We’re Not Friends

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"We're not friends. We're just online acquaintances."

This phrase, spat out over Vent in a mad GM rage, was one of the first hard lessons I learned playing WoW. It came from the mouth of the GM of what had been a fun friends and family guild that had some success with 10 man BC raiding, but was at loggerheads over an elephant in the room that went by the name of Our Main Tank Who Is Terrible But Since She is a Girl Our GM Has a Sort of Crush On We All Have to Compensate For It. For brevity, let's just call her Bad Tank. And in case you think I am being harsh, said tank could not stance dance (even after we all showed her how to do so via macro) so I did not get a Nightbane kill in Kara until I changed guilds. But I digress.

Our GM put us all in our place the night he flipped out. He made it clear that our roles in his life, as far as he was concerned, were interchangeable/replaceable cogs that allowed him to complete heroics and facilitate raiding. We would do as we were told or we could gtfo. We were not to confuse ourselves with having such an exalted status as that of friend. He did not give a crap about our opinions or feelings unless they were along the lines of how great a GM he was. And in this specific instance, he cared more about not hurting Bad Tank's feelings by replacing her with a more able tank on that fight than he cared about frustrating the rest of the guild. He lost three of his most competent raiders, but he was happier that way. Well, until Bad Tank stopped playing a week later to go horde with her new boyfriend. Cough.

His venomous assertion that we guildies were not his friends took me by surprise, to be frank. After our months of raiding together, hearing his tales of woe both job and girl related, I had started to think of him as a friend, not just some avatar I visited at my convenience when I wanted some new loot. Yes, I'd had fallings out with friends IRL before, but I'd never had someone say to me "we're not friends" with an undercurrent of superiority and arrogance.

The big lesson here of course is my perception of reality does not equal your or anyone else's perception of the same situation or place in time. And until someone gets a BFF tattoo with your name on it or mails you a gaily wrapped dragonling as a present, don't make any assumptions about your relationships with other people. Like my mom's smart ass boyfriend always said "You know what happens when you assume, right? You make an Ass out of U and Me." I have to remind myself of this unpleasant experience whenever the "but I thought we were friends…" phrase pops into my head in light of an interaction gone awry.

The crappy thing about this particular lesson is I've had to repeat it more than once, because it just never sinks in for me. I'm hard-headed and soft-hearted that way. If only the armory had a friend stat or achievement so you could more accurately gauge your friend faction with your online acquaintances. Maybe they'll add that to the guild functionality in the expansion.

😉

Until then, I'll keep on fighting the good fight, and keep on treating as friends the folks who make my online experience a fun way to spend my time. And as for those that turn out not to be friends after all? Well that is what ignore's for, and I've got a full 25 free spots I can fill, with 25 more after 3.3. You can't be on the same page with everyone all the time. All you can do is be true to yourself.

cheers.

12 thoughts on “We’re Not Friends”

  1. i was “friends” with someone online for a few months. we did everything together. and we really did give each other gifts, supported each other in raids, got groups together, talked on vent regularly together. i thought we had that level of friendship that you’d expect from someone you do a lot of in-game hanging around with.
    then one day he just disappeared. he didn’t even give me an explanation or attempted to contact me to let me know what was going on. it took me a week to finally get a message to him and hear back from him, but it was a struggle to have conversations with him for various reasons.
    i haven’t spoken to him in over 3 months now. and yeah, it burns. some people just don’t value online friends the way others do though. i won’t consider it a lesson and not be friends with someone though. but i know he’ll never get another chance.

  2. The GM went out of his way to intentionally hurt people by his words, how sad. I cannot say I’ve had too much of that within WOW. However, I can think of a few other online communities where people turned out to be downright nasty. I go out of my way to help people. Seeing others happy makes me happy too. Of course, just like the real world, a few times I’ve gotten burned in the virtual world. There are some people that will take advantage of that.
    Interestingly enough the people I’ve really bonded within WOW are a lot like myself. They stay extremely busy. Initially it’s great, but as the real world calls us back well… we cannot hang in our virtual home. 🙁 Thankfully, I can follow up with them via emails and a few I chat with on the phone, but we sure do miss seeing each other in-game.

  3. I miss a number of my busy Alliance friends. I keep hoping they will find time to make hordies and come play with us on BB. It is so much harder to keep up with folks when you are not seeing them in your chat channels each day…
    I have told you before but will say it again — I think you bring a really great positive attitude and example to the guild. So glad you joined us even though we don’t get to see you in that many raids.
    🙂

  4. *hugs*
    That is incredibly lame. And I just don’t get how people can be intense one moment and gone the next. Makes me wonder if they have a soul at all.

  5. The same goes for you, you strike me as very positive too. I really like that a lot. 🙂 I would love to raid more, but at the moment I cannot devote too much time to that. I have so much on my plate at the moment.
    Things are slowing down a bit (so that’s good!) Work, family, volunteering, at times it’s hard to make time for everything. Mornings (for now) are when I tend to have more ‘free time’, heh. 🙂

  6. Unfortunately, this is how I feel at times especially as a GM. I don’t remind my raiders as blatantly or harshly as that guy does though. It’s a bit of an effort to even try to maintain close contact and relations with that many players online. It’s difficult to simulate the level of intimacy with online friends as you would with someone within reasonable distance of you in the real world.
    I do understand the GMs position though especially in a raiding guild since the ultimate mandate for a GM is to have a fully functional raid that’s ready to go. Sometimes that means making decisions that are going to hurt feelings (like not waiting for someone or going at the start time without a certain player for the sake of composition).
    Of course, I don’t agree with one that guy did here. Would’ve rather pissed her off and sitting that tank instead of pissing off the rest of the raiders who have grown frustrated and annoyed. Fail tanks are fail and players like that wouldn’t last very long.

  7. We’ll have to try to get some early-morning weekend activities going. I don’t see a FTH on tap for this weekend, but it seems there is usually appetite for it… soon all our toons will have black bears!

  8. I am grateful to the really great raid leaders and GMs I’ve had the chance to play with over the past almost 4 years– and I do not envy them — or you — the position for exactly the reasons you’ve mentioned.
    And glad to hear you would have given Bad Tank the heave-ho — it was simply ridiculous how coddled she was, especially given that we had others on deck who could have done it.

  9. I’ve sat at a table and ate dinner with my guild and ‘friends’ one week, and then to see them rip each other apart on realm forums 2 weeks later – that was my biggest wake up call that there is a different value to online ‘friends’ even if there had been real life contact. I have had some people I’ve met online cross over and become friends I never want to lose. I was also told by an ex gm that they felt that they didn’t have any friends in the guild, and I think it is as sad as the GM telling you that you aren’t friends. I don’t ever want to think of playing Wow as solitary as solitare – the fun of a MMO is supposed to be because it has real people, and real people deserved to be treated real.

  10. I could not agree more that there is a level of civility and respect folks need to have for each other. It’s incredibly disheartening to see folks ripping into each other, especially over relatively minor differences of opinion. Is being right/ getting your way/ shouting down opposing viewpoints so much more important than having friends and being pleasant? Not to me.

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