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Dropped From the Game

Every Saturday morning, I wake up before everyone else and play video games.  It’s my hour or two of “me” time.

I always start out with the same game, a group game that I’ve been playing for years with the same women.  I don’t know these women in the face-to-face world, and I only know them by their avatars, not their full names.  But we’ve been playing this game together for years and usually casually chat during tasks.

They’re like bulletin board friends.

On Saturday morning, I sat down with my coffee and opened the game.  I was greeted by a single message.  I had been kicked out of the group.

I stared at it for the longest time.  You can’t play the game without a group.

I didn’t really feel like playing any video games after that.  I ended up cleaning instead because it was something within my control.  I scrubbed down surfaces and washed sheets and vacuumed the floor.  I sat by myself and cried for a bit because it felt like middle school.  I had no clue what I had done wrong; all I knew was that, without warning, I was no longer welcome at the lunch table.

I applied to join my old group, mostly because I wanted an explanation.  And… everyone acted excited that I was back, but they admitted that it hadn’t been an accident.  They dropped me because they didn’t think I pulled my weight with the group tasks.  No hard feelings, right, Mel, we just really want to win.

But there are hard feelings.  I have hard feelings right now; messy, conflicted, really hurt feelings, especially since I know it’s only a game.  You can get upset about the loss of a real friendship, right?  You can’t really get upset about a game.

This is what I know.  I can focus on single player games; I tend to enjoy them more anyway.  I may have dedicated years to playing with these women, but they don’t even really know me, so how could it be personal?  Plus, they’re right, I’m not going to pull my weight.  They play daily, I play once a week.  They’ve always told me this wasn’t a problem, but clearly it is.  This game will cease to be fun if I try to keep their pace.

And yet, I think they forget that there is a very real person on the other end of that avatar.  It’s something I think we see forgotten daily online — from Twitter to the comment box — that there are very real people on the other side of these social media accounts and blogs. They didn’t think about how I was going to wake up on a Saturday morning and see that the people I’ve been playing with for years dumped me without an explanation.

They put playing the game before the humans playing the game.

Maybe they should.  After all, it’s a game, and the point of the game is to win.  If they don’t think I’m doing enough to help them win, I probably shouldn’t play with them.  And we clearly have different feelings about winning; I enjoy being part of a long-standing group, even if we never win.  And they would rather have a group that wins than the community that comes with the group.  Everyone is allowed to approach games differently.

The game is no longer fun; no longer something I look forward to playing.  My stomach knots as I look at the icon, wondering if I’ll open the game again and see that I’ve been dropped a second time.

It’s okay.  It’s just a game.  If I’m not enjoying myself, I should drop it.

It’s just that I used to like it very very much.

*******

After I wrote this post, I logged into the game and said goodbye to everyone.  My finger hovered over the delete button for a moment.  And then I took a deep breath, confirmed my choice, and closed the game.

I don’t have regrets, but I don’t feel good about saying goodbye to that game; those players.

31 comments

1 Charlotte { 10.13.15 at 7:53 am }

Well, that just sucks all around. If they had decided that you only playing once a week was no longer good enough for them, then they could easily have just told you when you logged on. The way they went about it was shitty. I hope they feel bad after you said goodbye, and realized that maybe they went about it all wrong, even if they only acknowledged it for a second.
I am sorry that happened to you. I can absolutely understand how it could feel like middle school all over again. You get to a certain point in life where you assume you will never have to fee like that ever again, and yet it can still happen. It just stinks.
I will admit, I am not a video game player of any sort, so I have no idea how anyone can get so into a game that they would not only play daily, but also put winning a fictitious game above any other players feelings. I fee like those people probably don’t have enough in their own lives, or are lacking something in real life making them seek out winning vs. just playing for the enjoyment of the game.

2 Valery Valentina { 10.13.15 at 8:23 am }

That is weird. And statistically makes no sense: if they were the ones playing so often they were the ones losing often right? But it is easier to blame the one that is not as firm a part of the group than take responsibility for their own failure?
(I’m hired to be the smart girl in a dysfunctional group and preparing myself to think in this different way, that is why I look at it this way.)

3 Jenn { 10.13.15 at 8:46 am }

It is so middle school of them to kick you out without warning and not discuss it with you. Why would they welcome you back if they didn’t want you there? I’m sorry they ruined the game for you.
I’ve been kicked out of a few online groups and it sucks. I put a lot of time and work into some of them and then get kicked out over one issue or a full on misunderstanding. And yes, I’ve cried over some of them too.

4 a { 10.13.15 at 8:51 am }

First, if you’ve been playing for years…why, this week, did it suddenly become competitive?

Second, I’m with Charlotte – if they want to change the nature, they owe it to you to choose whether you want to remain a part of the group.

You’re nicer than I am – I would have sent them a big F*** You message after the explanation came through.

5 SuzannaCatherine { 10.13.15 at 9:08 am }

I understand that “knot in the stomach” feeling of being rejected and shunned by a group of people you’ve considered friends. It hurts now just like it did in the 7th and 8th grade. It makes you wonder why, why, why?

I’m really sorry that this happened to you. As my Mama always said, “well, that was rude! Just rude!”

I think it’s their loss. They have no idea who they rejected – what an intelligent, interesting, complex person you are. And I applaud your decision to let them go. Which I know doesn’t make it hurt any less, but puts you head and shoulders above them.

6 Lori Lavender Luz { 10.13.15 at 9:14 am }

Oh, Mel. I’m so sorry for the hurt you experienced from this. I can feel the knot in the stomach from your words. I’m just so sorry. And I wish a hug from me could make it all better (and that I could give you one in person!). xoxo

#stupidheads

7 Ana { 10.13.15 at 9:22 am }

wow that’s shitty all around. I know that “knot in stomach” feeling well, still comes up from time to time, even at this age. Yeah, they went about it all wrong and they obviously are not the most socially in tune/empathetic people if they thought this was the best way to let you know they wanted you to do more.

8 Karen (River Run Dry) { 10.13.15 at 11:24 am }

Oh man. Awful.

It’s really easy for me to say, “they don’t know what they’re missing,” but I so know how you feel. I am so sorry.

But I have to say – I love the decision you made. Because, if it were me? I would have sat there with that anxious stomach in knots feeling after being dropped… and decided to play the game like they did. I would have turned it into a Responsibility, squeezing in yet another task on a given day. I would have agreed with them – I was holding them back, therefore I should step up.

I know it doesn’t feel good – how can it? – but I am really impressed how you kept your boundaries intact. I know it’s a hollow reassurance, but you did the right thing.

xoxo

9 Jill A. { 10.13.15 at 11:36 am }

Mel, I’m so sorry you were hurt! That they hurt you this way. You are right, it was neither nice nor kind of them. I don’t think it was about winning the game, not really. It usually isn’t. If you were a once a week player, then you changed the dynamic of the group when you would join in and someone couldn’t handle it. That is not your fault, it is not really that person’s fault either. That is the way it is.

My guess would be that some of them were not happy with how it was handled and with what they did, dropping you with no explanation. That shows in the response you received when you checked back. Some of those women get the squirmys each time they think of this whole interaction. They messed up a social situation, they know it and they don’t know what they should have done or what they should do now.

Personally, I can’t imagine any situation you would not be an asset to. 🙂 But that is me and I have to admit that I don’t feel that way about the vast majority of people. Most of the time I’m indifferent to people, some I really like and enjoy, some I love and some I can’t stand. I think that is how the people of the world perceive me, too.

Don’t let it eat at you too much. You are liked, you are loved. “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” U2 from Acrobat.

10 Heather { 10.13.15 at 11:57 am }

That does hurt. A lot. Honestly it was pretty awful what they did, they should have talked to you first. I have so much more to say but I’ll leave it at this: It’s a loss of friendship all the same. Mourn it, then move on.

11 Peg { 10.13.15 at 12:39 pm }

Well that just sucks. Regardless of how often you played, dumping you without initial explanation was rude. Sorry your feelings were hurt.

12 Cristy { 10.13.15 at 2:27 pm }

My heart is in my throat after this post. It would be one thing if they had communicated to you how they were feeling. But to just drop you with no explanation? That just sucks. Especially because this was a group you had forged a relationship with.

I agree, too often people forget there’s real human beings on the other side of the computer screen. That attacking outright or excluding is completely okay because it doesn’t count. Never mind the fact that the wounds are very real.

I’m sorry you had to go through this. That something you use to look forward to is now tainted and gone.

13 nicoleandmaggie { 10.13.15 at 3:13 pm }

How bizarre. That really sucks. And is totally messed up.

And yes, middle-school flashbacks. (We have a post on that coming up in the next couple of weeks.)

14 nicoleandmaggie { 10.13.15 at 3:23 pm }

p.s. Have you gotten DM or emails from the worker bees who don’t want you to think they’re bad people explaining how it wasn’t their idea and they didn’t want to do it and they’re so sorry but Queen Bee… ? (Middle school!)

15 illustr8d { 10.13.15 at 3:55 pm }

I am so sorry about this. I’ve had similar experiences, and they hurt like hell. For what it’s worth, I think you are an amazement of a person. You have a kind heart, a quick wit, and are exactly the sort of person I would want to game with or hang out with. But I value those things much higher than I do winning. Always have, always will.

This is so much more about them than it is about you. Because you are stellar.

16 Amanda { 10.13.15 at 4:55 pm }

Honestly, if they’re not playing for money then why be THAT seirous about “winning”.
They should have set up ground rules for something if they’re going to be THAT crazy about winning. I agree with Charlotte
That totally bites though, I completely understand why you cried. My aun thad a similiar experience she was kicked off a pinterest group board for some reason, I can’t think of it now, but you’re right, people forget that their are REAL LIFE human beings sitting on the end of that game.

17 Jess { 10.13.15 at 7:52 pm }

Oh, no. That is awful, for the rejection and for the sudden drop without explanation. It is definitely middle school, because they all decided TOGETHER that you weren’t pulling the weight they wanted you to, but didn’t include you in the discussion. I agree with this: “They put playing the game before the humans playing the game.” It’s a real hurt. I would have cried, too. I’m sure it was hard to drop the group, but after that interaction it would have never been the same again. That’s just super sucky. They did forget their humanity, and I’m so sorry.

18 loribeth { 10.13.15 at 8:57 pm }

Holy cow, the only explanation I can think of is that these ARE middle schoolers (my sister used to play World of Warcraft online with a bunch of 13-year-old boys who kept propositioning her, not realizing she was as old as if not older than their moms…!) — & even then, I think they should know better. I am so sorry; you did not deserve to be treated that way. I hope you find another group to play with that will accept you on your own terms & keep in mind that it is a GAME. :p

19 Bleu { 10.13.15 at 9:20 pm }

Is it strange that all I keep wondering is what game it is? And how there must be a more fun and better team to be formed with stirrup queens???

20 Turia { 10.13.15 at 9:30 pm }

My heart hurt for you reading this. It is both a bizarre situation (why the sudden change of heart after years of playing?) and one all too familiar (hello middle school). I think you had every right to be hurt, and I’m sorry the game was ruined for you. I think I would have had to quit too.

I read this post this morning and didn’t have time to comment then, and I’ve been thinking about it all day. If it’s just a game, why care about winning? If you care about winning, why keep someone in the game for years and then dump them?

My birth club imploded over Beach Body not too long ago, and while it is not an identical situation, it also left me feeling bereft. Something I once loved that was a source of enjoyment (and had been for years) was now tarnished.

I hope you are able to find an even better game to play with your new free time.

21 Mali { 10.13.15 at 11:09 pm }

Yes, that would hurt. The feeling of rejection, as well as the loss of a much-loved pastime and ritual. I hope you find a new Saturday morning ritual to enjoy. Sending hugs.

22 Geochick { 10.13.15 at 11:42 pm }

As I read this post, the familiar knot rose up in my stomach. I was shunned by half of my infertility message board because I visited with one of the group (whom I clicked with) when I went on vacation, but not another person (whom I did not click with). It was amazing to sit there and realize that I was being pointedly ignored by 3 of the 7 women I had shared well over a year of celebrations and heartache with. And I’ve been unceremoniously kicked out of a book club because of “personality differences”.

I feel your pain. It doesn’t make it less that it was done by faceless online friends. It still hurts a lot.

#stupidheads Yeah.

23 noemi { 10.14.15 at 1:05 am }

Wow. That is some messed up $#!^. I want to say that I can’t believe they did that to you, but I’ve had the same kind of thing happen to me. I’ve had people I thought were my friends block my access to their twitter feed and change blogs and specifically not told me the new url. It’s true that I never knew them in real life, but it still hurt to be pushed out. I’ve tried to reach out to a few of them since then, but never gotten a response. To think that I’m not even worth enough of their time to respond to me… well.

I don’t mean to make this about me, because it’s not. It’s about you. I guess I just relay all that to say that I know how crappy that can make a person feel, ESPECIALLY (as you said) because it’s an online situation that seems like it shouldn’t be able to make you feel that crappy. That almost makes it worse.

I’m really sorry those women did that to you. No one deserves that kind of mistreatment.

24 SRB { 10.14.15 at 6:59 am }

This post made my throat ache and my eyes burn. I know this feel all too well. Dropped with no warning, no discussion, no good reason by a person/people you cared about and invested in URL, and truly IRL. It hurt me very, very deeply and I’m embarrassed to admit it still affects me. Sadly, the other side thinks it “isn’t a big deal” even when they can see how crushed you are. It’s why I no longer trust the community as a whole.

This also makes me think about how I’ve ended some relationships and feel badly about it. So…there’s that too. I think we can all relate to some part of this. I’ll be thinking about it for a while.

25 Middle Girl { 10.14.15 at 7:56 am }

I’m so sorry you were forced to give up something that brought you joy.

26 Katherine A { 10.14.15 at 8:40 am }

I’m so sorry they did that to you and hurt you.

27 JustHeather { 10.14.15 at 2:43 pm }

Oh no! That sucks. I would be hurt too!
Some of my fondest memories and “friends” (and husband) come from an online game I played for many years. Most of the people I never met, but some I have and several of them are still friends to this day. I remember when a lady I barely knew on the game died and I was a snotting crying mess over it, for quite some time. Online relationships are real, at least for those who want them. 🙂

28 Justine { 10.14.15 at 3:50 pm }

This: “They put playing the game before the humans playing the game.”

This is exactly what’s wrong with so much in the world. With greed. With online interactions and arguments. With bullying. Winning is more important than people. The players forget that people exist. And it’s especially easy to do that when you’re not visible to the other party. Either you’re a continent away, or your only on a computer screen, or … whatever.

In the African Zulu language, people greet each other by saying “I see you.” Which is so much more than “hello.” I wish we had more of that in all languages, even when we can’t see each other in three dimensions.

29 Persnickety { 10.14.15 at 6:50 pm }

Oh, that is awful. And yet something that happens often- I no longer play soccer as a result of a very similar situation. I am sorry that it happened to you.

Reading material- terry pratchett has a story about this- “the sea and little fishes” which captures the awfulness (and produces a suitably awful result for the causer of the problem)

30 md { 10.15.15 at 11:21 pm }

*hug*

31 omdg { 10.18.15 at 8:54 am }

WTF????

Goddamn people.

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