Eventually, it happens to all of us.
We all have that one acquaintance that we genuinely like. They're fun to be around, and you get along perfectly, but there is just one little problem standing in the way of true friendship:
They're not a gamer, they don't understand online gaming, and they've asked you to do something on a night that you had set aside for your favorite MMORPG.
Maybe they just want to hang out. Perhaps they popped over earlier, won't leave and it's getting dangerously close to game time. Or in the most nightmarish of scenarios, maybe they want you to out into the real world with them and actually "do stuff".
Normally you'd be somewhat reluctant but eventually bullied into going as they twist your arm painfully while offering to buy you lots of drinks. But tonight? Tonight you have plans.
So what do you do? How can you explain to a non-gamer the actual sense of responsibility you have (not only to yourself, but to those depending on you) to teabag a bunch of dead elves?
Luckily, you have a few options.
Option 1: Convert Them
Ever wonder why so many crackheads just give their stuff away at first?
A smart person would say something logical like: "They realize that if they get you to share their habit, you'll eventually become a reliable source of income for them to support their own devastating addiction."
Which is not only wrong, but further proof that you will never find a smart person here.
A reliable source of income? Really? Have you ever seen a crackhead? Unless they're paying for their next fix in beard lice and fingerless gloves, they're not exactly rolling in cash. (Unless by "cash" you mean urine, then... yeah.) Other crackheads don't care about your ability to provide for them or even how you manage fuel your own addiction, they're just subconsciously latching onto one of the oldest of all human natures:
Misery loves company.
Or more aptly: "He who is performing sexual favors for in-game items in the back of a 1993 Ford Escort cannot judge me for doing the same."
Which brings us to a little thing that we call "Buddy Keys", and just about every MMORPG out there offers them. They're slick little "free trials" that cost your friend nothing, gives them a tiny taste of what makes you call in sick just to play, and more often than not reels them into the same spiraling hell that robbed you of your life and turned you into a barely functioning member of society.
And better yet, this option has a secondary benefit! If they're busy playing the game, they'll be too distracted to ask you to do something that requires a shower and pants. They get the quality time with you that they were looking for, and you probably get an in-game perk for introducing them to the virtual crack that will eventually consume their very soul.
Option 2: Blackmail
Not everyone will succumb to the siren's call of online gaming, and there are people that have absolutely no interest in playing them. That or maybe they're one of the few people who have actually had sex and kinda want to keep doing that.
There's no real way to tell.
So you've tried to addict them with promises of gold, power, and scorching cyber sex with a slutty little cleric chick that you secretly suspect of being a 37 year old dock worker who drives a windowless van and looks a lot like Steve Buscemi...
...and they still say no.
Now you're left in a bad spot. You've let them into your gaming world, you've shown them the wonders that it holds, and they've seen you proudly display your Paladin with 18 Charisma, 97 hit points and Helm of Disintegration. They've seen you swell up with pride and interest, and now they're going to totally use that to embarrass you whenever they can.
At work, around other non-gamer friends, publically calling you things like Freedo Baggins, and you can't even correct them because that only fuels the fire; you're boned and you know it. So what do you do?
The answer is pretty simple: You get dirt on them. Bad dirt. Horrible dirt. Dirt that is usually only achieved through a swirling haze of tequila and bail money.
Is it low? Yes.
Is it down right dishonest and despicable? You bet your sweet ass it is.
But most importantly, it's also kind of hard to make Warcraft jokes in the "Comic Book Guy" voice when you have damning evidence of them doing something really, really embarrassing.
Because you know what? We've all heard that voice, and it's time to end it.
Option 3: Shameless Lying.
If they're not into video games, you morally object to blackmail, or they're too suspicious of you to accept a drink that they haven't poured themselves because past incidents involving farm animals and inflatable banjos, you're left with the final option, lying.
Which is generally the route that I personally approve of taking. Let's face facts; no one really wants the truth anyway. The truth just leads to hurt feelings, resentment and long, awkward pauses.
It starts innocently enough, and we've all been here at one time or another.
"Hey, do you want to go see a movie tomorrow night?" They'll ask nonchalantly, as if going out into society is a normal and acceptable thing.
You start to sweat. Your guild has been planning tomorrow's raid for a month and need all hands on deck. Normally you'd cancel out of guilt, but you've actually found yourself looking forward to seeing new content.
"Uh... I can't. I have ... plans." You squeak out, but your response comes across hesitant at best and "I suspect that you have Super Herpes" at worst. Either way, there is no way to politely deny their request without invoking a cursory:
"Oh? What are you doing?" And now the question is out there.
Your friend isn't a gamer - hell, they're not much of a geek. They constantly refer to Star Wars as "Space Wars" and think that Megan Fox is a goddess despite your numerous pictures of her freakish alien toe-thumbs.
Plus, they have abs. Real, actual abs that they've never had to do a single crunch or buy any late night gadget has-been celebrities shill for. How is a person like that supposed to understand your gaming habit? To them it seems like you would rather sit at home on your computer with people you've probably never even met and play video game than hang out with them in real life.
And sure, they're absolutely right - but you can't right that because you'll feel like the total loser you fear them seeing you as. So the answer is simple. Lie. Lie your ass off.
"Oh, I'd love to hang out tomorrow night but I'm meeting with my church group. We're discussing how to spread the word and love of the Lord to the hearts and souls of our friends and family. Say! Would you like to come?"
Chances are they're going to be scrambling like mad for their own “option three.” This in turn will counteract your lie and absolve you of all sin and obligation, leaving you free to go and game in peace.
Which is all we really wanted in the first place.