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Sometimes I'm just not in the mood to hear a story about a game that I wasn't in, especially if it's objectively a lot less interesting than the people who were in the game thought it was. Or, and this isn't true universally, of course, if the person telling the story, well, can't tell a story.

Are there any good tricks out there for changing the subject without making the person telling the story feel bad?

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Welcome to the site, and great question! I'm looking forward to seeing people's answers to this. To prospective answeres, remember that answers of a subjective nature need to be backed up with experience or citations to others' experience. Unsupported opinions and speculation are not useful to our Q&A format and usually attract downvotes and delete votes. Thanks! –  SevenSidedDie Aug 17 '12 at 15:33
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You can use all those same social skills that any (boring to yourself) conversation happening around you. Generally, just saying Sorry, but I am not that interested. How about we talked about $new_subject does the trick. –  Sardathrion Aug 17 '12 at 15:59
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In my experience some geeks tend to lack the social skills to see that someone is bored. Being blunt is generally better than sitting though Rimmer's Risk game history... –  Sardathrion Aug 17 '12 at 16:04
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Is this question really a fit for this site? It seems like it applied to any hobby at all and any social situation (How do I let a person know that I'm not interested in the story they are telling) –  Daenyth Aug 17 '12 at 16:12
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Both answers have RPG-specific pieces that can't be removed from the solution without making the answer useless. That says to me that solving this problem is specific to RPG-players, not all people (re the Venn diagram above), so I still think this should be reopened as on-topic. –  SevenSidedDie Dec 23 '13 at 19:06
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2 Answers

up vote 19 down vote accepted

I always hold up the example of Eric and the Dread Gazebo as what a great gaming story should be: its not about your character, or their stats, or their epic quest to save the princess, but about a generally funny or interesting moment that occurred due to the game mechanics and human fallibility. Those sorts of things are universal, while knowledge about your campaign isn't, which makes most stuff that happens there an inside joke.

Obviously you understand this, but I would basically say, "Hey, let's talk about the game rather your story and character than I have no foreknowledge of", or just generally try to steer the conversation in a different direction. I've found that as long as you aren't painfully blunt, people will understand because pretty much every gamer has been on the receiving end of a long, uninteresting game story.

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If you might be interested in joining their game at some later date, you could tell him that you enjoy playing the games more than you enjoy vicarious recounts. There's certainly enough understanding of this idea from actors and athletes that he shouldn't feel insulted.

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