On Personal Commitments and Hypocrisy

I’ve been debating on whether to post this particular rant since before I even signed up for the SDMB.

Let me start by saying that I am generally a difficult person to anger. I get annoyed often, but when it comes to full-on anger, it’s pretty rare.

I have a pair of acquaintances, we shall call B and G. B and G are married. This isn’t necessarily relevant, but I mention it for clarity.

B and G were both a part of my roleplaying group. Basically, every Friday at 6:30, they and the other members would gather at my apartment for a rousing four hours of adventure. The time for these sessions was never changed, and if someone had a problem making it, it was a minor inconvenience (roleplaying games demanding a certain level of continuity amongst the players) but it was a minimal hassle if they’d call ahead.

B and G would often not show up. And not call. When I say often, I mean 20-30% of the time. When I would re-iterate the idea that when one is not going to show up to a commitment, one should call the other parties involved, they’d fire back snarkily that it wasn’t any of my business what they were doing. That’s well and good… I don’t care WHAT you’re doing… I just need to know you’re not going to be HERE. One Friday, I wasn’t expecting G seriously because I’d learned earlier in the week that she had some homework to work on for class. But I was expecting B. Alas, I was destined to be disappointed. I called them about half an hour after my game had started to see what was going on. B says he won’t make it, because they’re going to a party.

Now, let me sidebar for a second here. I live in Morgantown, WV, home of West Virginia University, and there’s a party in town about every fifteen seconds during the school year. Seriously.

Early the next morning… on Saturday, when I usually don’t awaken before noon, I received a call around 10AM. G is half-coherently telling me about the party. Grah. I wrangle myself off the phone and go back to bed. When I finally get out of bed later… I’m mad. Not only did they not show up, and not call me to tell me they weren’t showing up, but they woke me up early on a Saturday. And that was the last straw.

So I called and had it out with B. (and indirectly, G) I asked if they even had any interest in the ongoing game sessions, pointed out that the absenteeism hurt the other people playing, and that it was just rude to ‘break’ an commitment without informing the other party. G assured me that her attendance would improve. (Ha! I need to do another pit thread on the dishonesty inherent in these two… ) B decided the best thing for him to do was quit. I agreed. Before closing the conversation, though, he uttered the phrase “I don’t see what the big deal is.”

Okay, yes, it’s just a game, but it’s also a regularly scheduled social gathering in which an absent player must be adjusted for.

A few months later.

I had remained on relatively friendly terms with the both of them, and was participating in a game being run by B. One of the other players in that game, we shall call her D in fitting with our mono-character pseudonyms, missed several sessions, without calling.

B threw a hissy fit. The phrase ‘She’d better be dead!’ was uttered.

Me? I smirked inwardly and kept silent.

I ask for the judgment of the court … be he hypocritical, or nay?

I’d turn his character into an NPC and have him do embarassing and degrating things. Either that or make him into the main hero of the story (you should have been there, your character saved the universe!).

And yes, amazingly hypocritical.

We did have some fun with his character in another campaign he later abandoned entirely. He was the Captain of our ship in a Star Trek game. And missed half the sessions.

One shameless bump. No other commentary on this?

Not that I don’t value Lord Ashtar’s opinion…

B and G: Raised by hypocritical wolves.

Yes, it was hypocritical. And I’d have called them on it, right then and there.

Nah, I’m saving up. Making mental notes of hypocrisy, the lies, the downright looney behavior. Makes for fun anecdotes. I probably should start a few more pit threads regarding these two.

I’m not sure…could he have meant “She better be dead, because look what happened when WE missed X number of times!” ? That’s just me, though, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. If that’s not what he meant, then yes, it was very hypocritical.

Looking at the responses since the bump, it would appear Lord Ashtar spoke for all of us.

Yes, hypocritical.

I feel for you. When I started my Friday game, I stipulated that you must be able to make 75% of the game sessions (in other words 3 out of 4 Fridays). My two other players (3rd was my husband) were very good about keeping their commitments and letting me know in advance if they were unable to make them. As such, I was able to be more flexible if we didn’t make the 75% mark all the time. When one of my players dropped out, he let us know beforehand so we could decide what to do with the gaming group (which continues with two players and me as the DM).

I know that casual gamers round out the groups and should be encouraged (since they may become serious gamers), but they never seem to understand that some of us like verisimilitude in our games, and consider it an important element to the story.

And on that note, gotta finish my writing so I can read up on my adventure for tonight.

Nah, I think you should have commented at the time. A light comment, sure, but it’s a bad idea to let this stuff fester. You run the risk of turning into Bob from this thread, a nasty guy who stews over things and then finally explodes, recounting years-old offenses in detail, to a friend who had no idea her actions bothered him that much. It’s a sordid and bitter tale, tomorrow on Lifetime…

Ha! That is very charitable of you. No, rest assured, he was just angry because he couldn’t do what he needed to do with the plot with her absent. The thought that he’d done the very same thing himself never entered his mind, I’m confident… as a matter of fact, there’s probably a 50% chance he doesn’t even remember the discussion he and I had.

Let me add some background here. Rather than start a separate pit thread for their other behavioral quirks, I’ll just semihijack my own thread.

B : Makes outrageous claims with no basis in reality. Asserts things as fact that are (easily) proven untrue. My speculation is that A.) he wishes to appear intelligent and honestly can’t remember real relevant facts or B.) he’s a pathological liar. Frex: He relates to me an anecdote from the Johnny Carson show about a certain off-color line delivered to Miss Zsa-Zsa Gabor, presenting it as fact. I tell him later that week that it’s just an urban legend. He then tells me he knew that. He’s lying about one point or the other. He asserts his IQ is 180. This, despite the fact he has major short and long-term memory problems, and is borderline innumerate. He has attempted to get on developmental disability payments, telling us (his acquaintances) that has… partial somethingorother epilepsy … it’s a real disorder, but I don’t believe he has it. He enjoys getting into fights and physical confrontations. Can’t hold down a job … G makes excuses for this, saying that B needs to be ‘distracted’ - by only doing drugs and fun things, apparently. Yeah.

G : Well, aside from classic co-dependency, let’s see. G used to be a fairly good friend of mine, but demonstrated some selfish, two-faced tendencies. I’ve mentally demoted her to ‘fond acquaintance’ as a result. I’ll skip past all the times they were supposed to meet me for something, and did call to tell me they wouldn’t be there, because she felt sick. Anybody sick that much for real has cancer, seriously. Let me relate one relevant anecdote. She and I and some friends were watching Buffy’s Seventh Season (about 13 months ago). I commented that Eliza Dushku looked puffy, like she’d put on weight. (I may have even gone so far as to call her “Puffy the Vampire Slayer”) G, whose favorite character is Faith, Eliza’s character, took offense, and told me I shouldn’t say that. Encouraged, I continued to lightheartedly and exaggeratedly make fun of Eliza’s appearance. G got angry and short-tempered with me, tell me to shut up.

This, I will not abide, particularly in my own apartment. So I told her she didn’t have the right to shut me up in my own apartment, I’d say whatever I wanted, and if she didn’t like it, she could leave. Yeah, that was a bit harsh. But we’re not to the point yet. So she leaves. A few weeks later, I make a phone call, to see if she intends to return to the regular gaming sessions, if she’s cooled down. Note : This takes place a few days after my birthday and before B’s birthday, which he and I briefly discuss on the phone as he tells me she won’t come to the phone, and that I shouldn’t expect her. Fair enough.

Cut to September, four-point-five months later. It’s her birthday. She calls me, asking why I didn’t call her on her birthday. I tell her “Well, you didn’t call me on mine.” She tells me their phone (which is one of those prepaid minutes jobs) was out of minutes. “Horse-hockey,” I think, “I spoke to B on the phone that very week.” “Uh huh.” I say noncommittally. She’s such a manipulator that she can’t even admit the reason she didn’t call me was because she was still angry.

Argh. Together, they can barely manage to pay bills, yet have enough money to stay healthily fed and get drunk and wasted on a regular basis… they’ve moved six? times since coming to this town, each time telling us all about what new horrible offense their landlord had committed. ("Probably had the audacity to ask for his rent, " I have commented to some of my friends, who know this pair and know the truth of that quip…) They can’t keep a confidence, regularly sharing secrets with anyone who’ll listen. They borrow things (and money) and never return it. They show up to gaming sessions without having eaten, and expecting to be loaned money so they can buy some pizza. In fact, B did that once, and at the end of the session, most of us decided to head out and see a movie… which he decided to join in on, pulling out ten bucks from his wallet. “Emergency” money.

The thing that burns me most about them? Their family plans. When they have children, I have been informed, they will not respond to the child when it speaks in babytalk. It must learn to speak in an adult fashion or it will not receive attention.

Just argh.

I sympathize. Believe me, I do.

I’ve spent more than a decade of my life DMing on weekends. I realize it’s just a game, and people have other commitments.

But you know, we work hard on these things. We work hard to be creative and design challenges that are hard to surmount and characters you could almost believe were people next door. We work hard to avoid the fantasy cliches the players have heard a million times before, to plan contingencies, to set up an event that’s both creative and fun. It’s not like we’re getting together to play Monopoly. Not showing up to a D&D session is more like missing a friends’ recital or theatrical performance.

Now, of course there are emergencies. There are accidents and there are family tragedies, and a whole host of other things. I can deal with all that, especially if I get notice. And even when I don’t get notice, I can adjust.

But when someone just doesn’t show up, and you’ve written in a whole pivotal scene involving their character, and then you have to tweak the whole adventure in the last five minutes – who wouldn’t be pissed? :mad:

I appreciate all the agreement, it’s very validating. And while yes, that is the issue that this thread half-centers on, it’s just one example of a pattenr of behavior. Let’s put it this way… I went to an online psychology site and looked up the symptoms of Sociopaths… one of those ‘if five or more apply, then…’ … and B fit every one of them save one.

His behavior (and hers) seems to be ruled by ‘What feels good right this second?’ … with absolutely no consideration of other people, or even their own future well-being. And then one listens to his speeches about the importance of honor. :rolleyes: Or he’ll go on an hour-long tirade against Christians, and then go on to complain about how people are intolerant of his (sorta) Wiccan beliefs. :rolleyes: [SUP]2[/SUP]

Okay. I recant my earlier “benefit of the doubt” card. Guy sounds like a putz.

No. Nononononono. That is not what Wicca is supposed to be all about. Tolerance, people. Choosing a religion just because it’s different from Christianity does not mean you actually practice the tenets of that faith. Wicca sounded all cool and goth and “in,” I’m sure, but thumbing one’s nose at Christianity (or ANY religion) is just not acceptable behaviour. Please. As a favor to me, ask that he choose a different religion.

Uh huh. I’d start a pool, if I were you, on just how long this lasts once they actually have children. Trust me. Ain’t happening.

I know. I have some (other) Wicca friends. As a matter of fact, G adheres to Wicca, and she’s better about it. B … is a Wicca/Thor-worshipper/Daoist.

My understanding of the Daoist philosophy as filtered through him is 'I’ll do what I feel like doing, because that’s going with the flow of the universe." I don’t have other Daoists to compare him to, though.

I’d ask him to choose another religion, but he’d just protest that I was oppressing him. See, I’m a Christian, and therefore not allowed to express an opinion on anything he does. :rolleyes:

Hm. Correct me if I’m wrong (and I’m sure someone will), but Tao is more a philosophy than a religion. I think. I’m not on very firm ground here, as I’ve only ever read one book about Tao, and it was The Tao of Pooh, at that. But I do recall quite clearly that Taoists see the beauty and interconnectedness of all things. Sounds like this guy just sees the beauty of being able to schmooze.

Well, I have a few comments on the behaviors described in this thread, but I’d sum it up by saying : Why even bother with these people? They sound like such a drain.

Also, can someone explain to me, as someone who has absolutely no idea, exactly what roleplaying games are? For example, the OP mentions that his friends character was a captain on the Enterprise. Is this a board game? A game with cards? Points? Charades? Or is it different for everyone?

I’d love to be enlightened- it sounds interesting and fun.

Ah… roleplaying games. Happy to explain. Basically it’s like acting, with rules. One player is the Game Master, he or she portrays all the secondary characters and sets up the plots and situations, sort of like an author of a play … the other players take on the roles of the primary characters… they act within the set of rules, but are entirely free to make their own decisions. The Gamemaster then determines theoutcome of the players’ choices by a combination of simple extrapolation … (“Well, what would the tenants of this apartment building do if someone set the building on fire?”) and typically, the roll of dice. (“Well, there’s a 50% chance you’ll hit the wrong button, since you’ve never defused a bomb… let’s find out i f you picked correctly!”)

There are also LARP games (my preference) more like improve acting with rules…

Some people played pivotal characters and of course they needed to be there most of the time, the rest of us mainly filled out the game. But it was fun, lots of politicing going on… (at least in the one I really liked, another fun one was more spiritual and one that was just a lot of fighting…)