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Is there anything I can do about a player and his girlfriend constantly making out instead of playing the game without full support of the rest of the group?

I’ve recently started a campaign with my RP group of 2 years. Despite never making a group contract or formally discussing what's expected of everyone there are some basic protocols of etiquette that I believe are being violated.

Recently one of the players has invited his girlfriend to join the group without consulting the rest of the group. At first no one had a problem with this, but as the sessions continued their displays of affection went from subtle to distracting and disruptive.

During character creation they sat at the table making out for nearly an hour. They ignored the setting information provided by the DM, forgot to generate critical stats and forced us to wait around for them to finish their characters for an additional 30 minutes. Playing around them was difficult due to the significant amount of noise they were making.

The group consists of 6 people: the DM, 2 other players, myself and the couple. After the couple left the rest of the group and I had a discussion about the situation. One player felt like I did, that their behavior was disrespectful and distracting. One player seemed uncomfortable, but didn't voice a strong concern either way. The DM seemed only mildly annoyed, attributing the behavior to “young love” and was unwilling to bring the issue before them.

The way I see it 2 (me and the other player) players have a real problem with this, 3 (the DM and the couple) have no problem with it and 1 (another player) could go either way. At best if I were to bring this to a vote with the group we would have a tie. Normally I would go with the will of the group, but I feel strongly that this behavior should not be allowed to continue. If they prefer to be affectionate to one another instead of playing the game then they shouldn't attend.

I realize I could simply remove myself from the situation and refuse to attend until the issue is resolved, but I love this group and it took nearly 2 years to get it started. I don’t want to throw that all away, but without the full support of a group majority I don't feel like I have the authority to demand they stop.

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Someone has to take the player who invited his girlfriend aside and talk to him one-on-one. (I'll address that to "you", for the moment, since I hope you'll get your GM to read this.)

Make it clear that it was OK to bring her, but not OK to turn game sessions into makeout sessions. Then lay down the unfortunate reality of the situation: if they can't cut it out, then one or both of them will be firmly uninvited, and soon.

When you do this, take care to not shame them for the makeouts (there's enough shaming around this stuff in life; no need to add to it), emphasising instead that it's just a poor choice of circumstances. Focus on how disruptive it is to the game people came for, and if you mention how it makes the group uncomfortable, soften that by emphasising that there's nothing wrong with a makeout itself — just the choice of time and place. Even better, congratulate them for their obvious happiness while asking them to save it for later or take it elsewhere.


There's a consent line they're crossing here too: by joining an intimate gathering and making out during it, they're making you all surprise visual and audio participants in this overtly sexual activity. That's super not cool, and not something anyone is obligated to be okay with. Again, not something to shame them for—the point here is that being not OK with this at the table is totally justified.


When you're not the GM or venue host, your option is slightly different: go to the GM, and have them do the one-on-one conversation and ultimatum instead.

If they won't, then you present them with your own unfortunate reality: this is not OK, and you will not be coming to the game anymore if the GM/host is unwilling to enforce reasonable social boundaries during their game / in their home.

Leaving sucks, but if the GM/host is going to abdicate their responsibility to make game sessions safe social spaces, then your most powerful tool for creating change is to enforce your own side of the social contract and exercise your right to leave. Chances are that if you have to go to that degree of effort, suddenly the GM/host will realise that they have imminent group destruction on their hands and will do the reasonable, pro-social thing of dealing with the offending people. (And if they won't, you've dodged a really nasty bullet!)

The alternative — staying anyway and hoping it will just get better — will most likely result in the group dissolving anyway. Either the players cut it out, or other players will start leaving after they become too uncomfortable. The sooner you present the ultimatum of "fix it or I walk", the more likely there will still be a group to fix when you give the ultimatum.


Oh, and as an illustrative aside: I have been that player who brought his girlfriend, and was stupid about overt makeouts. That group dissolved shortly after, and though we were all friends we soon drifted apart. Let my experience be your cautionary tale!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your advice. I didn't want to resort to threatening to leave, but the fact that you've seen this happen yourself really put this in perspective. \$\endgroup\$ – Aabglov Mar 30 '15 at 20:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Aabglov Remember that actually leaving is much more effective — and can be temporary, since returning is almost always an option. People tend to take threats much less seriously than solemn "hey, sorry to tell you my decision", because presenting a threat implies you're not quite willing to follow through yet. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 30 '15 at 20:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ To add to this: If something another player does which is not mandatory that he does (at least with a BIT of self-control) if it distracts other players/ the gm too much it should always be cleared with threats of leaving or without. Else: Why play a game if it doesn't make any fun anymore as you are too distracted to enjoy it \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas E. Mar 31 '15 at 6:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for the not shaming the making out itself, that's something I was worried to see in the answers \$\endgroup\$ – Cristol.GdM Apr 1 '15 at 3:08
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Before giving ultimatums to anyone, try a little gentle prodding. Depending on your age and social norms, that could be as simple as snickering and saying “Get a room, you two!” when they start up, or you could ask them politely to refrain, or even just say that it makes you feel uncomfortable. That may solve the problem completely and immediately, or it may at least encourage them to tone it down to acceptable levels until the problem sorts itself out.

If that doesn’t work, then politely ask the game’s hosts to resolve the conflict. They may be unable or unwilling to help you, however, especially if the group’s social norms accept the PDAs of “young love” as a normal and natural thing that shouldn’t be quashed. Keep in mind that while many people find it shocking and rude, plenty of other folks might find your objections prudish and rude. If your friends fall into the latter group, then you might unfortunately need to sit out for a game or two until the situation changes. (And it probably will! The young couple will likely either settle down, or start skipping the game so they can be more intimate.)

Note that there are a lot of similarly controversial activities, like breastfeeding or drinking alcohol at the game table. Some social groups will think you are totally out of line for doing it, others will think you are totally out of line for complaining. It’s important to figure out which sort of group you’re in. It sounds like your group may be divided on the issue, so be sensitive to different points of view!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1, largely for "be sensitive to different points of view" \$\endgroup\$ – DCShannon Apr 1 '15 at 3:13
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Even aside from the detail that they're making out, your question mentions that they're distracted from the game sufficiently that the GM is having to repeat things for them and that the rest of the group is having to wait for them to catch up and get with the program. This is an issue regardless of whether it arises from them making out, getting lost in repeating Monty Python references to each other, browsing the web, or whatever else.

If there are members of the group who are reluctant to confront their "young love" as such, then perhaps they would be more amenable to pointing out the problems caused by their being distracted without (explicitly) making an issue of the source of that distraction.

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Since the players are primarily focused on each other and their new romance, allowing the romance into the quest allows the romance to enrich the game play instead of distract from it. So instead of watching them ignore the world around them You can draw their intense emotions for each other into their characters making the game richer, and having ingame opposition to the romance is both another conflict to drive the story, and a way to prevent it from degrading into a makeout session without limiting the romance in real life.

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