Drama is something that has rocked my gaming groups for most of the twenty plus years I've been in the hobby. As I've admitted in earlier posts, I'm at least 50% of any conflict or drama resulting from conflict that I've been apart of.
But, I've made concerted efforts to avoid drama both in my life and in my gaming life over the last decade. Taking a sabbatical from gaming was a great first step in trying to reach this point in my life and I've worked diligently to avoid falling into old patterns.
Recently, a player in several of our group's games began a new romance. And then he, well found a second romance. Everyone's an adult, no one's married, its his life. We noticed he was making excuses, constant excuses about showing up. The group did a good job of letting him know they understood, but they missed him when he returned for a session and introduced us to one of his interests, who was welcomed at the table.
The following week, I sent out our reminder and he replied he was busy. I asked if maybe he wanted to take a break and he said that he did because, "(he) felt bullied by two of the players because they made me feel guilty for not showing up."
I was there, no bullying occurred, it was obvious this player was looking to take a break, but maybe didn't no how. So we talked honestly, and I think we both felt better. I think he understood the group was trying to be supportive but not clingy.
The old me would have mishandled this, I freely admit it. I would have missed that he needed help communicating his turmoil and would have been offended at his tactic.
The new me basically said take some time away and enjoy your new romances. It's okay to do that, and you don't have to make excuses.
The old me would have burned that bridge.
The new me hopes my friend is enjoying himself and wishes him well, wherever that takes him.
The point is, sometimes you have a group and sometimes you don't, but no gaming is better than toxic gaming. And there isn't a single conflict I've had over my beloved hobby that was ever worth it.
Sometimes you need to take break. Give yourself permission.