How to Keep Shyness from Ruining Your Game

I was recently pointed towards a blog post that could have been written by me a couple years ago: an extremely timid player who struggles with the multiplayer aspect of the game. Her struggles being due to her overwhelming shyness sucking the fun out of just about any in-game social interaction. I’ll spare her the link love as being the center of attention isn’t her forte. I know you guys are awesome and stuff, but easing ones way into the blogosphere has to be done at that person’s own pace.

Edit: I got the ok from Glorwynn to link her original post.

Writing about social phobia (I don’t like the term “social anxiety”, sounds too pop psychology. I prefer the direct translation of the French term since “phobia” is a far more accurate description.) was how I made a name for myself as a blogger. I’m still a pretty shy person in game. I won’t talk on voice chat if there are more than 4-5 people in the channel, I won’t initiate conversations unless I know the player well, I have to be in the right state of mind to join random raid PuG and it takes me weeks to months before I’ll type in a new guild or raid chat.

But you know what? That’s totally fine with me. I’ve reached a point where I’m satisfied with my comfort zone and I don’t care to go beyond it right now. I’m not a particularly social person, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

Where social phobia is a problem is when it gets in the way of the things you want to do. When you want to try healing but can’t because you can’t be around other players enough to give it a go. When you’re itching to see content but can’t because guilds (PuG raids are obviously out of the question at this point) are unbearably stressful to you. When loading screens make you nauseous.

If I’ve learned anything from my two years of blogging about WoW (and it has been two years exactly! Today is my second blogoversary!), it’s that people like me, and like the author of the original post, are a lot more common than we’d think. It’s just that quiet people are, well, quiet. You don’t see us, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t there.

So, what’s the advice I’d give new players who aren’t quite comfortable with the social aspects of the game?

1- Take it one step at a time

You’re not going to be leading PuG raids tomorrow. Growing accustomed to the game and gaining confidence is a slow process. You actually don’t realize it’s happening until one day you get the startling realization of “Holy crap, I never expected to be doing this but I am. And it’s easy.”

Start by buffing strangers or helping them kill a mob when you walk by. Run big, impersonal battlegrounds where you’ll get lost in the crowd (Alterac Valley is a great BG for getting started because almost everyone is terrible at it). Queue for 5 man instances that you know like the back of your hand.

Just keep doing first step things until the sweating/shaking/mushy muscles go away. Then find something more challenging. To reach your goals, you need to step outside of your comfort zone. You need to step outside, but just far enough to to feel proud of your successes. Don’t set yourself up for failure either.

2- Become good at what you do

The better you are at something, and the more you know you’re good at it, the more confidence you’ll have. To me, this was the key to getting more out of the game. Being an expert on a (or several) topic(s) has the added bonus that other people will come to you with questions. In other words, you get opportunities for social interactions where you don’t have to lift a finger.

How to you become good at WoW? Look at dungeon maps. Read about boss mechanics (yes, even for lowbie instance bosses!). Read tooltips. Hide on the top floor of an empty house in Stormwind (or Orgrimmar) and experiment with spells, gear, statistics. (You can upgrade to the Training Dummies when they’re not too crowded) If you have a question about anything in game, type it into google. (You wouldn’t believe how many “how do I reforge as a holy paladin” hits my blog gets!)

If you’re new to the game, forget about Elitist Jerks for now. Say you were learning a brand new language. Would you taking a university level philosophy course in that language? Of course not! Learning WoW is just like a learning a new language. Start by familiarizing yourself with the basic vocabulary, practice your pronunciation, read texts with pictures. Once you’ve got that down, then consider tackling advanced literature like Elitist Jerks.

3- Avoid social guilds

Sounds counter-intuitive, but joining a highly social guild is one of the worst things you can do if you’re struggling with severe social phobia. Social guilds are bubbly, active and have high standards when it comes to social interactions. Plus, the levels of social interaction tend to be very complex and frustrating for someone who stresses about being judged and who isn’t confident in their social skills.

Opt for a quieter guild, a guild that doesn’t put much emphasis on personality and socializing. The magic of these guilds is this: no matter how quiet you are, no matter how awkward you are, no matter how stupid your words can be, no one cares. There will always be someone worse than you in a guild like that. By being yourself, you’ll fit right in.

There’s also a lot to be said about honesty in non-social guilds. What you see is what you get. None of that “pretending to be friendly because I want to be liked” bullshit that causes so much tension is big, social guilds. If someone agrees with you, you’ll know, if someone has advice for you, you’ll know, if someone disagrees with you, you’ll know. To a timid person, honesty can be scary at first, but believe me, being around people whom you can trust to tell you what they think is extremely reassuring in the long run. No surprises, no drama, no backstabbing.

As for guild size, that’s personal preference. Big guilds make it easier to blend into the crowd, but small and quiet guilds will also respect your longer-than-normal warming up period while offering more opportunities for close friendships later on.

4- Be honest as to why you’re quiet

There’s no shame in being shy. While most people won’t understand exactly how shy a person with social phobia can be, they’ve still experienced butterflies in the stomach before social situations at some point in their life. As long as they know they’re not being snobbed, they’ll generally give you as much time as you want to open up.

I use a format like this “*insert compliments and appreciation here* *warning that I take a long time to warm up here*”. For example: “Thank you very much for the invite! I really appreciated it. I’m having a great time, I’m just a really quiet person. It takes me awhile to warm up

See! Easy! And I’ve never had any issues with it. If anything, the more outgoing and genuinely friendly people of the group will regularly whisper me words of encouragement in hopes of making me feel better.

5- Be Nice to Others

Us social phobics, we can be a vicious bunch. We’re perpetually tuned to fight or flight. Looking around the blogosphere, the people who post the most “I had this shitty player/jerk in my LFD/guild/BG/etc” are the shyer people. This is partly because it’s harder for us to tell people things to their face, but also because the nature of social phobia dictates that we feel threatened and disliked by almost everyone, all the time.

So we need to make a conscious effort to accept imperfection in others, to forgive perceived attacks and to hold our tongue when it comes to saying bad things. And by accepting others’ shortcomings, it’s easier to accept our own. What I’ve discovered is that focusing on the positive in others makes me see the positive in myself clearer. And that boosts my confidence something wonderful.

6- Weather the storms

If you put a person who’s afraid of spiders into a room of spiders, they’ll freak out. If you put a person who’s afraid of social situations into a game full of social situations, they’ll freak out.

The sweating, the shaking, the crying, even the panic attacks if you’re unlucky, they’ll happen. But if you grit your teeth and stick with it, they’ll eventually go away. If you find yourself in a situation you can’t handle, take a minute to do some deep breathing or to grab a glass of water or go to the bathroom or to pace in your room. But don’t quit unless you’re really overwhelmed. And if you do quit, get right back on that horse as soon as you’ve calmed down. You can take a step down (for example, if you leave a tough 5 man, you can queue for an easier 5 man), but don’t quit completely. Don’t allow failures to add up and weigh you down. If you want the confidence to do what you want to do in game, you need to experience successes.

And remind yourself, in a 5 man, you don’t have to say anything. In a guild, you can conveniently be AFK or busy whenever you want, no one will know the difference. If your team uses voice chat, you can still use typing instead.

Finally – Celebrate your successes

Pat yourself on the back for your successes. A phobia is a disability like any other. You have to work harder than everybody else to accomplish less. And unlike apparent disabilities, social phobias aren’t usually recognized by those around you. So the only person who’s going to be proud of you and congratulate you on your successes is you.

When the going gets tough, remind yourself of your accomplishments, be they in game or out. You got through a random dungeon? Good job! You’ve made a friend or more in your life? Pat yourself on the back! You showed up at a party a few months ago? Excellent! You can land yourself a job? Fantastic! You can hold it down? Even better! You had a romantic relationship that lasted more than several weeks? That’s awesome! (And by the way, I know a number of people in their 40s or older who’ve never had a significant other due to their shyness. So if you’ve accomplished any sort of romantic relationship, you’ve accomplished a lot.)

Confidence and comfort don’t happen overnight, not in the offline world and not in the online one. But if you love the game, love your characters and love what you’re doing, you’ll be surprised by what can happen.

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36 Comments on “How to Keep Shyness from Ruining Your Game”

  1. elle Says:

    I consider myself shy, but not to the degree you are discussing here. Still, I found your post very interesting, and had some really good advice.

    I tend to go for anonymity, even to the extent that I used to join ONLY PuG raids, 5 mans, etc, in the hopes that as long as I played well no one would notice me.

    I have a question, and I sincerely don’t mean this to be rude, but I am afraid it may come across that way, so my apologies in advance. But, if it is so bad, the shaking, sweating, etc… why play a social game? Wouldn’t an offline game, or single player game, be more fun?

    Again, sorry if that sounds harsh, but I am actually curious what the draw is. I mean, I have a fear of spiders, so I stay as far away as possible! :p

    • Ophelie Says:

      That’s actually a really good question!

      I suppose it’s different for everyone, but I found myself playing WoW, almost by accident. I wasn’t interested in multiplayer games at all at the time. Then, as I was planning to go on exchange to California for a few months, the guy I was dating at the time and myself decided to use WoW to keep in touch. I ended up breaking up with him right after I got there, but I kept the game. I played exclusively for the single player aspect of the game for the longest time, although I did often run pug 5 mans if I had a quest in the instance. I could join 5 mans easily enough, I just couldn’t get them started. Getting more involved in the game, finding guilds, getting into raiding, to be honest, it all kind of happened by accident. I kept being at the right place at the right time.

      As for fears, a big difference between the fear of spiders and the fear of social situations is that it’s easy to get through life without seeing spiders. Not so easy to get through life without seeing another human being! I’ve always been determined that I wouldn’t let fear rule my life, so I do my best to never let it get in the way of anything. If I have to take time outs to go cry in the bathroom when I’m out in public, then so be it. I’d rather experience discomfort than miss out on life.

    • . Says:

      Personally I believe this differs from your fear of spiders, because you get no benefit from approaching spiders, whereas humans are by nature a social creature and derives pleasure from being around others.

      Socialphobia isn’t necessarily a blanket phobia of all social interactions, but rather an unreasonable fear of certain aspects of social interactions which leads to the individual avoiding it to the point that it hinders every day life. Some common fears:
      – failure
      – performing poorly in front of others
      – rejection
      – being judged/perceived negatively by others
      – talking to groups of strangers (for the above reasons usually)
      And of course these fears typically end up manifesting themselves and the cycle repeats.
      Most with socialphobia still enjoy friendship and communication – it’s getting to that comfort level that’s the problem. Afterall, it’s hard to make friends if you’re afraid of meeting new people.

      • Ophelie Says:

        I like to use the spider analogy mostly to express the intensity of the fear. For someone who’s never experienced social phobia, they won’t understand how overwhelming it can be unless I use an example of something they can relate to. And even people who aren’t afraid of spiders have, at some point in their life, witnessed someone who’s afraid of spiders!

        It is interesting how social phobia works. There are some individuals who have really specific fears – public speaking, or talking on the telephone. Then there are others who panic in any social situation. Me, I mostly struggle with initiating contact with people – so like starting conversations, even with people I know very well, making phone calls, and that sort of thing are where I’m at my worst.

  2. Saniel Says:

    Congrats on 2 years!

    I started responding to this, but wrote so much and got so off-topic that I think I’m going to save it for a future post of my own.

    Thanks for the inspiration. πŸ™‚

  3. Martin Says:

    I also am afflicted by shyness to an extent. I tend to merely quest a lot as a solo player so I don’t have to um.. fail?.. in front of others or let them down.
    You have some good advice though in there. Nice read.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Around strangers, I prefer to solo too. I’ll run instances, but only because I’m really confident in my healing. I get super nervous when tanking in front of strangers. I even get nervous when tanking in front of friends, but my current guild is so laid back and anything goes that I don’t worry too much about making mistakes. It helps a lot when you’re lucky enough to find a good learning group.

  4. Those are all excellent pieces of advice, Ophelie, and ones I needed to remember, too. I’ve got a post in my drafts folder entitled “Why I am intimidated by LFD”, and while my natural shyness is only part of the reason, most of the suggestions on this list are still directly applicable to overcoming that fear. Thank you!

    And big congratulations on your second blogiversary! **confetti**

    • Ophelie Says:

      The better you are at what you do and the more familiar you are with the instance, the easier LFD becomes! Since I’ve become a more confident player, I’ve really noticed how little I’m bothered by incidents in LFD. Don’t like my healing? Not a problem. My queues are short *drops group*

      But it doesn’t happen overnight, it takes one step at a time!

  5. Caledonia Says:

    Great writeup. Internet or real life, I have social phobias about doing anything by myself where I don’t know anyone, although I find if I feel in control, then it’s not so bad (like leading a group through how to do a boss fight). Being called n00b, stupid idiot in battlegrounds when I first started WoW permanently turned me off to them — although I liked your suggestion of immersion such as in AV (might explain why that was my fave at the time I did run them lol).

    • Ophelie Says:

      The first time I ran a BG, I was warned about jerks and I was terrified. But honestly, I can’t think of many times I’ve been treated badly. Mostly other players just rant about the group as a whole in BG chat. I keep my mouth shut, do my job and get left alone. To get into BGs though, I do find that the bigger the BG, the less intimidating it is, since the chances of being singled out by a random idiot are pretty small, especially if you’re quiet.

  6. Congratulations on your blogiversary! In addition to the new healer blog, I have a RP blog I’ve kept for over a year. Being able to stick with a blog after that intial rush of “OMG! I will start a blog and I will have so much to say and it will be AWESOME!” is more of an accomplishment than a lot of non-bloggers realize. Well done!

    The “be honest” advice is good. It’s something I know I should do. It is, however, something I have trouble doing. It’s easy when there’s a group of people that I really just don’t enjoy myself with to say, “Um, yeah… I have to go. There’s a platypus on fire in my lab. Don’t want the time machine to blow up. Bye!” It’s really hard to tell people that I am enjoying myself with that I’m just on the verge of freaking out because there’s too many of them. This is often caused by them having already gotten to know me in smaller groups, or one-on-one. If I get along with these two people over here, this one person over there has had some great conversations with me, the elf on the mailbox actually has my phone number, and that one guy in the corner is married to me, then why am I not okay with all of them together? “Shy” just doesn’t cover it at the point, and trying to explain the problem just panics me even more because I feel like I’m making myself sound life some sort of freak. That’s how I ended up staying in a Malygos raid in spite of the fact that I was crying and immediately threw up after we got him down.

    I will say a lot of my happiness with the guild I’m in now seems to come from it being low-pressure. I’m not expected to level up and start running groups with the guild, but I’m sure there will be guild groups *if I want to do that* once I do reach a higher level. People talk in guild chat, but there are also people who log in, do their thing, and log back out without saying a word. When someone congratulates me on an acheivement it’s usually not everyone, and it doesn’t happen every time. It seems to depend on who is paying attention at the time. So none of it feels forced, and I don’t feel like anything is expected of me other than be a decent person and have fun.

    • Ophelie Says:

      A lot of people around is a lot to process. Maybe what you experience is less of a phobia and more like a system overload? Too much stimulation causes your body to scream “No way!” (I get that way with noise. I don’t process sounds properly, which is probably how I managed to develop a social phobia despite my blatantly aggressive type A personality, and when there’s too much noise, I either shut down or meltdown. It’s rarely relevant to WoW, but IRL, I’m well known for my fits in bars.)

      Being honest doesn’t have to mean sharing all the gory details! It just means letting people know what to expect and reassure them that you’re not secretly hating them. I wouldn’t bother saying anything to pugs- after all, it’s totally socially acceptable to completely silent in a pug. But when I submit a guild application or if someone directly whispers me to ask if I’m having a good time (which surprisingly happens a lot!), I let them know that I’m happy to be there but I’m a quiet person. Maybe your version could be something like “they’re just a bit too much going on for me right now, but I appreciate the invite”.

      It sounds like you’ve found yourself a good match of a guild! Those are the kind I like too: the ones who let you join in on your own terms, when you feel like it.

  7. […] is a bit of an odd post for me and is one inspired by Ophelie and the blogger she linked to, Glorwynn (someone else to add to my feed […]

  8. Top Rosters Says:

    First off happy blogoversary! In response to the post I do not consider myself a shy player but have been uncomfortable in situations that you have mentioned. Specifically learning a new role on an alt. I regard myself as a good player and confident raider but throw me into a PUG heroic on an alt who I have never tanked on before and my hands freeze. I find it incredibly difficult to bring myself to be open to critism from random players.

    My suggestion would be to queue with someone that you know – preferably a good friend who will support you when the other players in the group start getting annoyed. It is especially useful if you know a healer/tank (depending on your role) to carry you through a few heroics until you find your feet.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Thank you for the congrats!

      The problem with teaming up with friends is that you need friends to team up with in the first place. If you’re shy and don’t know anyone in game, grouping with friends isn’t an option.

      Once you do have allies, though, it does help to have them around while learning new roles/dungeons.

  9. . Says:

    Have you attempted consulting a physician by any chance?

    • Ophelie Says:

      LOL! Have you met my crappy health? I’m ALWAYS in doctors offices.

      But I don’t see how that’s relevant to this post.

      • . Says:

        Oh it is – I’ve been a chronic sufferer of social phobia (and general anxiety I suppose), but 2 years ago I finally mustered the courage to open up to a doctor about the problem. Believe it or not, the first doctor actually told me it was my problem and to go away, so that derailed my attempts to recover for another 6 months until I finally went to see a new doctor. She prescribed two medications (one for short term panic, and one for long term gradual recovery) and tried to book a session for cognitive therapy. Unfortunately the therapy never went through because they were overbooked, but I have to say things have improved dramatically. They’re by no means perfect, but I’d say the effects are reduced by half if I had to somehow quantify it.

        I’m sorry to hear about your health, but perhaps it would be worth a try to bring up the topic the next time you’re in the doc’s office.

        • Ophelie Says:

          It’s true that treatment is a good option for some. (And I am a pharmacist by trade, so I’m pretty familiar with the world)

          I have discussed the possibility of medication with doctors in the past, but SSRIs aren’t really an option for me (I never remember to take pills and the effects of on-and-off medication would destroy me) and while I do like benzos, I don’t feel like they help me much.

          I have done a lot of therapy, but in the end, I found that the course of action that helped me the most was learning to accept myself the way I am. Sure, sometimes it’s frustrating that I can’t enjoy the things “everyone else” seems to enjoy and that I have to work so hard for so little to show. But on the flipside, my social anxiety has forced me to become extremely self-reliant, it’s made me more empathetic, it’s taught me to endure discomfort and it’s forced me to not count on external encouragement. As frustrated and uncomfortable I can be at times, I kind of like being me.

          Of course, everyone is different and in cases where someone is suffering a lot of consequences from their anxiety, medical treatment is an excellent option. And even when the social phobia is more mild, therapy involving roleplay and self esteem work is so so so helpful.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I’ve been playing WoW since vanilla and have also been in therapy for social anxiety for a couple years now. The SNRIs did wonders for me when I first went to the doctor, but then I had to be pretty freaked out to decide I needed a doctor. I’m getting off the medication now that they seem to have done their job. My counselor has been even more helpful. Discussing my problems with her and having her feedback has gone a long way with learning to deal with confronting people.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Yay! I’ve hearing success stories! Congrats to you!

      Counseling gets a lot of bad rep, but I’ve found it really helpful too. Social interactions are like any other aspect of life: they come more naturally to some people than others. Being someone who’s less confident with her social interactions, I’ve gotten a lot out of practicing with a professional and getting some coaching too.

  11. ladyerinia Says:

    You’d never know me from the way I act on twitter/ingame/on my blog that I suffer from crippling social anxiety in real life? I’m intensely shy, and hate social situations. When you have to pop downers just to sit through class, there is a problem.

    In some WoW, wow has actually helped me with that. With WoW, I can be whoever I want to be. I’m cheerful, jolly, and completely different. Frankly, I learned to fake it. As a result, it’s also spread into my real-life. The skills I learned to fake in game, I can fake IRL.

    Regardless, I agree with you. If you have severe social anxiety, don’t start off in a social guild, or even a guild at all. Go at your own pace.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I know of a few people who get by well by faking it too. That’s actually how my mom does it (both my parents and brothers have pretty bad social phobia too), but personally, I got a lot better when I stopped trying to fake. I don’t know if I’m just too honest or what, but I can’t fake anything to save my life! When I stopped listening to my mom and just accepted myself the way I was, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and somehow became more confident.

      I find classes to be huge triggers too- I think they’re one of the more commons fears in social phobia. I won’t go to the big lecture theater classes (the classes with 100+ students) and during times of high stress (like before finals), I won’t go to class at all. Fortunately, if anything good came out of a hearing disability, it’s that I’m really good at teaching myself stuff. A lot of the time, I actually do better in the classes I don’t go to.

  12. Saga Says:

    I’m not entirely shy in-game, but I suffer from it a lot more outside of it. That being said, I still hesitate to join PUG raids/dungeons and I don’t like talking on vent when there are new people.

    My guild consist of people I’ve played with for 2-3 years now so I have no issues talking to them, but if there’s new people I suddenly become more quiet.

    I remember being really angry with my GM at one point when he had me lead a raid that was a co-op with another guild, which meant a bunch of people I didn’t know. I normally have no issues leading with our own guild since I know them all – but having to lead with 4 people I didn’t know put me in a really bad mood because I was uncomfortable.

    For the most part I do okay in game though, and once I get to know people I’m okay in RL as well. But I still get uncomfortable in new situations and I don’t like big parties/crowds. I’m about to fail my distance course that I took because it was on a distance.. but it turned out you still have to do a group project.. and I can’t bring myself to do that with people I don’t know. It’s such a shame since I really wanted to do that course 😦

    Great topic! And congratulations on your second blogoversary πŸ™‚

    • Ophelie Says:

      Thank you!

      That sucks about your course… So weird for a distance course to have group projects! Unless it’s one of those project where you have to have a group discussion on a message board. With those I try to pretend that I’m writing on a gaming message board, it helps a bit.

      I actually don’t find group projects or teamwork too bad because I can focus on the task at hand and ignore anything more social. I’m extremely clumsy when working in teams though. Since I don’t know how to handle myself, I’ll either get really bossy, or I’ll get frustrated when they don’t read my mind, or I’ll end up doing all the work by myself. Not good! I pity anyone who’s ever had to work with me!

      I get the same way when I have to raid lead with strangers. I’m antsy with guildies, but I can manage. With strangers in the group, though? Ugg! I keep worrying that I’ll confuse them, or bore them, or upset them. I’m in complete in awe of anyone who can lead strangers and stay calm!

  13. AliPally Says:

    I’m quite a shy person; I would much rather be at home with a book than out with a group of people. When I was a teenager, I suffered from selective mutism for a time, and I don’t think that condition has entirely gone away, so being outside social gatherings is a lot less stressful for me.

    I do think playing online is different though, because you are not judged on how you look or what clothes you are wearing. It is generally a safe environment for shy people to be sociable in, and I think it is great in that respect.

    I can write quite happily in guild forums, on blogs or even in guild chat, because I feel safe from behind the computer screen, but when it comes to speaking on vent, I don’t like it at all.

    If I hear myself talking through someone else’s vent feed-back, my voice sounds quite pathetic and squeaky. Sometimes when I have to shout out during a raid I find I get a terrible stutter or I just sit there and don’t speak, because I imagine people hearing my voice and thinking I’m just a timid wimp in RL. Maybe I am!

    • Ophelie Says:

      I can’t stand my voice either! I’m often told that most people don’t like their voice, still, I feel bad for everyone who has to hear me.

      I know that the internet is a refuge for many shy people. I find I’m just as shy online as in real life, though, I suppose because I’m more self conscious about my awkwardness and not knowing what to say than about my looks. But! I do tend to warm up faster online because it’s easier to find like minded people. I mean, everyone online walks around with a list of their interests and a name above them. It’s never so easy in real life!

  14. […] The Bossy Pally has a how-to guide with some helpful tips on keeping shyness from ruining your game. […]

  15. Colleen Says:

    Um. Wow. I found your site through a link on WoW Insider, and I’m astonished. My partner, bless her, takes it in stride, but I have to endure a lot of “but you’re in a social game! Be social!” Thank you.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Thanks for dropping by! Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, was in an internetless country all of last week.

      You know, at the end of the day, it’s your 15$ a month and you’re entitled to be as social or as solitary as you want! WoW actually has a lot of fun elements for solo players, just like it has a lot of elements for group play. (I honestly scratch my head when I see people complain that there aren’t enough social interactions in game. I mean…I don’t play video games to talk about the weather!)

      Solo play is only ever a problem if you’re unhappy, finding yourself *wanting* to join in group activities, but being discouraged by the amount of effort it takes. If you’re not interested in group play, there’s no point in forcing it on yourself because others like the social side of the game.

  16. Possum Says:

    Guilds are what kill me. I can do battlegrounds (love em) and 5 mans (heroics if I psych myself up) but in guilds I am afraid to speak up and once stopped playing my main because I was too stressed out to be online while in a guild and finally quit late at night when nobody was on.

    I can join in a conversation in guild chat if I have something to add and even joke around a little with strangers but I panic if I’m in the ‘limelight’ too long. I tend to have to log out within about ten minutes of talking with people.

    I’ll even avoid a person who is being friendly to me in guild because I start to panic about interacting with them so I tend not to make too many long term friends in game.

    I appreciate your advice. While most of it is stuff I already do I did need a bit of a kick in the butt to start being more social in Wow.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Sorry for being so slow with comment approvals and answers! I didn’t have any internet access all of last week.

      It’s interesting how we all have more or less the same fear, but it appears in different circumstances. Me, I use guilds as my security blanket. When I’m guildless I’m actually far more daring and outgoing, just because I have to be. When I’m in a guild, I use them for all my social needs and when I foresee any kind of in-game social obstacle, I hide in my guildies’ skirts.

      It does take me a long time before I’ll talk in a guild though. Fortunately, every guild I’ve been in has been very respectful and understanding of my silences. (And, really, I’m quite positive that any guild far prefers a peaceful, quiet player over a loud, obnoxious players who talks too much.)

      I totally get avoiding a person who’s friendly out of panic. I do that too! I’ll eventually come around, but I’ve had a few people mention to me, months or even years later, that they initially thought I didn’t like them based on how cold I was with them.

  17. Laura Says:

    Thank you for writing about this. While I don’t have full social phobia, I am painfully shy around anyone I don’t know VERY well. For me the hardest part is while intellectually I suppose I learn at the same rate as most people, I’m terrified of having anyone SEE me fail. I will be taking some of your advice to heart πŸ™‚

    • Ophelie Says:

      Oh yes! I absolutely HATE others seeing me fail! In my case, it’s more ego than shyness, but I definitely know where you’re coming from.

      That’s the one advantage I find to casual guilds: they’re great for learning new roles/classes. If you screw up, no one really notices. Or, the rare times they do notice, they don’t really care.

      ps. Sorry about the slow reply. Spent last week in internetless Cuba.

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