That one guy

Short post today, because to be honest there is almost zero going on in WoW until the main part of Blizzcon starts.

Today’s topic has to do with how to deal with “That One Guy” in your guild or raid team that drives you up a wall. You know the one. The guy (generic gender usage here) that insists on inserting himself into every conversation, that lets you know how insulted he is that he was not asked to join your instance group, that gets Terribly Hurt Feelings when told his damage numbers (below the tank’s in spite of very decent gear level) need to improve, that takes umbrage when asked to not make extraneous comments during combat in the raid voice channel, that feels slighted if lots of people do not LOL to his “witty” comments in gchat or any of the dozens of cat videos he spams the guild Discord channel with. He natters on for weeks before his birthday about how he doesn’t want anyone to make a fuss over it, he continually whines to everyone about his constant “migraines” or his mysterious sicknesses or perpetual tiredness and uses them as an excuse for snarky behavior. He is a professional victim of constant misunderstanding. He uses every gchat or voice channel comment as a springboard to “prove” his intellectual depth and knowledge. You know the guy. His picture is posted in the dictionary under “passive-aggressive”.

Usually if we think about it, the problem is not so much with That Guy as it is with our own response to him — lots of different kinds of people in this world, and we all have to learn how to deal with them in a civilized fashion, sooner or later. We need to adopt a mature, reasoned approach to the problem. We should be compassionate and allow for the possibility that maybe he has a real psychological problem. (Although we are not sure if there is a medical term for Compulsive Asshat Syndrome.)

But deep down what we are really thinking is, “I want to fling a mud pie in that guy’s face!”

Every time I have run into this situation — and it has not been often in my time in WoW — I feel like every solution is unsatisfactory. That Guy is so pervasive that it is virtually impossible to just not pay attention to him, he is the virtual equivalent of always in your face. Putting him on /ignore in gchat works to an extent, but there is the nagging feeling that you should not have to do that with a fellow guildie, that we should all be adults and just politely get along. Putting him on Local Mute in Mumble — or some equivalent — is possible, but you run the risk of wiping the raid because he might actually say something important to execution. Unlikely, but possible.

Responding to him — taking the bait — is not going to accomplish anything other than a drama situation for the guild, which is even worse than suffering this fool. Complaining about him to a guild officer or the GM just paints you as a whiny snowflake — they may actually feel the same way about him, but if he walks a careful line and does not technically break any guild rules, they would appear arbitrary if they kick him, and that perception is not good for a guild in the long run. (Although one wishes it were possible to establish an objective Jerk standard and anyone who met it could clearly be kicked …)

So there really are no good solutions. Unfortunately, the continued existence of That Guy can have subtle effects on a guild — we may decide to no longer log in on Wednesday and Friday nights, for example, because we know that is his prime game time. We start to think up excuses to call out on raid nights. We politely decline Mythic+ invitations if we know he will be one of the group. Et cetera. Over time, one person can in fact contribute to a guild’s decline, even in the absence of overt drama. The situation can be insidiously damaging.

Luckily, these situations often self-correct — That Guy decides he is not sufficiently appreciated and leaves the guild, or he initiates an obvious drama situation that causes him to be kicked. Still, it is uncomfortable until that happens.

Meanwhile, I think I may have a conflict with next week’s raid ….