Make Your RP Successful! by drawing in the intimidated
This is part two in the series “Make Your RP Successful!,” not because I am actually exerting the copious effort of composing a series of loosely-related articles on role-playing, but because I figure this opening sentence seems energetic and reminiscent of those inspirational guides on improving life, libido, and America. See? I also have an opening paragraph now, and I have not yet made a single point.
To get on topic, what is up with d’em d’er d’ern intimidated people? When do they come from? Where do they inject liquefied Doritos, if not beneath their eyelids to avoid staining their teeth with that orange, crunchy goodness? Why do they claim to read role-plays with religious zeal, but decline warm invitations to participate?
Originally, I thought this should be a long diatribe of seduction; a how-to of luring impressionable, if not a touch apprehensive, youngsters into a role-play. After all, these are role-plays they exiguously express interest in. However, I rapidly came to the harsh truth that the aforementioned either involves external change (others) or internal change (self). In short, fail!
Not in short, external change is improbable and internal change is unpalatable. To external change, while we may mutilate others, brainwash them, and leave them stranded on a freezing moonscape, that isn’t the change I am talking about. I am talking about change we can believe in. The kind that includes rainbows, fairies, and a big boost in confidence. Unfortunately, in lieu of the latter intangible, these intimidated folk have an over-exposure to the former two. To Internal change: it is possible, but revolting. You and I are no more interested in that brand of change than replacing our parent’s mildew-ridden Depends. That is what home hospice care is for, after all. More importantly, and perhaps the reason such change is so unsavory, is that it involves modifying our role-play modus operandi to suit the needs of other people, which we no doubt perceive as a decline of standards. It may or may not be rational or true, but it reflects our feelings, and such prevents that change from happening.
So, what is to be done? Uh……uuuuh… Damn.
That is a question I, too, wring my hands over. Now let me distract you from my lack of solutions with this sample conversation reflecting a similar situation to what I have experienced a few times in the past:
<N’Tim_Idated> Wow, cool RP!
<Circ> Why don’t you join?
<N’Tim_Idated> I wouldn’t want to screw up…
<Circ> RAWR! RUN IN FEAR MORTAL, FOR I SHALL DEVOUR YOUR - hey, don’t worry about screwing up. It’s about having fun, and we need people who are willing to jump in and participate.
*N’Tim_Idated signs off
<Circ> Was it something I said?
<Circ> I swear, I’m not a monster!
What does this conversation prove? Not much. However, it does demonstrate that even though we behave courteously, openly, and express a desire for others to participate, it sometimes doesn’t pay off. As much as I want to imply otherwise, we can not make people do something they are unwilling to do. We simply create a welcoming, unthreatening environment, that still meets our personal standards, and hope they join in.
To those intimidated people out there, I have this to say: we really aren’t sour, soul-devouring anathemas. We are full of love and goodness! Do not fear us! Do not fear criticism! And hey, even if we are, the worst thing that can happen is … well, don’t worry about that. It won’t.