Overcoming rp anxiety

Hello everyone!

I’ve been tempted to get back into the rp scene after quite some time but there is an issue… I have my character done, profile, backstory you name it! But as soon as I put myself out into the world I start to get unsure and nervous. The sight of other rpers legitimately make me nervous and I end up avoiding people. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve been roleplaying on my own like a lunatic the last few days.

I know I should just dive right into it and approach people but man it’s hard. Anyone who has experienced the same and overcame your fear, what helped you?


You can perhaps try a different character first, one who has to offer something to other roleplayers?
Someone like a trader, or entertainer, or something you can imagine on your own?
That way you offer someone else something, in stead of having a sense they should offer you something. And you can always return to your original character once you feel more secured.


Why not join a guild?

If you want to RP but approaching others makes you uncomfortable, having social opportunities in guild events and whatnot looks like a good place where to start.

Alternatively, try to give your character an objective that brings them out in the world. Do they need help for a quest? Are they looking for someone? If so, why? What happened, and why it’s important to your char? Or as someone else suggested, be a seller. The more interactive it is, the better. Just consider that imho, the best interactions are the ones that get personal. Being a vendor can work, but you’ll have to add some more or it will be dull.


I will add, I don’t mind solo RP as long as its a creative thing. If done well, it can flesh out your character, give them a more solid personality.

What I usually do in solo RP is writing out my backstory, or some small stories, but anyway, I digress. Just, don’t feel ashamed about remaining alone. There’s nothing wrong with that.


I used to be super anxious about approaching people first during Legion/BFA, even though I’ve RPd a lot on other platforms before coming to WoW. It was even about most basic stuff like, greeting people the right way and the classic; -when- can you approach a person or group in open world, and when their RP is meant to be private (sometimes I still ask OOC if unsure).

Joining guilds helped, at least to adjust to WoW’s general RP culture and learning which ways are commonly acceptable ways to approach and which may be unwelcome unless you know the roleplayer behind the character better. It was also a learning curve about joining the right types of RP guilds, as the people you surround yourself with is quite crucial for your long-term enjoyment in the scene.

Having a well-written character and having an IC objective to pursue, independently of your guild/social group will help you to get started, but it’s naturally no guarantee that you’ll find RP outside casual activities. It’s one thing I’ve learnt the hard way. My anxiety of approaching people has pretty much faded, but due to the nature of AD’s community, it has been shifted into anxiety of “is the roleplayer behind the character reasonable?” since people roleplay with different agendas and at worst, it can ruin not only your character but enjoyment to RP generally.
I can pretty much let my characters take anything IC, if people behind their characters are reasonable OOC, but if they OOCly have completely different idea on what’s acceptable in RP and what isn’t, IC interactions aren’t likely to be sustainable, even if the characters might in theory have good potential of getting along.

What Blondie said about having something to offer to others is a good idea generally, although you’ll want to be discerning what you are going to offer and what you won’t. Ideally a character offering their services and skillset IC is a good way to go, the traditional professions, skillsets or sharing knowledge which your character might possess. Some people go about it OOC, offering to RP their characters as close relatives to important people which can help with inclusion also, but it can come off as “metagamey” and “quick access to success”, rather than “doing the work IC and earning it”.
Then there’s the part of the server which roleplays just for whimsy self-gratification and to fulfill more improper needs of theirs. Whereas people may be reclutant to speak about it openly or may even portray certain “services” as normalized, you don’t have give people anything which you’re uncomfortable with IC or OOC.

Agree with this. If you find a group which you vibe with, stick with them, but if you don’t, don’t sacrifice your own preferences due to social pressure.

Years of hitting my head against the wall socially and feeling not only stuck, but overly dependent on other people’s opinion on my RP. Sure, I want to maintain a good quality and generally accept feedback of my RP style, but some people are never satisfied or are entertained by completely different things than I am. Basically I began to be more discerning about “this is just IC, take it as such”/“this could be a misunderstanding or they might be having a bad day”/“this stems from OOC attitude and there’s nothing I can do about it”. This does help on general approaching and superficial RP dynamics. My deeper anxieties do remain and that’s just something I cope with. It’s still better to try and find your RP than being at a standstill. At least you can tell yourself that you kept approaching people and didn’t turn opportunities to engage away, no matter what others say or think about you.


I’m echoing the advice already given here as I found that’s really what allowed me to reach out more as a RPer. It sounds kinda simple as a solution but creating an outgoing character honestly helped me a lot with the issue and this is as someone who was a constant ‘wallflower’ so to speak previously.

By outgoing character, Blondie has given some great examples. It boils down to having a character that has an easy reason for approaching other characters. From there, the relationships start building and (if you are going a temporary character route) you start finding ideas for how your actual character would/would want to approach people.

In my case, I came away from RPing an older Orc who was somewhat closed off and ended up going with Hughy here and his approach was simply coming up with (typically stupid) business ideas with complete strangers. Talking to people and bringing up their ‘First Glances’ on TRP is a big help for that and is a big help for approaching people, I think. Usually there’s at least one or two talking points in there! Like a fancy piece of jewellery or a nice hat or something.

It won’t always be a hit, admittedly! There are some characters who won’t want that interaction and, if that is the case, the best thing you can do is pick yourself up and move on. There will be plenty of people out there feeling happy and thankful that you chose to approach them! I think there’s a lot of us out there in the same sort of situation.


Psychologically having a reason to go out of your way is a massive nudge towards role-play, and a rational weapon to fight anxiety.

Ever heard of the “that’s just what my character would do?”, it’s what you’d be doing, but against your worst impulses rather than to make other players feel uncomfortable.

Everyone wins!

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My advice is going to be a little bit different to others, but it’s what worked for me. It may not work for you, and that’s fine, but maybe try wandering a route in your location of choice? Get a feel for what’s going on around you, see whether there are any people that catch your interest, then maybe pause and listen in on their conversations for a while.

It might feel a little creepy at first, as you’re not really interacting with people, and might feel like you’re just lurking. But, part of it is just… Being in a spot often enough, that people see you and get curious enough to approach you instead. At least, as I said, that’s how it works for me.

Alternatively, as Hughy above notes, pay attention to some of the names as you wander past, focus on the ones you recognise, and then see if you can pluck up the courage to ask them about something. Maybe you like their outfit, or are curious about their weapon? Maybe there’s something in their First Glances that you’d like to find out more about in character? People tend to enjoy talking about their characters, especially when someone takes an interest. And, in turn, they’ll likely start asking about your character, too.

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I can’t give any specific advice on how to dive into it, because there’s honestly no good answer beyond “just do it” which obviously isn’t very helpful.

What I can say is that like with most things anxiety related, the more we face something that we fear, generally the less afraid of it we are. It gets easier over time. Let’s say it takes you like, thirty minutes to an hour to get into it at the moment. After a while that might drop to fifteen minutes to an hour, then seven and a half minutes to half an hour. Things are a lot less frightening when they just become something we’re used to.

I wouldn’t call that an act of lunacy, at that point you’re directing your characters in a setting you have control over. That’s basically writing a book!

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Give into your anxiety and stop roleplaying.

Worked wonders for me.


It’s weird how we get anxious over things like this, even though it’s online. I suffer from it too. I sometimes just stand around by myself too afraid to approach people.

I think the best thing I’ve done is just saying hello to people as they pass. You will sometimes get RP out of it, because chances are, they’re looking for interaction too!

P.S., Good job on making a post, I’d find that even more nerve-racking.

Okay as much as this is awful advice, it is also kind of good too?

(Sorry for taking a joke post serious but hear me out here)

Working through anxiety and having fun in spite of the nervous sensations is one thing, but getting worked up over it to the point where it overshadows any fun is another. Feelings of anxiety come and go, but Argent Dawn isn’t going to die out any time soon unless Blizzard really screw things up - and if Shadowlands didn’t kill the server then I don’t know what will.

The point I’m trying to make is - push yourself, but don’t overdo it. It’s okay to take a step back, realise that you might not be able to manage it on a given day, and come back to it another time.


Exactly. :point_up_2:

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I am by nature a shy person and only through fire and war have I taught myself to fake an outgoing personality.

However trial by fire is not a one size fits all solution so here is something I recommend
Make them want to approach you, this will not work 100% of the time but if you put yourself in a place where people often pass on by and entice them with an emote or some other eye catching action, some people will come to you and engage.

Something as simple as setting up a little camp on the side of the road, can be enough.
if you feel brave, give any stranger you see a wave or however your character would react to a strangers.

I often just set up a campfire just off the road and sit there for a while, making slight movements, walking back and forth, talk to myself or just politely greet anyone walking close enough, there is a good chance someone will at least take a moment to acknowledge you and if you can capitalize on that, you will soon have a conversation.

If you are shy about starting conversation, do it indirectly through emotes, describe your characters action, react to other peoples conversations if you dare, you don’t have to engage directly, but something as minor as “/e ears perk up at the mention of X” is all it really takes.

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I struggle with the same problem. I have crippling anxiety when it comes to approaching people and mingling. It is two fold, part is because I am just generally shy and introverted, the other is that I constantly feel that I bother others with my presence. My brain keeps telling me that I take other’s time and that they would only interact with me out of politeness.

My workaround this is to be part of the scenery. I park my character somewhere where I wish to be for rp and I observe others and occasionally throw in emotes about what my character is doing as part of a background picture. It helps me relax and it also sometimes lure people in for a small rp on the side. Not sure it will work for you but might be worth a shot.

Just don’t give up and hang in there! It will get better. :slight_smile:


I was the same for a while up until recently, and am still a bit wobbly. But I’m managing to get back into it all thanks to being in a guild! So perhaps try that.

I’m somewhat in the same boat, but for me, the character itself helped me overcome it.

Up until the creation of Nerathion, my previous RP main had a fleshed out story and whatnot, and was also more cold and unlikable, so people didn’t really want to approach and I was somewhat fine being a wallflower, but it still made approaching people really difficult.

Nerathion initially was meant as a throwaway character who’s very extroverted and the throwaway nature of him helped him just approach random players. Any backstory I’d have to create I’d wing it on the spot if needed. And I’d have no worries of embarrassing myself somehow!

Maybe you could try doing that as well: create a new character that you can just delete after, and have them be chipper and approachable, even if to just say ‘wow mr hero you have such shiny armor’, as long as you are approaching? You don’t need a very complex character to have fun with RP.

This is very common thought while approaching and interacting actually. In casual encounters it doesn’t actually bother me as much anymore - we all have to start from somewhere and it can still turn out into fun interactions.

But that thought tends to become very bothersome when you’re in same community, hub or guild, and you pretty much see them engaging with others more proactively but whenever you approach, it feels like you’ve given the bare minimum in contrast. It isn’t the type of conversation where it might feel awkward to carry conversation both sides, but more like being “ice walled out” of interactions, or that you alwas need to be the one approaching or asking for interaction, but you never get proactivity from whom you wish to interact with more. Especially because sometimes you’ve also seen the other side of it; people being super polite to casuals on their face, but then ending up casting judgement on them behind their back - and you’d not want to be treated like that.

In those cases it’s also always super frustrating to not know if it’s just a bad moment of approaching or if they just don’t want to interact with you, but refrain from saying that to not appear rude… or if you’re only interacted with out of convenience rather than interest towards my characters or happenings which they are involved in. Whereas I might even appreciate the “brutal truth” or people being literal sometimes in OOC chats, at least to not waste time on chasing interactions which may never happen.

Naturally, nobody can force anyone to interact with another person’s characters, but it does help when people are clear about where you stand socially.

The first week is always going to be weird and alien but eventually you’ll get used to it

I would say it’s quite normal to feel that way, and to have some anxiety. No matter even how much and what you did rp before but it is a new start and as such no one knows you yet.
Before I started to play this character here the last thing I did on my old one was hosting a campaign, meaning I needed to constantly approach people, no matter what they were doing, and holding speeches in front of many guilds. All with my heart definitely pumping but still not a problem.
Then two months later I started to play this character and suddenly had a problem approaching just 3 people. That even did know ooc, and where one even knew I was coming.
So do not worry, many of us feel that way, even if we rp for a while, and so people in game will be just supportive of that.

I think what can help to make the first step easier, is if you find things like tavern or even better market events. There you have the simplest reason to talk to people as you just buy from them and maybe through that you start to talk about more and suddenly you are rping and start to ask about rumours or whatever.
If you want the extra easy route, I would even say the best could be to organise a stall of your own. Be it at a market event or just in a well visited hub. That way the people even have a reason to come to you and make their first step.

And also if it helps you, be honest and put that in the ooc part of your trp profile. If that says something like “new player” or “shy player” or whatever, other people will approach you. Maybe because they are feeling like you and are just much more comfortable knowing there is someone feeling the same behind the screen.

I know this is 10 days late, but still hope it helps.



Tons of good advice was given in this thread, but I do wanna tag my own two cents on.
Perhaps sitting somewhere crowded to just be present and get comfortable with those present before diving in would help. Or, trying to join into a conversation ongoing nearby - politely, 'course - may be easier than outright approaching others, if you feel like you have a problem with that. It worked out for me as a sorta buffer.

Whichever feels easier for you, I hope you can make the hurdle and enjoy roleplaying!