Recently, I got this email from a friend in my gaming group. (It was sent to me and the group’s two leaders.)
I would like to get your advice on the best way to handle a situation that is bothering me â€“ namely, AJ and his disregard for the cleanliness of his hands when he is playing games.
A quick rundown of events:
First week â€“ he eats his greasy sandwich with both hands, and occasionally brushes his hands across his pants before touching game pieces.
Next week â€“ I ask him to eat his sandwich with a knife and fork. He uses his hands to push his salad unto his fork. B prompts him to use a napkin and gives him herâ€™s as he did not bother to pick one up.
At our holiday party â€“ I had to ask him not to put game pieces in his mouth, as my barge from Canal Mania was being rubbed across his lips. A few minutes later, I looked up to see his fingers digging around inside his nose, then being put in his mouth. Luckily I was stunned speechless, otherwise I might have completely humiliated him by loudly asking him not to pick his nose while playing one of my games.
I really donâ€™t know the best way to handle this. I donâ€™t think Iâ€™m overreacting by being disgusted and worrying about damage to my games from grease. I donâ€™t really want to completely ban people from eating while my games are on the table, as Iâ€™ve never seen any of the other players have this kind of disregard. And I donâ€™t know how to handle the nosepicking. I could just ask him to go wash his hands if I see him do it again, but I donâ€™t want to have to stare at him to make sure it isnâ€™t happening.
I have a history of being ruder than I intend to be if I donâ€™t put thought into my responses to a situation, so I thought I would get your opinions on how to handle this.
AJ also consistently calls every woman in the group by J’s name, a serious distraction for her. He’s apologized for this, admitting that he has a problem remembering names. In that first week J wrote about I watched AJ hold a sandwich close to his mouth with both hands and ‘chipmunk’ in hyper speed it until it was gone, all while chewing and talking with his mouth open between game turns. He also frequently interrupts the person teaching games, sometimes doesn’t understand the instructions, and makes generally annoying comments.
I’m glad I’m not a group leader in this case, as I don’t care to have to make a decision about what to do and then have to confront the guy. This guy, aged 25, has only been in our group for about a month. After about a dozen emails back and forth, the general consensus he is not likely to change his behavior in the long run. Sure, he’ll be good for a while but who wants to police it? Yet, it seems harsh to ask him to leave the group without warning him. In the meantime, most other members of the group are attempting to avoid being at a table with him. In the past, other people have been asked not to come back because they simply didn’t fit so it’s not like this would be a first time event. No final decision has been made.
What would you do?