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Advice/Help How do you "toughen up" as a roleplayer?


King of Frostbite
So, I've been looking around the forums recently, and while RPing is a fun hobby, it's also a pretty tough one at times. There are some ideas that just don't fly, you get ghosted, your ideas just don't click with the other RPers and stuff like that. I've heard stories of people who kind of struggle from that and sometimes even get discouraged from roleplaying entirely because things like this happen, which I think is a shame- RPing is a good hobby to get into if you want to get the creative juices flowing. My best friend for four years and counting now was someone I met through roleplaying after all.

So I guess I'm asking you guys' opinions on this- how do you "toughen up" as a roleplayer? How do you get past the disappointment and difficulties of being a roleplayer in general, whether as a player or a GM?

Personally, I've probably been roleplaying for around...almost 9 years now? I started out as a player but eventually branched out into being a GM. On the old roleplaying site I used to frequent, I got some RPs that were either massive successes, along with ones that...didn't get any attention at all.

But I guess I never really fretted over them too much since I had a sort of "detachment" from my RPs? Even if I tend to get pretty immersed into ideas I have that start off as RPs and eventually become stories, I always kind of took a step back and considered RP as just a hobby. A really immersive and easily addictive hobby, but a hobby nevertheless.

It keeps me from getting too frustrated about things that happen in RP since I figure it's only a hobby- it's the same as me not learning a song on guitar fast enough or having no inspiration to draw.

So how about you guys? How did you guys "toughen up" as a roleplayer?


Crazy Cat Lady
I'm going through a phase now where I'm pretty discouraged simply because I think most of my ideas are pretty niche and don't really fit the demographics of this site. I'd love to hear how to get over this feeling too.


The part I love about RPing is writing for my characters and have them explore the world set by GMs. Now of course, roleplay dies, stories get cut, and a character doesn't get the development it deserves. So what I did is I recycle my character. By recycling I mean I keep their slate and adjust it to fit another RP. So I get to write for that character again although the RP has changed. As I continue to recycle my characters, it doesn't feel like they die when the RP does, so I feel better. With time I become better at guessing whether this RP will continue for a long time, flourish for a week before dying and what not, so my disappointment diminish.

Also I tend to join RP faster than they die so that maybe helps keep me amused ^^'

As a GM...

It still totally sucks when my RP died. I brood when that happen, but I bounce back to RPing in a day or two. Hey, idea is idea. When a roleplay die, I try to think what is wrong, why did it die, and what can I do to keep it from dying next time. I think of the failed RPs as something to base the new one. Like the adult parents point at and say 'if you don't want to end like him study properly' kind of thing. Sometimes the idea is just too niche and scraping it is giving it a piece of mind, sometimes the planning need to be better.

Also! Who says you can't revive dead RP? Rebooting failed project is fun, too, once you see what is wrong and what you can do to make it better.


The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
The first step towards coping is accepting what happened constructively. This, in turn, implies two things: Don't run from what happened and try to find solutions rather than excuses. Don't get me wrong, it's ok to take breaks when you need to, but don't make a habit out of taking breaks whenever something happens to a roleplay, putting off confronting partners and being honest with them, etc... Because the more you do, the harder it will be to get back on your feet, possibly even to do that thing in the first place. But also don't work from the assumption that it's other people's fault or that your idea was just too bad to work...It may even be true, but it achieves nothing. When you start blaming other people for problems all you get is enemies. When you make your ideas to be lackluster or too niche you simply excuse yourself from putting in the effort and improving yourself and your means. This is not a magical cure of course. Niche ideas do exist and sometimes nomatter how hard you try you will never be able to get an RP for that one fandom you really like but no one else seems to know off the ground. But if you fail, accept that you did, and try to look for where you can do better.

Second, find a personal method of coping with the inevitability of failure. I like to say "hope for the best, prepare for the worst". Your plan needs to be prepared for failure, but not work under the assumption that it will happen. If you do assume as much, you'll suck your own motivation and your own effort out. You'll half-ass things and make it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. On the other hand, if you don't have anything for when failure does come, then it will hit you that hard.
It's hard for me to be very specific on this topic, because this method has to work alongside your personality and more importantly your goals as a roleplayer. For instance, one of my goals is that I never regret having made or started a roleplay. To that effect I cope with failure by making each and every single thing I make as well as I can make it, each roleplay, each post, so that they have worth on their own and that I can look back at them proudly rather than as a waste of time.

Third, and I cannot stress this enough, build good habits. Good habits born of discipline make your writing better, easier and faster to make. Your creativity will also improve and your skin will thicken. They even help you get through writer's block and write while having the block. However, building the habits in the first place is the hard part about this. It means consistent writing even if you don't feel like it, it means setting up goals and limitations, pushing yourself and knowing self-restraint. Furthermore, the journey never really ends: You can always improve yourself and your habits...and if nothing else, slacking off on them can make you loose them.

I hope this post helps! Best of luck and happy RPing!

Spoiled Bread

The Lord of the Uneaten
Mine is kind of similar like Idea's. The first is confrontation. I was a coward, so I play 'safe' and whenever I see a problem arise, I ghosted. Sometimes I blame it on the GM, sometimes on other player, sometimes on myself. But the problem is not who to blame, but the fact that I just run off.

One of the GM in my previous site that I consider as communicative and competent got mad at me for ghosting after saying that I would be back at certain date (this one totally my fault XD), it indirectly kills the RP. I think that's the first time someone express their disapppintment at me in an RP site. I apologized, but the guilt still lingers. I never realized before that my inaction may upset someone else. So I turn the guilt into a reminder to not repeat the same mistake. If I have problem with the roleplay I should say it.

The second thing, is expectation. My first roleplay gave me lots of new friend, exciting battles and epic adventure. But that was back then, when me and everyone is just some middle and highschooler with too much imagination and too much free time. Now I'm a young adults with some responsibilities, and so are most of my roleplay partners. I can't expect another 3-hours session of battle and adventure. Now I roleplay as a casual hobby, something to pour my imagination in and have fun reading. You can say that this mindset has thicken my roleplaying skin.


Ultra Nerdy
I think that a lot of people who are into roleplaying also struggle with anxiety and social awkwardness. This site is full of people that have varying levels of anxiety from clinically diagnosed on to just general anxiousness.

When I started out I was diagnosed with general social anxiety myself. And I think the way I “toughened up” in roleplays is pretty much the same way I toughened up in real life.

1. I learned to quit taking things so personally. That every critique wasn’t an attack on me. That every time things didn’t pan out it wasn’t a commentary on me.

2. Exposure, sometimes you got to push through the bad parts often enough that you learn they are no big deal. Anxiety is all about making mountains out of molehills. Exposure is when you realize, hey that thing I thought was world ending has happened and it’s no big deal.

3. Communication. I learned to speak up for myself and not just leave whenever I got anxious or my feeling where hurt or whatever

Also expectations is a good one that pretty much tracks with what @Spoiled Bread said.
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It's something simply learned over time, or at least it's something that most learn over time. It also comes I guess with your maturity level. Someone with a less mature worldview may still have the rose-colored glasses of how they believe everyone should roleplay; basically applying their expectations to a degree that when they are confronted with something that doesn't go their way it may result in a variety of negative feelings. Not sure I worded that well so just in case... so I'll try to expand a bit.

Basically, a person who wants people to roleplay the way they want without consideration to others and then taking the resulting differences personally in what is oftentimes a negative perception. Sort of like a person who asks for a critique, gets an honest one, so that person gets defensive and may even 'retaliate' in response.

Once someone realizes that not everything is personal it can help with one factor that leads to player disappointment; rejection. Not everyone is going to like what you like, like your rp style, like your plots or ideas, etc. This I think is a huge first step.

It's when you take things personally that causes the greatest disappointment because it can sometimes lead to blame or make you think you've done something wrong. It really depends on if you're the type to blame others or blame yourself really on which direction that goes.

For me it it was really just exposure to the crap that can happen when you roleplay, as a player and a GM. It sucked hard at first because I did wonder what I was doing wrong for some RPs to fail (even when some things were literally not even an issue on my side; such as a player or rp partner being too busy). Over time I just sort of got tired and bored of being so bothered by something that has... what maybe a 40-60% chance of happening (ghosted, rp doesn't work out, partner doesn't have time).

This doesn't mean I am so hard-hearted I don't get disappointed if something falls through. If I've worked really hard on something there is always going to be a small feeling of "well fuck." For group RPs I GM, I either decide if I want to keep pushing for it to happen or drop it and move onto one of the many other RP ideas I have. For 1x1 roleplays it's a bit more bothersome because it's mostly lack of communication because other people don't want to discuss matters with you. So at that point if after an attempt to figure out how to resolve whatever issue they have gets ignored or brushed off I'll just stop bothering and move on to finding someone else to RP with. This of course excludes the reasonable issues such as them being actually too busy, mutually ending the RP, etc.

I figure why bother getting frustrated when I've done what I can and that's all I can really do.
Time, lots of disappointment, and a moral analogue of an immune system. You stop caring about negatives after a while, and only appreciate positives. Sorry, but this is long and painful. You just get to the point when you realize that it's better not to click, be ghosted, or be told off and blocked earlier, rather than later when you're invested and happy about the game.
Basically, what @Fyuri said.


I'll stop the world for gum.
It takes time. I've gotten to a point where I don't really give a damn about any of it anymore. It is what it is. I didn't come to this place easily, as I mentioned it took time, and other things. Not taking it personally is one thing. People are going to do whatever they want both online and in real life, you can't control what they do so why even try? Another is not having high expectations. Yeah, I love the ideas and plots I create but maybe other people don't. Oh well, I'll just write them as a story on my own. I used to feel discouraged with it a lot that is until I just wrote on my own when nothing came of roleplay.
I also think when I stopped prioritizing this pastime as something really important I got to this point of not giving a damn.


Schizophrenic Asperger
Probably a lot more pessimistic than what others would like to see, but I expect failure from almost anything and everything I engage with. Partially to not be disappointed, and partially to feel some vague sort of jubilation should it succeed. Not a lot of GMs make the sort of stories I want to see, so I've been sort of forced into the seat of the GM by mere scarcity of varity (from my perspective) within the 'market of ideas' that most roleplaying forums corroborate. Being a GM, I find, is a lot more annoying experience than being a player, and I wouldn't really like to keep being a GM with the types of players that I seem to garner. I will not claim that I have not found some excellent roleplayers thanks to my ideas, but most roleplays that require a modicum of dedication and effort do not seem to fare well.

I would be interested in knowing others' perspectives on this.


Junior Member
(Since it's a "how do you" question, I'll answer with that perspective for the whole post but it's still me trying to give advice as well, so feel free to imagine yourself saying these or something)

I've always been pessimistic, so it was easy to just apply that to RPing too when I saw the state of things. I get that pessimism isn't considered the healthy way, but anything different would be unrealistic, dubious, reckless, etc. to my brain, I guess. I just assume an RP will fail by default, so I start looking for why it will fail. If I can't find anything, it's because I didn't look hard enough. If I do find things, then I know what to look out for, and if I decide to take the risk and join anyway, what to try to fix or avoid, to prove myself wrong if anything.

I'm not entitled to having successful things, including RPs. The moment I join I accept that I will have some responsibility when it fails. Think of not this. The least I will do when I think things are going inactive is to bug people in OOC, tagging everyone and asking "hey I noticed we're becoming inactive, is there a reason or do you just not want to RP anymore?", I don't care if it bothers them, they were the ones that went inactive without saying anything and I can't read minds. Depending on the replies I'll suggest solutions, if it's the pacing that's been bothering people I'll bring up speeding it up, things like that. If there are no replies, I'll bug them again, eventually they'll get annoyed enough and block me or announce they left the RP. If there are replies, but they're beyond my control such as real life issues, then that's just how the dice falls. If there's some gas left, I'll bump the thread, look for people that might want to join.

After all this, I'll just admit that my pessimism was right. If I know it was beyond my abilities to fix the RP, there's really no reason to feel remorse. It's a shame, definitely, but why would I get stuck on something that I can't change, if I can just learn from it and move on? There are way worse things that I have to worry about, tough luck for RPing if it thinks it deserves a spot on that list after I tried that much. If I accepted that I can't save it, trying prove myself wrong becomes unproductive so I don't do it, simple as that.

Guess that's what counts as "toughening up" in my case. I'll do what I can, but I can't control other people. Such fatalism.

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