Odd relationship with a fellow gamer. (Very long. Must-read if you enjoy psychology)

I use the SDMB often to figure out “Am I alone in feeling this way?” This post is no exception. Please read and let me know if this is just a strange quirk or serious problem.

I’ve been very addicted to Final Fantasy XI after I lost my job in February. I’ve met some truly fascinating people in this game, but one person stands out amongst the rest. I’ll call her “Beth” in the slight chance she might be a Doper. :wink: Anyway, I seem to have a problem where I need to be this person’s absolute best friend in the game, or it’s not good enough. Here’s the story:

We met several months ago in a particular hunting area in the game, and we were the same level. We liked working together so much that we agreed to always party together from now on (leveling up in the game doesn’t really work unless you have five other people in your “party”). She was so nice and it looked like I was going to make a really good friend.

Immediately, things were getting weird. She didn’t respond when I would send her tells (FFXI lingo for sending a message to one person only), saying that she keeps her text window maximum at two lines and she misses messages because of battle spam. I suggest she ups the maximum on her text window, and she agrees. She doesn’t miss any more tells from me.

So she and I are talking a week later or so, and she’s complaining about her linkshell (a linkshell is like a private chat room that you can only access if you’re given a “linkpearl” by a senior linkshell member. You could call it a clan, guild, or whatever MMORPG term you want to add to it). She was in this giant linkshell that accepted anyone who asked for a linkpearl. She said she was sick of the beggars and idiots in it. I told her if she ever decides to leave, she’s welcome to mine, since I’m the leader of a very nice and stable one. She says that sounds like a good proposition, and she’ll join mine if she leaves hers.

The next thing I notice is that she’s already four levels above me. I ask her why she went ahead and leveled without me. She didn’t answer that question, only to say that she would now sit at that level and wait for a friend of hers and I to catch up. Needless to say, she stayed at that level for about two days and resumed her leveling, widening our gap.

At this point we’ve done things together in the game a handful of times. A higher-level linkshell took us both to do a rank mission, which we had fun doing.

Fast forward a month. Square-Enix had just implemented a ten-hour maintenance update at which time we weren’t allowed to enter the game. I’m one of the first people back in, and I catch her in the main city. She’s about 10 levels above me and wearing a new linkpearl. I asked her about the linkpearl and she responded, “Oh, I needed a linkshell that had high enough players to help me with things.” This linkshell is of course the one that took us on the rank mission. What a slap in the face. She levels without me, then breaks her promise again because she’s now too high-level with me?

Now, due to her level and extreme popularity among people in the game, she’s grown distant and honestly, fairly egotistical. She DOES pop into my linkshell quite often and is friends with the people in there. But I have to get all this off my chest. So I ask if I can talk to her a few minutes. I tell her I’ve felt like she turned her back on me. She told me that she wanted to level quickly to do the high-level-only stuff in the game. I told her my feelings on the linkshell, and she said she’ll try to be in there much more often. I asked her about growing distant, and she told me that about the time she met me, she was friends with this other guy who started asking her all sorts of weird real-life personal questions. She said she withdraws from people now to avoid that again.

So, thinking things will be a little better, we say good-bye for the night. But they’re not better.

The real pain came when she came into our linkshell and announced that she was getting married in the game. Huh? What? I didn’t even know you were talking to any guy. You know, I never had thought about having an in-game relationship or marriage with her, but this made me sick with jealousy.

One thing she’s always been in the game is very helpful to others. She spends all of her time either leveling up or helping people with their own things. She’s helped me a lot, but refuses to ever let me return the favor.

I was given a linkpearl to her main linkshell, and access to their message boards. The way she talks to her friends in there is NOT the way she talks to me. She jokes with them, laughs, and is very extroverted around them. Around me or anyone else, she’s friendly, but sort of has a shell and remains distant. I ask her why she doesn’t treat me this way, doesn’t accept help from me, especially when she complains that her own linkshell doesn’t help her with her own things. To sum up the discussion, she basically asks, “Why does everybody want to own me?” I ask her why she allowed this other guy to get close to her and not me. She said when she was depressed, he kept sending her little trinkets and stuff that made her laugh. If only I had known. :frowning: The worst thing is that the only way to really see her is if I ask her for help with something. The aforementioned discussion came from when she announced on the linkshell that she’s bored. I told her to come hang out with me, I’ll keep her from being bored. She responded “Hmmm?” and logged off. This isn’t the first time. What a slap in the face.

So to sum it up, I look up to her and am jealous of her at the same time. I’m not in love with her, but I think about her a LOT, even when I’m not playing. I guess what I really want is her respect and admiration. I want her to treat me like I’m one of her best friends in the game. She tells me I AM one of her best friends, but everything I said above tells me otherwise.

Is something wrong with me? Why am I bordering on the obsessed with this individual? Why do I care so much what she thinks about me? Why do I want to be her friend so badly? I don’t feel this way about ANYONE else in the game, nor am I like this in real life. One more thing I should add is that I myself am quite popular in the game, and many, many people open up the most private parts of their life to me. I don’t ask for it; they just do it. Maybe I’m upset that Beth won’t. I dunno.

Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, guys.


Oh, and I might add that she’s been on a trip with her family these past few days, and life in the game without her had been so much more comfortable. Odd, huh?


P.S. - I know some of you all are going to tell me I need to unplug for a bit. I realize this. Please don’t bother telling me that. I’m more asking all this to figure out my own mind. :smiley:


As a gamer and an officer in a few different Everquest guilds, I can tell you that I hear stories like this all the time. There’s a whole pile of female characters out there that prey on young lonely males (of which there are a TON playing MMORPGs) and use them for levels, lewtz, anything they can. I say female characters because more than once I’ve seen them turn out to be male in real life. We used to have problems with people like this getting into a guild and really pissing off the guys - she’d tell each of them that they were special, that they were her best friend, etc etc. and eventually everyone would be jealous of everyone and the guild itself suffered.

Basically, bub, she’s using you. Now that you’re not uba and are indeed a lower level than she is, she doesn’t need you any more. But you might come in handy sometime, so she’s not going to totally blow you off.

My advice? Run as far as you can. Put her on your ignore list, if there is such a thing in FF. Realize that real friends don’t blow you off when they get a level or two above you. Realize that the whole point of these games is fun, and fun ultimately comes from friends, not from levels or lewt. Friend don’t say one thing and act differently.

There are good players out there, seek them out. You’ll be happy you did.

Speaking from 5 years for EQ history here, you are the one with the problem - not her. Without being overly rude to you (coming out and saying “hey buddy, take a hike”) she’s made it pretty clear that she wants to keep things just casually friendly with you.

I know absolutely nothing about gaming, so most of what you said was difficult to comprehend, but it sounds like you’ve got a crush on someone who flirted with you, then moved on. You’ve never met her in real life, right? The only remedy is to flirt outrageously with someone else (preferably when she’s playing the game and can notice) and move on yourself.

What kittenblue said.

I also wanted to say that reading that post was like reading a science fiction novel written in the 80s. “Battle spam”, “in-game marriage”, “wearing a new linkpearl”. There are worlds out there of which I have no knowledge.

My advice: try not to come over like a needy puppy. If you can, ignore her from now on. It’ll put you in control, and allow you to move on.

My guess: “Beth” is actually a big hairy guy in his 30s called Steve.

I don’t have any experience with MMORPG’s, but I did used to MUD on a regular basis, so I feel that I have a bit of experience as one of the only females in a gaming environment filled with boys who give you things just for being nice to them.

I will tell you that it is a HUGE ego boost to have a number of people fawn over you, give you things, and teach you the ropes. I will also tell you that alot of gamers (not you, specifically) get a little… umm… creepy, really.

I’m sure this is because different people feel differently about gaming, chatting and the internet. To some, it is very serious and they tend to develop feelings for those that they interact with often. To others, it’s just a fun way to spend the night… but when they turn off the computer, they meet up with IRL friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, and a full social schedule.

I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised if the person she’s marrying “in game” is also someone she’s speaking with or seeing outside of the game as well. Us geeky folk think it’s cute to take our romances in-game for some reason.

I would suggest letting her go and learning an important lesson from this experience. Don’t help people because you expect to get something back. If you’re not helping someone simply because you’re a decent person who has some extra time/xp/money/eq/whatever, you’re probably expecting too much in return.

You said you were laid off in Feb. and took this up to fill your days with, have you become employeed again since then?

I only mention this because I’ve noticed that when someone doesn’t have a job or school or SOMETHING to anchor them to the “real world”, they tend to become a little TOO emotionally involved in their online persona, which can cause a whole barrel of heartbreak and social misgivings.

Out of curiosity if she was a big, hairy, cigar smoking, chicken fried eating 300 lb man in real life would that change the way you feel about her in the game or not?

But she’s never used me. She’s never asked me for anything. If she had, I would’ve said “so long” a long time ago.

I’ve asked her several times if she wants me to go away, no hard feelings. She always says no. I told her I’ll back off and keep my distance. She says she doesn’t want that, either.

I was set to be married myself in the game to a person who became a really close friend IRL. That fell through (though not because of anything related to this). I don’t feel like I have a crush on her. I just wish she’d treat me like she treats her other friends in the game.

I’ve tried to ignore her. It’s funny, because it seems like the moment I do, she’ll pops right back into my life in some way. She’s a regular on my linkshell, so it’s pretty hard to completely remove myself from her.

That’s the thing. I don’t give her anything. All I’m asking is for her to ask me how I’m doing once in a while, and maybe ask me if I want to go do something with her. Is that expecting too much? I don’t want to help her to get something back; I want to help her to return the favor for all the help she’s given me. You would probably say, “Well, if she’s helped you so much, what’s the problem? She’s giving you attention.” I don’t want the kind of friendship where all I do is use her for her help. I want to do fun things with her sometimes – things that don’t require anything of her but her presence. And more importantly, things that are fun for her, too.

I’m of a fairly high level myself in this game. The highest level one can attain is 75. I’m 60. She’s 68. I’m also highly respected in the game. Many consider me to be their best friend in there. The difference is, I make time for each and every one of my friends. I sort of wish she felt the same way, because that’s how things seemed like they were going when we met.

Yes, I know I’m addicted. And no, I haven’t worked since I lost my job. The problem is a mix between addiction to this game, the shitty economy in Baltimore, and some personal issues from growing up that have caused problems in my adult life. I do unplug every once in a while to go meet friends, search for work, etc., but not as often as I should.

I’m not sure about that one. I would say perhaps yes, because she “sounds” feminine by the way she types in the game. If you play an online game, you understand what I mean. However, I know that anyone in the game can be male or female in real life, and especially in FFXI, where very many of the female characters are played by men. I don’t discount the possiblilty that she could be male, too. However, let me reiterate: I do not seek to form a real-life friendship, relationship, or bond with this person outside of the game. I don’t really ask her anything about her real life.

I just don’t know why I need her, dammit.


Hmm, I’m sorry, it sounds to me as though she is interested in being a powergamer and you aren’t, and that her importance to you is far, far disproportionate to your importance to her. Speaking from a few years’ experience as a woman MMOGer, I learned that you can get burned by agreeing only to hunt/play together, even when you’re both enthused initially. I know that it’s tough putting together a regular group, but the fact is that stuff happens and you can only hope that people will stick together, you certainly can’t rely on it.

And because I seem to have made the same mistakes a couple of times and attracted people who wouldn’t understand that I wasn’t interested in gaming exclusively with them without unpleasantness, let me just be an advocate for Beth - it sounds as if she’s moved on, and it would probably be for the best if you moved on too. Never mind if she said she wanted to game with you before, never mind anything she’s said. Look at what she’s doing. It isn’t nice that she has cut you off this way, but she’s made things pretty clear that she doesn’t want what you want, even if the way she’s gone about it wasn’t the right way.

Can you boot her from access to your linkshell? What’s going on isn’t pretty or healthy and you and she would both be better off clear of it in my opinion.

Yes, I could boot her from my linkshell, but I don’t run my linkshell that way. It would not be fair to her or her friends in it to boot her simply because I have a personal problem with her.

Everything you say, though, sounds very true. The problem is, is it fair to completely cut her off simply because I want something that she can’t or isn’t willing to give?


Don’t cut her off… she’s done nothing wrong! You don’t rule her life. It was bad of her to go ahead and level-up if you had previously agreed to go it together, but if your friendship is in trouble over that fact alone, perhaps it wasn’t that great a friendship to begin with. What else has she done that’s really that awful? She doesn’t accept your charity… big whoop, most independent types don’t. She frequents linkshells that you do not… who cares, the world will still turn if you drop dead tomorrow! She wont stick to missioning solely with you… not being nasty, but what makes you so great to adventure with? You mentioned that she doesn’t interact with you in the same jovial manner as with others, and her reply to your invitation of fun, “Hmmmm?”, smacks of, “You’re boring mate”. I am not saying that you are boring, just that you and she may define “fun” differently. I know she’s said a lot to the contrary of her actions, but that’s how exceedingly polite people act. Perhaps she is happy with you just being an aquaintance… you obviously want more.

You sound a bit clingy. If you’re saying things to her like, “Why don’t we group more often like we did in the old days,” she knows there is no good answer for it. So, she turns a cold shoulder towards you. Plus, she’s got other friends who PL her, so she mainly goes where the best opportunity lies. She’s a magpie. She wants the bright, shiny things more than she does a friendship.

She also doesn’t want to be a heartless bitch, so she’ll stroke you every once in a while so she won’t look like one. I know this disappoints you, but she obviously doesn’t have the same feelings for you that you do for her. Best thing to do is let her go and hang with your other friends.

Absolutely - you are being too clingy, and she doesn’t have anything to say to you because she doesn’t want to hurt your feelings.

Consider also, that if she has as much free time as you do, and you have no job, she is probably still in school or something similar.

My advice, stop expecting anything out of her that you would not expect from an aquaintance - she doesn’t want to be your best friend.
Spend more time with people who do want to be your friend, or start to level-up a low-level job and make completely new friends, maybe with a new character.

So, what server are you on? I’m on Titan and Midgardsormr.

Actually, if you want to make a new character for a bit of distance, I’d be happy to send you a worldpass for either of those servers, just send me an e-mail.

Ohhh, I’m not creating a new character. I worked way too hard on mine and I have way too many friends that I care about. :slight_smile: I’m on Titan and we probably know each other. Pass me an email to foamfighter@pol.com and let me know who ya are. :smiley:

As for what you said, you all are right. And believe me, I have tried more than once to cut ourselves off from each other. But there’s no closure. The next day (or even a few hours later), she acts like nothing even happened.


Just curious, how do you support yourself if you haven’t worked since February??

Sounds like a textbook case of a girl who wants to be left alone but still wants to be popular. Like I said, she’s probably pretty young.

I think she said she’s 23. I got your mail, Gravity. I’ll send you a tell. :slight_smile:


Well, heck, I could say I was 23 - doesn’t necessarily make it true (hint: I’m not.)

Hm. I’m really not as negative about that as it sounds from my posts, though. 23 would be the right age to still be in school, and probably still immature enough to do the string-along. Heck, I know women my mom’s age that still do that crap.

Looking forward to hearing from you. :slight_smile: