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Officers' Quarters: When your raiders break up

Sad dwarf
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook

Romantic relationships sure can complicate running a guild. If you lead a raiding guild long enough, someday you're going to have romantic partners who raid together. Sometimes they meet in the game and develop a relationship. Sometimes one convinces the other to raid with them. Either way, when a breakup occurs, it can have a big impact on your raid team. This week, an officer who lost a raider over a breakup is wondering what to do about it.

Dear Scott,

First off let me say I'm a fan of your column, every time I'm asked for help by an officer or friend I point them to your posts first and my guild even has your blog in our officer handbook. But let me get to the point of this letter, I'm currently an advisor for a small guild of players that moved over from our old guild when they had a fallout with the new guild master (and co-gm). Things have been going well if not great (2 heroic kills ...). However issues relating to guild members dating has often resulted in one of them leaving the guild because the other isn't taking the break up well.

Up until the latest one I haven't been around to talk to the member leaving (player A). Sadly I wasn't successful and he still left however I did find that the other guild member (player 1) wasn't taking the break up well and player A just didn't feel conformable in the guild any more. I don't know what to do, I don't want to lose player 1 if I confront her but I don't want lose player A as well.

Kre

Hi, Kre. It feels bad to lose a raider this way, no doubt about it. Just keep in mind that you couldn't have done anything to prevent this outcome. It's not on you.

The good news here is that this former couple is handling the situation rather maturely so far. Imagine a scenario where they both stay, but they bicker and snipe at each other, ruin guild chat, and distract your raids. You've dodged that bullet at least.

Ten-foot pole

The old saying about a "ten-foot pole" applies here. Don't go anywhere near this issue. While your guild was certainly affected by this drama, it's personal drama, not guild drama. And it's as personal as personal drama gets.

This is a charged and emotional situation. There's very little you can do to make it better. There are, however, many outcomes where you could make it worse by getting involved. You could lose the other player, too. You could make them both so mad at you or so uncomfortable that they never want to be part of the guild ever again.

Let it be. Let them figure it out between themselves. It's not your place.

Don't get sucked in

Drama of any type is like a tornado. You think you're safe. You think you're far enough away. Then you get scooped off the ground and you're whirling around in the air.

Officers can sometimes become de facto therapists for their players. It's OK if people want to vent to you (as long as you don't mind it). Sometimes just listening can help someone deal with an issue.

In this situation, it's likely that neither person wants to talk to you about it. If they do approach you to talk, however, be very careful. That person may try to convince you to take their side. Don't fall into this trap. Don't take sides.

They may badmouth the other person. Tell them you don't want to hear it. You can draw a line about what you will and won't listen to.

The person who left may try to sway you into kicking the person who stayed, so they can come back. Don't give in, no matter what they say. Follow your guild's rules and policies.

Fallout

Breakups tend to become less painful over time. Hopefully these two will be able to be friends in the future. If that happens, maybe the player who left will want to return.

Don't count on it, though. You have to do what's best for the guild here. That means replacing the raider who left.

In my fifth anniversary column, one of my four lessons was this, "You can actually control very little." This situation is out of your control. As officers we are tempted to try to solve every problem, but some problems are beyond our ability to solve. All we can do is accept what happened and move forward.

/salute
Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to scott@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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