious marriage issues. He had found out his wife had lied to him pretty constantly about things she was doing, but he didn't have it in him to confront her about it. He said he almost didn't want to find out what was going on, because he was worried she was cheating.

Currently, they finally have talked about things, and they both deleted their Facebooks to remove temptations, and I no longer work with him, so I have no idea how things are going.

Anyway, point is, you ought to try to work out things with him before you just kick him. The fact that he doesn't accept criticism is an indicator that he has some issues going on outside of the realm of what the criticism is for.


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Nuke the table from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Cheliax

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CourtFool wrote:
Nuke the table from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Look. I'm not blind to what is going on, but I cannot authorize that kind of action. I'm sorry.

-------

Alright, thanks everyone. Getting alot of the same advice here, so I'll take it, but he isn't the type to take criticism well at all, so I see this exploding, but honestly? His behavior isn't anything new, we just haven't gamed with him in over 4 years. Now I see why...


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Whatever you do DO NOT do the 'quit for a while, start up again and don't re-invite him'. That is a crap cop-out way to not handle the situation and make it worse.
We tried this years ago with a friend in a similar situation. We took a break for 3 or 4 months, and the GM decided not to reinvite him. To make a long story short, he was quite resentful about being treated like that ("you guys coulbdn't talk to me!??!") and ended what was otherwise a great friendship for most of us.
Either he is worth being honest and up front with, or he's not a friend.

Osirion

To the OP.

I feel for you. I was on the edges of a similar situation. It was not handled well. Everyone just tried to ignore it until someone finally exploded. Then everyone ganged up on the offender. The several friendships died and the group broke up. It was a lose-lose all around.

I am not one that can do it well, but I think you have to talk to the guy one-on-one. Start off with something along the lines of
"Lately I have been feeling that you don't like playing the game with us..."

Stay away from
"You have been..."

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@Goblin 85;

Has this guy been a long-term gamer?
Does he show an interest in gaming outside of your sessions? (reading rules, buying magazines, painting figures, watching 'gamer' movies?)
Does he game with other groups, or has his only gaming been with you?

The reason I ask, is that a lot of these symptoms suggest boredom, or active dislike of the game. Like he's only there because he wants to hang with you, but wishes he didn't have to waste his time playing this stupid game.

It's a symptom that's come up LOTS of times with groups I've known, as someone brings The Clingy Girlfriend*, or The Non-Geek School Friend From Way Back.

Such a person makes every effort to distract their target from the game, slow the game down to a crawl, ridicule the genre/rules/scenario/players/GM, suggest other things they could be doing, demand special treatment, pout, sulk, create drama, force their intended crush to take sides, split up the group, and 'claim back' the object of their obsession from these rivals.

You need to find out if this friend actually likes gaming, or if he's only ever done it out of some twisted loyalty. If he doesn't want to be there, then he should stay away. Pick another night to meet, go grab a beer, watch some sport, whatever the two of you find mutually enjoyable. What is not acceptable is to waste a space at the game table that could go to a more deserving person, and to ruin the fun for everyone.

*This is one of the major reasons female gamers encounter a frosty reception from some groups. It's not fair to load a new person with baggage you're carrying around from years ago. But the disproportionate wrecking power of such a parasite can linger for years after.


Get it out in the open, discuss it, be calm, get whatever happens over with. Don't let it drag on and f*ck sh*t up over the long term.

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