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Drama Mamas: Of flings and friendships

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.

Harassment is as harassment does.
Dear Drama Mamas,

To put it simply, I am incredibly overwhelmed by a mix of issues with my guild both online and off. I have been with the same guild since about 2009(ish) and was one of the founding members. I assisted with raid leading, recruitment, and many other facets of keeping things running. Myself, our guild leader - who I will call J, and a fellow officer, W were all very close friends for several years.

Until I made a fatal mistake. During a guild event myself and W got... a little too close. I know it was a mistake and it has been having a negative impact on my life for several years now. Whenever I would date anyone else, W would become incredibly jealous and angry, to the point of threatening me, and making incredibly lewd remarks to me via e-mail or messenger services. J, on the other hand did not want to become involved (reasonably so, I think) and would not address the issue.
I eventually stopped logging into game because of the messages I would receive from W. I feel it really ruined my enjoyment of the game as I eventually began to fear what I would be told when I logged in. Now, for some perspective, J has been one of my dearest friends for nearly 10 years. They mean a lot to me. On several occasions have even opened up their home to me. I feel if I left our guild that they would be incredibly hurt by this, so even if I never login, at least they know I'm still there.

I really want to come back and enjoy the game without feeling that at any moment some nasty or mean thing will be said to me because of a mistake from years ago. Should I leave and join another faction/server? I'm at a loss.

Kind Regards,

Little Lost Priest
Drama Mama RobinDrama Mama Robin: I find that while W is the prime offender and a criminally harassing jerk, J is getting the bulk of my ire. How can such a good friend be such a bad friend? W threatens you and makes you miserable in game. How can J not want to help you put a stop to it? As guild leader, he is the one to stop that behavior between any two guildies, let alone good friends.

What I'm going to say may seem like an ultimatum, which we always say are bad, drama-causing things. But you need to put your foot down. You can't put up with this any longer. W's behavior has to stop or else you just can't stay in guild. Who cares if J's feelings are hurt? He certainly doesn't care about yours.

Perhaps there is a lack of communication here. Have you told W to stop his harassment? If not, you need to. And do call it harassment because it is. If he refuses, then you need to treat him like any stranger who harasses you.
  • Tell him to not contact you in any way.
  • Put him on ignore.
  • Report the next in-game incident to the GM.
  • Report the next threat to the police.
  • Document, document, document. Take screenshots. Keep a journal.
You also need to tell J that you cannot be in the same guild as someone who is harassing you. It's black and white. He can choose the criminal (and threatening you is criminal behavior) or he can choose his good friend, the criminal's victim. If he still doesn't want to get involved, then I'm sorry -- I'm so, so sorry -- but you're going to have to escape to another server. No friend would let you go through this, Little Lost Priest, so don't worry about how he feels about your leaving.

It's your choice if you want to remain friends with J, but steer clear of W, unless he has acknowledged his harassment, agreed to stop and apologized..

Good luck and tell us how things work out.

Drama Mama LisaDrama Mama Lisa: It's difficult to say what's going on here, Little Lost Priest, because you say nothing substantial about what conversations you may and may not already have had with W and J. So that's the first step -- being clear with everyone involved.

How do you feel about W now? Do you still consider yourself friends at any level? What do you want to happen in this relationship? If you're still open to being friends, you're going to have to broach the topic of how much his remarks hurt you. If you don't have this conversation, you're missing the opportunity to clearly inform him to knock it off if he's out of line. If the door is closed on that friendship, however, take the steps Robin advised above, and block his IMs and phone calls and filter his emails. (Either automatically delete them or move them to a folder where they're marked as read and out of sight.)

Once you've got that sorted, move on to J. Have you explained what happened, or did you brush it under the carpet? Clarify where things currently stand so that if W begins harassing you again, it's on the record that the matter has become harassment. Will J commit to taking action in his capacity as GM if W's behavior gets out of line? And is J really the supportive friend you thought him to be?

At this point, put some thought into how strongly you feel about maintaining your membership in this guild and your friendship with J. Assuming the worst, if W begins his bad behavior again, would you rather hang on while J tackles the issue, or would you prefer to simply avoid the whole mess by playing elsewhere? One thing in all this is certain: There's no turning back the clock. The friendship you all enjoyed before any of this happened has changed forever, and you can't recapture that. You have to either clean up the mess or disengage.

You sound pretty miserable about the whole prospect, yet your reasons for staying with this guild seem more connected to other people's feelings and a friendship that has its own life outside the game. In the time it's taken to write this letter and wait for our reply to be published, you could have leveled a new main character that nobody in this situation is even aware of. With so many players to meet in WoW, why not find a new group of friends to play with? We'll even help you get started. Beyond that, it's not up to W or to J -- it's up to you. Whatever you decide, here's to a smooth return to WoW.

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at robin@wowinsider.com. Read Robin's section of this post on how to get your letter answered and please remember that we cannot answer privately.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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