A Franc conversation with big Dry and little Josh
This title sounds totally corny, and maybe it's true, but I use this phrase to remind myself when I need to have an honest conversation with someone (I'm going to be franc) and I must be simple (I will be dry) and it is allowed to bring a little humor to the conversation to keep it light (I can Josh around a bit).
I find that this approach works particularly well when I have to talk about something serious with someone with whom I have an established relationship. For example, when I collaborate with friends on a project and that a problem arises, when I meet a student, I have good rapport with the poor performance of a course that I 'm having. teaches or when I discuss with my children about a bad decision that they have made. I GM with friends often, and this approach works well when I have a problem with a player or players or even the entire group of us.
Do not Exit about, and meet Grace.
Ugh, I know, the name of the puns must stop. This phrase helps me remember not to wait (exit about) so that a problem gets solved and addresses the problem with compassion and Grace. This is a good reminder that not all problems are as I see them, and especially when other people are involved, there is usually a good reason for these people to act as they are. I find it useful to approach such a situation by giving the other person the opportunity to express themselves.
Bring it together
So, how do you apply these approaches to your situation? You have already started: you have noticed the problem and you want to correct it (you do not do anything wrong). And you've come to RPG Stack Exchange to find a good way to do it (go for it!). The next step will be a little more difficult: you have to talk to your friends.
I would suggest talking to each player individually, in person if possible or over the phone if this is not possible, texting and other typed conversations often lead to misunderstandings when solving interpersonal problems. I strongly suggest you avoid them. Tell them what you noticed:
Hey, I noticed that you could not participate in a lot of our games.
Tell them what happens when they are not here:
When you are not there, it is very difficult for the group and the story to work properly. We all know that you are the best to hit buttocks orcs (or what they are actually the best, or really good. This shows them their value, and they are valuable – that's why it's zero when they do not show up, because you value them, make sure they know it). It's also very difficult for GM if I wait for you to show up and not be there. (these two show them the consequences of their actions).
(Oh bug, I did not realize)
Ask them their ideas:
What do you think we should do about it? (you could / should also add:) Is there anything I can do?
Many answers can result. They may tell you that Tuesdays do not really suit them. They can say that the game is not what they thought and they did not care (and it does not matter). They might say that they do not feel out of place because they do not really understand how to play or that role playing puts them uncomfortably. They might say that they have trouble keeping track of their appointments and they simply forget about it. These and all other answers are good to know and can lead to a resolution.
Whatever their answer, listen to the underlying problem and answer it. If you can help them solve this problem, do what you can to help them. You will need to determine for yourself what you are willing to do to help them, but do not engage in activities that are unrealistic and uncomfortable. If this is not something that can be solved (as they did not have the time), let them know that you have really enjoyed their presence in the group but that 's not something that can be solved. they can not really play if they can not show up. There is of course a wide range of answers. You can also let them know that everything is fine if they come only once a month. You just have to know in advance when they will show up.
When you have found a solution, be sure to seal the agreement:
I am so happy that we have solved the problem. You can count on me to send you an SMS two days before each meeting to remind you of the time and place. (or what you have decided to do.)
Can I count on you to contact me the day before to tell me if you can do it or not? (or whatever you have decided that they should do).
(Yes of course)
Ok, because if you do not do it, you will not have any more Orc kicks for you. Seriously, I can not let you be part of the group if I do not know if you will come.
(agree, pretty much.)
If you think the problem has been solved, say something like:
I'm glad we fixed that. or I'm sorry, it will not work for you, let's hang around when you have more time. or what seems appropriate – it's a good opportunity to be funny and end the conversation on a light note.
And if they answered with "I do not know"?
You asked them what they thought they should do and they responded with the fear "I do not know". And now? Keep the ball in their camp, but remind them that you are available to help. Something like:
Ok, well, let's continue this convo. Can you think about it and contact me before the end of the week? (or any other calendar that you think is reasonable) We would all really like you to be part of the group and I am available to help make this possible if possible. I really need to know if and how you can be part of the group to know how to prepare the campaign each week.
If they do not contact you, be sure to call them and register late in the week, or according to the schedule you have agreed.
Hold each player (and yourself) to your agreement with them
Whatever you decide with each player, keep them, as well as yourself, to the extent of your share of the contract. If you said you'd like to send them an SMS the day before each meeting, do it. They said they would tell you when they can not show up at least a day in advance and do not do it, do not tell them that it's not fair for you or for the group and that they can no longer be part of the group.
Do not forget to breathe. You are going that.