Kudos to this week's letter writer for comprehending what his guild's problem is: him.
I have a problem I haven't seen on DM before.
First off let me say, I am the problem and I know it.
I joined a raiding guild mid way through ToT as a tank and we progressed fairly well through it. As time went on and I grew more comfortable with them, a side of me emerged I have never seen before. I became more sensitive to what people said, impatient and just overall "jerky".
Now the other night they raided, one shot all the normal bosses we would do and my guild leader said they sounded like they had fun because they didn't have to worry about upsetting me. This came as quite a shock. I didn't know people were walking on egg shells around me.
I'm at a loss. I feel like it's too late to save face and show people that's really not who I am. I don't want to just leave them without a tank, but I already feel like the only reason they keep me is because I am a tank.
Drama Mama Robin: It's not too late. It's not too late at all. If you take the steps to change your behavior, your guildies will appreciate it -- even if they don't notice right away.
The question is, how do you change your That Guy behavior? I have three steps you can try.
- Stop and think before you speak. This is much easier to do when in text chat as opposed to voice chat. Unfortunately, text chat is not very convenient for raiding and I'm assuming you're using Mumble or something similar when raiding. It's also a difficult thing to do when you're in the heat of the moment. But every effort you make to stop and think before you speak makes you have a better chance of editing what you say so that it doesn't come off jerky.
- Be constructive, not destructive. When you are about to speak, ask yourself what you will accomplish by saying what you want to say. If you want someone to stop standing in bad, then try "Be careful of the purple circles, Bobolas!" instead of whatever it is you normally say. Reminding people is fine. Shouting at them for neglecting to do something is not so fine. Just consciously try to give constructive criticism. You might try taking a deep breath before you say what you're going to say. It will help you calm down and come up with something more helpful instead of harmful.
- Compliment when possible. If someone did something right, say it. "Nice job on the interrupts, Janeowyn." I think you'll find that looking for the positives so that you can compliment will give you an overall better view of how the raid is going. It's important to see what is working as opposed to only seeing what is not working.
One more thing: Don't ask your guildies or the officers or the GM what you can do to change. That could turn into a laundry list of things that you don't want to hear. You know what you need to change without them ganging up on you and making you feel worse than you already do. Just be quiet about your revelation and let your actions speak for themselves.
Good luck and let us know what happens.
Drama Mama Lisa: What you need is a concrete tool to help you avoid That Guy behavior every single raid, every single day. One solution: push to talk. Any time you have to make a separate, physical effort in order to shoot off even a quick remark, you'll gain an extra moment to consider what you're about to say. Will this slow things down in the heat of battle? Undoubtedly. But being too quick on the draw is what got you into this situation in the first place. Seems like a fair trade-off at this point, right?
The thing is, it's going to take time before your guildmates even notice that they're not playing with the same old irascible you. Re-set your internal chronometers now. If you begin feeling like you've been doing a great job being a good guy, yet your guildmates are still ribbing you for being an irritable old coot -- well, that just means you've got further to go until those old impressions fade away.
Will you send us an update to let us know how it's going?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Read Robin's section of this post on how to get your letter answered and please remember that we cannot answer privately.