I can't figure out what it is about me that sets people off. I've sat and thought about it, and I know in the past (more so my teenage years), while I didn't outright go looking for or starting drama, I was definitely someone who perpetuated it through fighting with the people who did start it- I might not have started it, but I would be the one to end it (or rather, like most teens, I just had to have the last word). After realizing that, I started considering how I acted and spoke more carefully. I pick my words to be as least confrontational as I can, I consider which arguments are not worth getting into (which is most) and steer clear, I try to decide which are the people I want to involve myself with and whether or not they're the sort who would start drama, but despite this everywhere I go, it keeps following me.
Drama Mama Robin:
I've been in groups where people have blown up at me for not following their way of thinking or agreeing to everything they say, going behind my back with me not even aware there was a problem. I've had girls immediately turn territorial and despise me just for being another woman in a guild, even though I'm open about being married and have no interest in anyone in the current group. I've had people start drama with me because I refused to take part in their drama with someone else, people holding grudges against me for things I can't even fathom when all I know of them is their game name. There was even the time I saw trouble brewing between a guild member and his new in-game girlfriend that didn't involve me in the slightest, so I took a break from the game so I didn't get roped into it, only to come back and discover my absence was used to say I set this member up with this girlfriend that turned out to be a man! I didn't even know the 'girlfriend' or really have any bad opinion on the member other than his choice on who to date, but according to him I did it just to spite him.
I don't consider myself an unlikable person, I have plenty of friends (who like to joke about my life being like a soap opera thanks to all this), I just seem to be the type of person you either love me or hate me. Sure, when I was a teen I loved the often infamy, but these days it's just tiring. No matter how hard I try to avoid drama, it keeps happening, I somehow keep ending up in the guilds with people that like to fight, I somehow keep attracting the weird and obsessive 'friends', and I somehow keep getting on the bad side of people that hold grudges over nothing when all I want to do is have fun and enjoy a game. I don't know if it's something about my personality (the best I've heard is that I come across as someone who's easy to manipulate and push around, but those that know me better know I won't put up with that) or if I just seem to keep taking a liking to the people who do cause a lot of drama- I certainly don't think they seem that way when I meet them.
To paraphrase something I read somewhere: If you come across one drama-laden guild, it's a bummer. Two dramaful guilds is bad luck. Three dramariffic guilds is you
. At least that's what I would normally say to someone in your situation, but you seem to be trying very hard to reduce your participation in dramalicious activities.
Maybe it's not you, but your guild choice. Most of the dramatastic issues you've described sound like things that happen in highschool and early college. I think that while maturity isn't necessarily an age thing, your guildies seem to have been a bit on the young side. Age aside, they've definitely been immature.
There are many guilds out there that are virtually drama-free and have mature people of all ages. I don't know what your criteria have been for choosing your guild, but you need to take a good look at what you want in a guild
and then find a mature guild
that fits your needs.
Now, mature can mean many things. It could refer to age restrictions. I don't know how old you are, but that might help. Or a guild who calls themselves mature may mean that they participate in naughty conversations at all hours and that isn't necessarily what you're looking for. So while you are looking for guilds with mature people, make sure you know how they define mature.
Good luck and let us know what happens.
Drama Mama Lisa:
I agree wholeheartedly with Robin -- you're ready for a more mature group of people who focus more on playing the game together than who said what to who. Your best long-term solution is a guild that's not prone to regular drama bombings.
In the meantime, if you find yourself in the middle of a puddle of wet, sticky drama through no fault of your own, have a little chat with your GM. Briefly let him know that there's a developing social situation that makes you uncomfortable and you'd like his support as you stay quiet and steer clear of the whole thing.
Under absolutely no circumstances should you allow this conversation to devolve into a he-said, she-said exposé. Sketch the briefest of outlines for your GM, and don't get drawn into sharing details and taking sides. Your goal here is not to rehash or defend yourself against what your GM might or might not be hearing but to show that you're actively trying to avoid drama in a discreet, mature manner.
One more caution: Keep this conversation private, just between you and the GM and perhaps the officers. This isn't the time to post on the forums or open up a can of worms in guild chat.
In the worst-case scenario, your GM may already have been poisoned by the guild whisperers, leaving him dubious about your role in any developing drama. In that case, it's time to make your move to a new guild (or to independent play while you look around) sooner rather than later. Whatever you do, do it without burning bridges
. Wrecking shop on the way out the door does more harm than good. You may never want to play with or hear from those people again -- but chances are, you'll cross paths at some point in a group, another guild, a chat channel, or a forum. Stay classy, respectful and drama-free -- that's what you're after anyway, right?
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.