Reasons Your RP Characters Might Be Bad Friends Or Love Interests

The following is a list of all-too-common reasons that roleplaying characters intended to be good friends or love interests end up being anything but. Use this list to help you avoid these problems in your own characters - or to make characters who are supposed to be bad friends or lovers really terrible!

Your characters are just plain boring. Characters who never try to initiate conversation, nor are willing to hold a deep conversation, nor voice any opinions or thoughts of their own (with the possible exception of when they're directly asked), nor ever try to suggest anything fun or interesting to do, all grow boring very fast. Almost nobody wants to be around this kind of person for long.

Your characters are terrible listeners. Good listeners remain calm and nonjudgmental when hearing people out, let the people they're listening to finish before offering advice, and don't turn conversation around to be about them and how much they're suffering instead. They try to understand exactly why people are upset or angry, rather than simply telling them that their emotions are selfish, unfair, or irrational. They don't bring up shallow platitudes like "look on the bright side!" or "hey, it could be worse!" Unfortunately, too many characters are the exact opposite of this - or they simply refuse to listen in the first place.

Your characters try to command or bribe others out of their emotions. For example, when dealing with people whose feelings have been hurt, your characters say something to the effect of "come on, don't pout!" or "don't be angry!" Or when others are upset, they don't ask why they're upset and what they might do to make things better, but instead start hugging and kissing them, or offer them sex, or offer to buy them something nice. This shows that your characters are incredibly selfish people. It says that they don't actually care about whether or not other people genuinely feel happy and secure and whether they are free to express themselves and their feelings, but rather, all they care about is making sure that others aren't showing any emotions that could threaten them and the stability of their relationships.

Your characters try to make everything into a contest. For example, if somebody's character makes a joke, one of your characters has to one-up it with a "better" joke, and then possibly even boast about how nobody else can beat it. This kind of behavior is anything but friendly or affectionate. It's aggressive and dominating, and it tends to put would-be friends and lovers on edge. People usually want their friends and lovers to be people they can feel safe and comfortable just being their average, mistake-making selves around.

Your characters think they are different from the others because they have some special understanding or compassion that others lack. Common mindset of an obsessive stalker. (And no, your characters' own particular circumstances or motives do not make your character an exception. Thinking that one's own circumstances or motives are somehow special or unique is also part of the obsessive stalker mindset.) It's extra nasty if paired with the belief that an intended friend or love interest just needs to learn to appreciate the other character and what that character does.

Your characters are know-it-alls when it comes to other characters' problems. For example, your characters get it into their heads that a certain problem is a certain way and decide that their own solutions are the ones to fix it - regardless of how the affected characters feel about it. Or they prescribe advice they haven't been asked for, with the implication or outright statement that this is what must be done. Offering advice isn't always bad, but realistically, nobody can immediately know a situation well enough at first look (and certainly not without talking to and listening to the people affected!) to know exactly what needs to be done.

Your characters are emotional vampires. Emotional vampires go on and on about their problems with no serious intention of finding viable solutions. They constantly rely on others to shower them with verbal or physical affection to make them feel nice about themselves, rather than trying to do things they can feel good about doing. And if anyone else starts talking about their own problems, they will often find a way to turn the conversation around so it becomes about their own problems instead. Even when they're just fictional characters in a game, they can still be draining to deal with.

Your characters expect others to solve all of their problems, no matter what they could be doing about them themselves. It's absolutely not fair to constantly expect others to do things that one could do something about oneself, especially when others have other things they really want or need to attend to.

Your characters dump on or drain off people who really can't handle it. For example, they just go and dump their own problems on characters who are already extremely stressed, or try to get emotional support from characters who are already in unstable frames of mind. (Not sure where or when it's appropriate to vent one's troubles? Check this page out.) Or, your characters insist on being looked after by people who really don't have the time and/or resources right now.

Your characters never give back in kind. For example, your characters never return any of the emotional support they get, even when they're feeling better later on. (And no, physical intimacy is not a substitute for emotional intimacy!) Or your characters expect others to do very time-consuming or effort-intensive favors for them, but refuse to take any significant amount of time or put in any serious amount of effort to do anything in return.

Your characters don't respect boundaries. Without reasonable suspicion that something really shady might be going down or that someone might be in serious danger (and no, "a character is in serious danger of being alone and miserable!" does not count), if a character says it's not your character's business, then it's probably not your character's business. Likewise, if a character is obviously getting uncomfortable talking about something, it's probably time to stop pushing the subject, and if a character is obviously getting uncomfortable with what your character is doing, it's probably time to stop doing it - even if that character is your character's best friend or lover. Also, without permission to modify or upgrade someone's belongings, it is not one's place to do so - even if one does mean well by it.

Your characters otherwise just can't take no for an answer. For example, your characters continue to pursue people who have already refused relationships with them, or constantly try to get others to open up about personal issues they have outright stated they don't wish to discuss. Actions like these are harassment, no matter what your character's intentions or motives are.

Your characters are jealous and/or insecure. It's normal and healthy for people to want to do things that don't involve their friends and lovers all the time, and it's normal and healthy for players to want this for their characters. If one of your characters starts acting agitated, upset, or pouty whenever anything of this sort happens in the RP, there are good odds that warnings are blaring inside the other player's head telling that player to get away from your character!

Your characters always assume the worst about others. Such a suspicious mindset (whether applied to a friend or love interest, or to someone with whom the friend or love interest associates) is never healthy and is a surefire way to destroy the relationship if left unchecked. Also remember, a good rule to live by is "never attribute to malice what can be explained by ignorance, ineptitude, misunderstanding, or a really bad day."

Your characters try to throw guilt trips. For example, if someone's character doesn't like something one of your characters is doing, your character puts on a sad face and says something to the effect of, "I'm just trying to be nice! I work so hard to be good to you, and this is the thanks I get?" Or if someone's character refuses a relationship with yours, or refuses to open up to yours, you have your character say, "Opening your heart to me and letting me in is the least you could do after all that I've done for you!" Or if someone's character ends up running late, your character says something to the effect of, "I guess I don't really matter to you. I suppose it wouldn't make any difference if one day I just disappeared!"

Your characters dramatically self-flagellate when confronted. For example, if any of your characters are told that something they are doing is bothersome and that they really should stop, they break down and start carrying on about how horrible they are and how they always ruin everything. As opposed to, ya know, offering a short but meaningful apology and stopping with the bothersome thing or asking/finding out what might be done to minimize the bothersome thing.

Your characters refuse to communicate clearly. For example, rather than telling others what they want, they act contemptuous or annoyed until the others figure it out; or they refuse to tell others what bothers them in their relationships or what they want. For another example, having your characters pull the dreadful "you tell me!" when asked what's wrong. Making people play guessing games like these is just petty and mean. Another way they might refuse to communicate is by going silent or leaving the area - this is known as stonewalling, and it's highly destructive to relationships.

Your characters constantly criticize. Yes, sometimes people will have to say things that aren't entirely glowing to each other, but constant criticism is absolutely unhealthy for a relationship. Also, criticizing harmless eccentricities or harmless personal quirks is never a good sign.

Your characters are spiteful and mean. When upset, they resort to trying to hurt those they are upset with somehow, whether through insults or physical attacks, or through plots of revenge. Or they threaten to hurt those they are upset with in some way, or even say that they're going to hurt themselves. Or they bring up past events of wrongdoings that others have committed, even if these others have made genuine efforts to do better and/or make up for them.

Your characters are never willing to negotiate and compromise. Perhaps they just stubbornly refuse to budge from what it is they want. Perhaps they try to manipulate with guilt or by trying to make others feel sorry for them. Perhaps they make an endless string of ridiculous excuses. Or perhaps they just yell and rant and never let others get a word in edgewise. But however they do it, they just refuse to try working with others to see if they can come to a solution that gives them both what they want or see if there's a way they can meet each other halfway somewhere.

Your characters act entitled. For example, even though they've been nothing but irritating and have done nothing to stop being irritating (let alone apologize for it), they think others should "give them a chance" at being lovers or somesuch. Or they think that even though they've done nothing but antagonize other people, those people should just forgive them without them having to take any effort to apologize and make amends. Or they think that if they've done something that others find hurtful, then the very people they've hurt should just come and comfort them without them even having to apologize and make amends first. Or they think that because they have done so many nice things for other characters, that these characters owe it to them to get into relationships with them, or to open up to them, or somesuch.

Your characters refuse to accept responsibility for the consequences of their actions. There are two ways of refusing responsibility. One way is to refuse to accept or admit that one is at fault, and instead blame everyone and everything else. The other is to refuse to accept that one is going to have to make at least some measure of effort to fix a problem or stop something from happening again - and then actually make that effort. A good friend or lover will be willing to accept both types of responsibility. (Think something really might not be your character's fault? Not sure whether something might be or not? Check out "Is This My Character's Fault?" - A Flowchart.)

Other pages you should look at:

Reasons Your RP Characters Might Be Creepy (In A Bad Way)
Basic Tips To Make Better & More Appealing Roleplaying Characters
So You Want To Have An Attractive Character?
Tips To Avoid Killing Your RP Character's Conversations
The RP Character Playability Test

Tips To Write Better Roleplay Prompts
Tips To Help You Write Better Roleplay Posts
Reasons Your Roleplay Might Not Be Working
Tips To Be A More Thoughtful & Considerate Roleplayer

How to Be a Good Listener (Offsite)

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