Responsible RP Resolutions

  • Like many people in this hobby, I am a bundle of bad habits, anxieties, and baggage that colour my perceptions and affect my decision making. A lot of the time I can recognize my own patterns but recognizing doesn't always help so much with changing them. Shining a big old spotlight on them and listing ways I can knuckle down and avoid them... maybe that will do the trick.

    I've been wrestling with a lot of things in my RP experience of late. This is my productive (mildly constructive!) way of trying to improve both the struggle and the experience.

    So, my issues:

    1. I am RP buddies with some very proactive, extroverted people who are excellent at Making Shit Happen and, while I genuinely celebrate their experience, I also compare my own to theirs.

    2. I have difficulty expressing exactly what it is I want to experience/would like to do with my characters if I do not have a set and specific plan for their immediate and long-term future. This leads to situations where someone asks what I want for them and I say "adventure!", but have nothing more concrete to offer.

    3. I fall into support mode at the blink of an eye. I enjoy helping others chase their unicorns and can brainstorm a thousand and one activities they can throw themselves into to help that momentum. But when it comes to doing the same for myself, I often draw a blank.

    3.a) Related to the above, I often step back and hold up others to give them spotlight time, but quietly assume they will do the same for me when the time comes. When they do not (not from malice but just people being people), I get resentful... and I hold onto that grudge. I have difficulty letting shit go.

    1. Five years ago, I would RP with anyone and everyone. I had my favourites, but I would still put myself out there. These days, between my schedule and the lack of energy that comes from life, the universe and everything, I do not venture out in public nearly as much. I isolate myself.

    2. Memory issues. Whatever the reason behind it, I no longer keep up with multiple threads the way I used to. If I do not respond to/answer/act on something right away, I forget. This includes scheduled RP, answering mail and message, or following up on potential hooks that have come up in conversations with other players.

    3. Taking shit personally. If I've asked someone for RP multiple times and they seem enthusiastic but it never happens, it's because underneath the open response, they really do not want to RP with me. If I've done a lot for someone else on a game, and they don't reciprocate in kind, it's because I'm less interesting/engaging/fun/they know I'm a whiner in my head. If I'm in a scene and it fizzles out because one person left and the others who remain can't continue, it's because they hate me. If I sit in public and no one comes to play, it's because I built a boring character.

    Those are my patterns. I know them very well because I live with them day to day every time I log into a game. When I'm feeling perky, driven, energetic and enthusiastic, they vanish or are positive forces (being a supportive player isn't a bad thing!). It's when the energy dips that they start affecting my experience.

    Which brings me to resolutions.

    1. Focus only on my goals in RP. Stop paying attention to what other people are getting. Stop inviting/agreeing to listen to the tales told by others about all the stuff they're doing, at least for a little while, until I can drop the comparing habit.

    2. Spend some time brainstorming for myself only. Get in the habit of figuring out things I can do instead of handing that creativity to other people. Stop chasing the unreliable and focus on what's achievable.

    3. Sit out in public to RP with anyone and everyone at least a couple times a week.

    4. Write things down. I have friends who bujo, this might be a good way to keep track of things I want to do and threads I've picked up to pursue, so they don't get dropped.

    5. Every time I start to wallow in despair, I owe 5 stretches/push ups/sit ups/laps around the house. May as well get some benefit out of being a mopey m'fucker. :P

    And now I hit submit, to see if anyone else wants to join in with pattern recognition and resolutions.

  • Pitcrew

    I have so, so many. A lot of my main ones overlap with yours, with an added dash of 'So and so hasn't replied, they must be MAD AT ME.' My go to reasoning for just about anything is to assume they think I'm dumb (and just don't want to hurt my feelings), they are mad at me (I'm always being so damn annoying), I'm pathetic and they don't want to deal with my BS, etc.

    My coping for this is to try to remember that it is extremely likely that I'm overthinking things. Try to take a break, focus on something else.

    I can get stuck in 'I don't matter!' ruts. That is harder now, given all the awesome stuff my characters are part of. So that one worked itself out. But I relate because I too have comparison syndrome. So I get it.

    Basically I have a raging case of Impostor Syndrome, I don't feel good enough, smart enough, fun enough, -- anything enough. It takes constant work to remind myself that I'm ok. That I'm not bothering people by talking to them. Some days are better than others.

  • @AeriaNyx Ah, yes. Imposter Syndrome. I am sometimes amazed when I get feedback on my reputation in the community. It's positive enough that sometimes I have to do a doubletake and remind myself that, yes, that is me too. Not just the spiky bundle of neurosis. ;)

    I don't find that reminding myself works very well. The thoughts can be so pervasive and the negative pattern recognition habit so deeply entrenched. And... well, I am very aware of my own faults. It becomes a spiral of "you're overthinking again BECAUSE YOU'RE TERRIBLE" that I fall into being a jittery hyper-focused mess.

    Trying to break that focus with a diversion does help sometimes. Especially if it's something constructive, productive and fun. The problems come when I cannot come up with something which fits that bill.

    But I keep tryin'.

  • Can't post at length but I will say: lord I hate when I have to be that person who is posing out as someone walks in.

    It happened recently. I'd told the scene I was leaving after the next round to go to bed. Then someone who has been wanting to RP with me for a bit (and we hadn't yet been able to make it happen) logged in and came to the scene.

    I had to tell her how sorry I was and yes we'd still totally RP soon, but damn if I didn't fret over 'I really hope she doesn't think I'm avoiding her because I know it could look that way...'

    So I think that's something to keep in mind: both sides of that equation come with anxiety.

  • Pitcrew

    I think my biggest issue with RP/involvement is that I almost always feel very isolated.

    I think that many people who have spent time with me on games might be surprised by that, since I do have a very outgoing personality and I try to utilize that in my RP. But it's not always an easy thing to do, and I think a lot of times it's kind of dismissed as easy and not valued or seen as superficial.

    I find I am rarely invited by others to participate in things without having to shoehorn my way in or taking on a coordinator/arranging role, possibly because they assume that if I wanted to be part of things I'd ask OR that I have a ton of other meaningful stuff going on. As a result I try to be as inclusive as possible with stuff I do, but to be honest that also often results in non-reciprocation or being downplayed as easy-for-me because of similar assumptions. That used to burn me out pretty quick. I'm better about deciding (after yes, being hurt for a little while) to just set it aside and not take it personally (because I don't think it is usually personal). But sometimes the anxiety does still get to me. I might be able to push through it on the quicker end of the spectrum, though.

    I think in regards to this I'm trying more to be more accepting and realistic in my expectations. It's very difficult to try to stuff the impulse to freak out and want to pester someone to find out if they're mad at me/think I suck/if I upset them in some way, but I have found things are a lot calmer when I don't do that. I'll walk away from the screen a bit. I have gotten better about not hitting send impulsively on an OOC communication. I have a bunch of silly 2-5 minute guided meditations on my phone that I will make myself do so that I can't give in to that impulse and make things awkward. I remind myself that it's okay to feel sad/isolated sometimes, and probably like EVERYONE even the people I assume are having a blast 100 percent of the time probably are dealing with the same shit now and then too. I have been forcing myself TO do available game methods of staff involvement and to try to stuff the feeling of guilt/like I shouldn't be bothering them when they have so many more important things/PCs/Players to attend to. Maybe they do, maybe they don't, but I can still work on and submit those things anyway. It has helped some.

    I'm not sure that feeling of "of course you're not good enough/your RP sucks/ everyone thinks your characters are trite and stupid" ever will go away, because it's really NEVER about the mush or the people on it, and it's something I know I'll always struggle with in RL too. I just have been trying to apply some of the tools I paid a lot of fucking money for (therapy) in RL to mushing as well. It works a fair amount of the time.

  • @mietze I'm going to grab some of those meditation via phone thingies, that sounds very useful.

    It's a tricky thing, that sense of need for reciprocation and also not wanting to put more on staff's plate (especially when it has been very clear just how busy they are). When you're very good at giving, it can be so so SO hard to put out a hand and request the same. Especially when give is the first instinct and it's easy to assume (we judge others according to ourselves) others are wired the same way.

    I've had some success by consciously listing what I have been given by others, whether it's them reaching out to offer help or a hook, providing a shoulder to lean on when I've given into venting, or even just dropping me a nod or a compliment. Maybe those haven't always come from the direction I was looking in and hoping about, so it's too easy to forget, overlook or overshadow the good with the perceived bad. I am trying to be more conscious of the good and also more vocally appreciative of them that share it with me.

  • Pitcrew

    @mietze said in Responsible RP Resolutions:

    I find I am rarely invited by others to participate in things without having to shoehorn my way in or taking on a coordinator/arranging role, possibly because they assume that if I wanted to be part of things I'd ask OR that I have a ton of other meaningful stuff going on. As a result I try to be as inclusive as possible with stuff I do, but to be honest that also often results in non-reciprocation or being downplayed as easy-for-me because of similar assumptions.

    I actually got this exact feedback from the Staff of another game recently, and it shocked me. I'm feeling a whole lot of what you're saying, as well as most of @Caryatid's intro post. I've been trying to reset my expectations for the last couple of years, and I've succeeded to some degree, but not as far as I'd like. When I get down, I try to spend some laughing with my toddler, or read a book, or kick some AI ass in Madden or Crusader Kings 2, anything to give me another story or something else to think about. Reminding myself that perception is reality from every perspective helps too -- that the people I'm jealous of are probably jealous of someone else, and that other people probably feel like I'm involved in everything, even if I don't feel like I am.

  • Pitcrew

    All of this. At once.

    My anxiety is through the roof lately which doesn't help.

    And I always feel like the people I do connect with and play with and click with will forget about me or think I don't like them anymore when I stop playing because I can't manage it.

  • Pitcrew

    @Caryatid The thing about reminding yourself, it's the second step in cognitive behavioral therapy. The first step is recognizing it, in being aware of the behavior. The second step is taking that moment to pause and say: Hey brain. You broken, bitch. I see you. I know your tricks." You know in a more loving, less comedic fashion.

    Sincerely, it is building the habit of pausing, assessing and reassuring yourself, that can give you the space you need to break the cycle of spiraling out into a meltdown. It is hard. This is something I've been working on for years and it still feels hard. But I have had fewer meltdowns and I feel I've grown way more aware of my habits.

    Edited because screw you grammar.

  • @Coin said in Responsible RP Resolutions:

    And I always feel like the people I do connect with and play with and click with will forget about me or think I don't like them anymore when I stop playing because I can't manage it.

    I will never forget about you. I will always be sad about RL eating me so we didn't get to play more.

    (As a side note, if you are ever on the same game as me again, hmu!)

  • I run into a number of similar issues. Some of these aren't necessarily new for me, but these are what I work on:

    1. I'm another person totally cool with creating spotlight opportunities and setting myself as support for others. Like most folks, it's frustrating when this is never reciprocated. I've stopped hoping for it to happen to avoid disappointment; I never expected it to happen but I've shifted toward a conscious expectation that it won't. It may be pessimistic, but it prevents the disappointment, and turns the times it does happen into something much happier and shinier, and I find I am more grateful for them. Still working on the frustration part.

    2. "I cannot fix everything." Some days I have to repeat this out loud for a while. Stereotypical Libra. Seeing both sides of the problem is not the issue. Can it help find a solution? Sure, sometimes. Not always. I need to find a way to chill some regarding those times it doesn't, because in those cases, seeing both sides of the problem that has no solution is knowing those two sides are unhappy.

    3. Even if a problem has a solution, most of these things involve compromise. Rarely does this mean everyone is happy; it generally means everyone is somewhat happy and still somewhat upset, because there's typically give and take involved. Work on trying to not dwell on the grousing the 'give' part involves or consider it a sign of being some horrible failure, because there's usually continued grousing, even if the solution works out well for everyone.

    There's more than that, but that's all my brain is up for for now.

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