Obligations and Social Commitments

When I first started writing this post, I felt like I had a good idea of what I wanted to say. I got through several paragraphs of rambling about some things from my past and trying to connect their lessons to an experience I had earlier today. Instead, I deleted all of it after talking with a friend and thinking out loud about what happened to make me want to write this post in the first place. Personally, I felt I was on the right track but not for quite the right reasons.

Although I felt like it all related and could have helped explain where I’m coming from, I realized that what I REALLY wanted to write about wasn’t specific examples of my past and how I feel I’ve come to develop some measure of self-respect. I just wanted to talk about the present experience.

Now I’m just going to write about the experience itself.

I understand that there are people out there that have good intentions when they gift some a game, whether that be digitally or physically, but sometimes you have to take other factors into account. I meant no offense in the way that I was trying to not accept something, even if it WAS supposed to be received at the beginning of next month. There were a few things that bothered me about the situation, though, and I felt like I wasn’t respected. The person in question, who I’m assured by a friend is just being nice and does this kind of thing often with no expectation of anything in return, just came across the wrong way to me. I probably could have handled it more tactfully, that much is for certain, but I’m not put into this situation very often so I kind of had a knee jerk emotional reaction.

The discussion started with trying to get final confirmation of some details for a game night. We were supposed to play D&D. Unfortunately, the DM had to cancel, so my friend and I were thinking roughly the same thing. In the absence of D&D, we could stream! My friend suggested that maybe we could co-op stream something. However, at this point it should be noted that the conversation was happening early in the day while I was at work and so I didn’t have every opportunity to respond and keep up. The conversation spiraled away from the original intent. My friend had started to ask what games I had that we could possibly play together, and others in the group started to chime in. One game in particular was brought up and everyone else had it but me. It was brought up that it was available through Microsoft’s Game Pass service and that it should be relatively inexpensive to get access to that. My initial response was filled with honest hesitation at the thought of spending money. I mentioned that I was cutting off my spending for a couple months and would prefer to play something I knew I already had in my possession. It was that things started going kind of sideways. One of the other people in the group said they would buy it for me on the first of the month. Not a second after that message came through was when I followed up my first message with a comment about how I had already spent more than a few hundred dollars on games. This was especially important to me to mention because I recognized that I had bought SEVERAL games in the last 6 months and not touched any of them. (Seriously, I bought New Pokemon Snap on release and still haven’t unwrapped it.) So I didn’t want to spend more money on something that I may not actually use. The other person must have done the same thing as I did, following up with an immediate message because my last message came through simultaneously as theirs, with them saying something that gave me the impression that I wouldn’t have a choice. That they would buy it for me and that was that.

So here’s the point where the title of this post comes into play.

My knee jerk reaction to that last message….

“No offense, but please don’t pressure me…”

Their response was that they weren’t pressuring, they just like buying games for friends. This is a great sentiment, and one I resonate with because I like to do the same! The problem I have with this situation is that out of this particular group, I know two people fairly well (having known them for 2-3 years minimum through Twitch) but the rest I haven’t known for very long at all. A handful of D&D sessions over the internet on average, but I haven’t actually met any of them and they all know each “In The Real”, so to speak. Additionally, I only ever talk to most of them for D&D related things and that’s all I have involved myself because I have all kinds of other games and social commitments. I even tried to point out that it feels like being pressured into a social commitment, but they made it clear that they didn’t intend for it to come off that way and that just because they had gifted me a game didn’t mean I absolutely had to play with them. They would never try to make it out to be that way.

To be clear, I felt flattered that they considered me a friend, but aside from the two, I barely actually know these individuals and to feel pressured (even if that wasn’t their intent) into doing something just feels weird and off-putting.

I felt bad for the way I reacted, but I also needed to explain to them that for me receiving a game like that comes with an obligation for a social commitment that I didn’t think I could fulfill because I already had a full plate. Any more and it would stress me out, and I would feel guilty if I couldn’t properly engage in that kind of social interaction, especially since that was the whole point of starting down that path of gifting. To be a part of the group and game together.

I’m sorry if there was a misunderstanding of good intentions. I didn’t want to cause any problems or hurt feelings down the road, but maybe in my attempt to head that off I caused hurt in the present.