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Drama Mamas: Sexist jerk or personality conflict?

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

Lisa and I had different reactions to this week's letter, which is always more fun than when we agree -- don't you think?
Dear Mamas,

My husband and I hopped servers in November and joined a new raiding guild. We were really unhappy with our old server and have found the new one quite wonderful. We thoroughly enjoy our new guild and have been with them for a number of months. We progress with a light raid schedule, doing heroics and keeping a 25 man raiding guild alive. Unfortunately there is one member who has made things quite inhospitable. I'll refer to him as X. X came in on a server transfer, someone the officers and long standing guild members had known and played with for a while. Coming in I thought he was a great player, did everything his class was supposed to do. Then he spoke. And wrote. And trolled our forums. And the more he spoke the more he got under my skin. Mainly the constant bashing of women in general, but also of the women in our guild.
I've brought it up to the officers (two of them anyway, the two I feel most comfortable talking to) however they both brush it off as "That's just X, he's always been like that, we've raided with him for 5 years he's all bark don't worry about it". I tried to ignore it, but every time I post something on our guild forums it seems like he's there slapping it. Every time I try to get a random heroic off the ground with guildies he comes with and wipes us by purposely pulling off the tank (i.e. attacking Circle when Skull is still up. He's not that dense.) and pulling groups without the tank being ready -- basically being That Guy. Its to the point with him that I've put him on ignore on his main and alt on all my toons in the guild. I hate doing that.

I'm not sure how to handle the situation. I like harmony. I know that isn't always possible but I'd like this person to show some more respect to his fellow guildmates. We aren't a hard guild, raids are typically light and fun outside of the pull, and I enjoy the banter, and sometimes there are jokes ("Hey *female player* while yer gettin dinner make me a sammich" and pokes at one another male and female alike) there should be a line here that it seems he should know about.

Perhaps he's socially inept, which I admit I can be, is there any way I could approach him and explain what his incessant bashing does to the morale of the female players in the guild and how we basically don't want to deal with him in alt runs or any time outside of our raid times when we're required to deal with him? I do not want to leave my guild and I see no reason why I should based on one player who, though they've known him for years, came to this particular guild quite a few months after I did. Any advice will be much appreciated. Thank you ladies for your time.

Sincerely,
Not Sure What To Do
Drama Mama Robin: I went through something very similar a few years ago. That Guy was full of hate and abuse to all women, particularly me. I attempted to talk to him in tells and found him impervious to polite reason. A direct quote: "All you people on the internet aren't real." He said it in jest to the guild at large, but all of his other actions and words backed up that statement. When I privately complained to an officer, I was told the same thing you were and that I was being too sensitive. I felt so harassed and abused that I stopped playing for a while.

When I came back, The Spousal Unit had transferred to a more serious raiding guild, and I got in on the Can my casual wife come too? plan. Life in Azeroth was suddenly stress-free again. Also, this guild has more fun and progresses faster through content because it doesn't allow abusive antics. Imagine that.

NSWTD, you have done all the right things. You've not engaged him publicly, and you've expressed your concerns to your officers. He's That Guy, and your guild is enabling him. It's not right. It's not fair. It's not something you should have to put up with. But it's your choice if you do.

Let's be clear here. He's a funsucker and he's griefing you. You wouldn't put up with this behavior in a PUG, and you're getting it in your guild. It's not acceptable. Because you can't change That Guy (you can't) and because your officers would rather stay friends with him than with you (it's true), you should leave. But it might be best to give the leadership one more chance before you do, since you are so reluctant to leave.

Unfortunately, anything you say here is going to sound like an ultimatum. But it really is him or you. Send a brief message to your guild leader that says the following things in your own words:
  • Briefly summarize That Guy's griefing. Tell your GM that you will provide more details if necessary.
  • Note that you went to two officers and received no help. Name the officers.
  • Explain that you will have to find a new guild that doesn't condone griefing, unfortunately, if your GM is unable to help you.
If your GM backs up the officers and That Guy, then make a post on your guild's forums offering continued friendship to all but that you have to go. Don't mention That Guy or make references to his griefing. Any drama you bring up in this goodbye post will sour you for future, better guilds. When you do find a griefer-free home (and there are plenty of them), make sure to invite the other women in That Guy's guild to make a drama-free exit to join you. Invite any guys who are uncomfortable with That Guy's antics, too.

You shouldn't have to put up with That Guy's behavior in any atmosphere; but at least in Azeroth, you have total control over whether you do. Exercise it.

Drama Mama Lisa: It sounds like you've joined a guild of friends, rather than a hardcore raiding guild. Unfortunately, you're not finding yourself to be compatible with all of the friends involved. Don't lean too hard on the rationalization that you got there first -- because actually, you didn't. That Guy's been raiding with these players for years. They obviously both recognize and tolerate (and perhaps even have a fondness for) his "irascible" ways. You're solidly the newcomer here.

I'm going to play devil's advocate and do a little poking around between the lines. I'm not seeing mention of anyone else who's offended by That Guy's behavior. I'm not reading that guildmates are dodging his groups based on his horrifying lack of skill; in fact, you specifically mentioned how strong his skills are, at least until he began (as you suspect) purposely messing with your groups. I'm also not reading that others are banding together with you to protest his sexist behavior. Overall, it doesn't sound as if That Guy is having the same effect on others in the guild.

While I'm fairly confident that That Guy is, as you say, actually making irritating (and possibly even inappropriate) jokes and remarks about women, this doesn't really smell like gross misconduct or griefing to me. I suspect what we have here is the old classic when Friend A doesn't get along with Friend B. The point is not whether or not the other person's behavior is personally repugnant to you; the point is that the group as a whole accepts and desires his presence. Sometimes, it's the right thing to do to put your foot down and insist that everyone adhere to a certain standard of behavior. Sometimes, though, you find yourself among people who feel differently than you do about certain behavior and certain people, and it's not your place to insist upon a change.

If your guild were an all-business raiding guild, I'd hope you could put a little more pressure on the leadership to tune up the social environment and make things more welcoming for all. You could go to the GM, as Robin suggests, or you could even tackle things head on with That Guy himself. If you think your guild is leaning more toward a mission of raiding than a mission as a social guild, that might be the most suitable course of action.

But if what we have here is a social guild, then it's a group that's chosen its poison, so to speak. His friendship with this group predates yours, and your officers have made it clear that he is an accepted, established part of the guild's social fabric. In this case, the best choice is to find a way to get along with him, ignore him, or get away from him entirely.

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at robin@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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