Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Private Battle, Private Victory

Several months ago, a healer came into our raid who drove me crazy.  (Don't ask me his name; I'd have to look it up to remember it.)

This person was obsessed with meters.  This person was critical.  This person was impatient.  This person annoyed me with perpetual questions about this and that--not asking nicely, but demanding answers.  This person had a knack for being insulting without trying.  (Going to give him the benefit of the doubt here.)

In short, this person was not someone with whom I particularly enjoyed raiding.  But this person was a healer, so I had to deal with him.

On the bright side, dealing with a difficult person in-game is usually a lot simpler than dealing with a difficult person in real life.  After all, /ignore was created for a reason . . . but sometimes one is in a position where one really cannot ignore the difficult person.  (Such as when you are working together on a healing corps . . .)  But you can still scowl at your computer screen and say the stuff you know better than to type out in chat or say over Vent to that person.

I remember, one day when this person was in rare form, looking at his name in the chat window and saying to my computer screen, "I will outlast you."

I had advantages in this private battle.  I was already well-respected, with a certain amount of seniority.  I had a calm temperament, I knew how to control my typing fingers, and, most advantageous of all, I had patience.

It's sort of like my approach to ping-pong.  ("Huh? Ana?  Where did that come from?"  Hey, it's a game, isn't it?)  I have some skills, but I'm nowhere near anything which could be called "very good."  But I have a knack for being able to beat anyone in my extended family and most people I have met.  This is not because I have a killer spin shot or because I can slam the ball right at the edge of the table, while my opponent steps back, thinking it is missing.  (If I try that, it really does miss the table.)  This is because I have the patience to wait for my opponent to make a mistake.  I know that if I keep returning the ball, sooner or later my opponent will become impatient and do something dumb.  (Usually try to slam the ball right at the edge of the table . . .) And then I get points.

Well, after a while, my "opponent" in this battle got impatient.  I don't know if he thought we were not progressing quickly enough for him, if he decided the calm atmosphere in the healer chat channel was too boring, or if he became fed up with the game in general, but for whatever reason, he left.  I had won my own personal battle.  I had outlasted him.

The best part about this battle is that nobody else knew about it.  No arguments were started in healer chat.  Nobody had to sit in a corner in a huff.  My opponent did not even know a battle was in the works.  No drama happened at all, and the raid was not disrupted.

In essence, this was not a battle against the healer who so annoyed me as much as it was a battle against the flaws in my own nature.  But, after all, when dealing with difficult people, isn't that usually the truth?  I often tell my children, "You can't control what other people do; you can only control what you do."  (I use that when I remind them that no, nobody else "made" them get angry; they chose to become angry.)

Sometimes I still lose this kind of battle, but not usually over the Internet.  As I said, it's a lot harder in real life.

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