Drama People Versus Object People

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0800

Did you know I collect world views? Weird, I know. A world view is the lens through which a person sees. It’s how they interpret what they experience.

For example, I found an article with accompanying infographic on how the wealthy view the world differently than people in poverty.

One world view difference is food. Impoverished people ask, “Have I had enough?” It’s about quantity of food for them. Middle class people ask, “Was this food good?” Quality is more important. The wealthy ask, “Was it presented well?” The experience is most important.

Whether you agree with that example or not, it shows you how different people can see the same thing and think totally different.

Which fascinates me.

So I collect information and articles as I stumble upon them about different world views so I can better understand and help my fellow humans.

For example, there’s a way I categorise players at the game table. It comes from something I noticed at work.

There’s two types of negative people: drama folk and object folk.

In times of pain and stress, drama folk want the gossip, want to be in the middle of things, and want to complain a lot about other people.

Object folk, on the other hand, focus on the inanimate. Things like processes (control), facts, lists. Unfortunately, they see people as things.

Drama folk stir the pot and make things worse by getting people caught up in their chaos.

Object folk do not understand how they hurt the feelings of others with their distance, lack of empathy, and sometimes, directness.

Each world view has its upside and downside.

When you-know-what hits the fan at work, I know exactly what reactions to expect from folks. Some want to dig into the drama and get all the details and validate themselves with others. Others see people as problems to solve and as nails to hammer.

This particular view helps me handle bad situations at the game table.

During times of stress, drama people will try to loop others into their drama. It’s all about them and why they’re upset. Object people will emotionally distance themselves and try to manipulate others to solve the problem.

There are nuances. People are not simple and never just fall into two camps. Instead, I use curiosity about world views to help me escape my own narrow ones and see things as others do. This helps a lot in difficult situations.

It helps me tone my own drama down and stops me from trying to pull others into my vortex just to make me feel better about myself.

It also helps me stop seeing people as things. Other world views really are valid. I’m not always right, though I often fail my WIS save and think so.

The key tip here is to try to understand your players better as fellow humans with possibly much different ways of interpreting reality. Don’t try to solve your players. And don’t make others feel bad just because you do.

Be a better GM by being a great human.

P.S. You can tell from the whole stance of this article which group I’m in.

By categorising people, I’m objectifying them. And trying to solve them. It’s amazing how deep and pervasive our world views are inside us. But if you start trying to understand them, you’ve eaten the red pill and are in the top 1% of the population, as 99% never stroll outside their own realities for a minute to see what’s out there.